Hide the windows to your poker soul

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There’s a constant debate as to whether poker players should be allowed to wear sunglasses. I have no problem with them. Poker is a game of information. If I know something about my opponent they do not know about me, I will profit in the long run. Sunglasses are important when it comes to concealing quite a few key pieces of information.

The main thing sunglasses do is conceal eye tells. Most players have no control over their pupils. In general, when someone sees a flop, turn or river they like, their pupils will get large. If you pay attention, this will be easily visible on blue- and green-eyed players, though it’s tougher to see in brown eyes. Also, larger sunglasses can make it difficult for opponents to tell when you’re blinking. In general, blinking indicates a weak hand. Clearly, before using these tells, you need to come up with a baseline, otherwise the tells will be useless. For example, some players constantly blink, making that tell obsolete. If you don’t wear sunglasses, you leave your tells out for everyone to see and use.

One play I love to make that involves sunglasses is to get out my phone in the middle of key hands I’m not involved in and pretend like I’m not paying attention to the action. When I am in a large hand, I’m keenly aware of who is paying attention and who isn’t. I’m sure other good players think about this as well. If someone isn’t paying attention, you should generally assume they have no clue what is going on in a hand, no matter how important the hand is to you. I whip out my phone in an attempt to fool the players in the hand that I’m not paying attention, whereas in reality, my attention is focused on the action, not my phone. This will ideally make my opponents make the same play in the future against me because in their mind, it will be the first time I have seen it.

Another reason I’m a big fan of sunglasses is because they help novice players ease into the game. Imagine if you were new to the game and constantly were stared down whenever they’re running a bluff. Most players find this situation uncomfortable and may quit if the pressure becomes too much to handle. The last thing I want, as a professional poker player, is for the weaker players to quit because the game is too stressful. I know I’m not a fan of being stared down by players such as Phil Ivey. If you told me I couldn’t wear sunglasses when playing with them, I would most likely just not play in those games.

I almost gave up on sunglasses a few years back because in most poker rooms, the lighting is too dark to make dark sunglasses useful. Sunglasses are no good if you can’t see through them. I was turned on to Blue Shark Optics by Kathy Liebert. Blue Shark Optics makes glasses that easily let light through while still being reflective, making it near impossible for your opponents to see you blinking or your pupils. The glasses are lightweight and durable. They also have options of getting bifocals or prescription lenses put in the frames. I honestly don’t know why every poker player doesn’t own a pair.

I suggest everyone give sunglasses a try. With the technology Blue Shark Optics employs, there’s no reason to avoid them. Some egotistical poker players think sunglasses are nerdy or for weak players. I’m fine with them thinking this because I will be raking in their money off all of their eye tells. In poker, you have to always be open-minded and willing to try new things. If you don’t, you will find yourself behind the curve and out of money.

— Jonathan Little is the Season 6 WPT Player of the Year and is a representative for Blue Shark Optics. If you want to learn to play a loose-aggressive style, which will constantly propel you to the top of the leaderboards, check out his poker training website at FloatTheTurn.com