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    Suit Up

    Posted by Coffee October 24, 2013

    Poker has a unique problem in the world of sports and games. The problem is one of fashion and hygiene. Quite simply, poker players (and gamblers in general) have earned the reputation for being unwashed, unkempt, unfit-for-polite-society individuals.

    We all have seen some pretty disgusting displays of humanity in the poker room. Two Plus Two has an entire thread dedicated to it. I remember playing one time where the guy across from me was wheezing each breath, smelled like he’d never heard about showers, and had several flies nesting quite comfortably on his arms and clothing.

    Even without those kinds of extremes, poker player attire tends to be whatever looks comfortable. I am certainly guilty of the comfort-first school of fashion when I’m going to play our game. However, I had a revelation the other day: I think that it’s time we instituted a dress code and hygiene expectation for poker rooms.

    Gone would be the horrible days-old clothing. Gone would be the collective funk of cigarettes, sweat and body odor that work their way into the felt and chairs. Instead, I picture a requirement that gentlemen wear collared shirts, clean pants or slacks, and proper footwear. Ladies would wear appropriate work attire. A business casual poker room (with the occasional suit here and there) would help us escape the sleazy image in a very visceral way.

    It’s not as though dress codes are without precedent in sports. Golf players are required to wear proper shirts and pants when playing. NBA players are required to wear business professional outfits when addressing the media or appearing at team functions not in uniform. Tennis players even have their own fashion to fall on as their guide.

    Professional dress would also lend an air of classiness to the proceedings, especially on television. Endorsements for companies hinge not only upon the success of the endorser in his or her given arena, but also on the perceived character of the endorser. The image of professionals playing their game in work attire would disrupt many stigmas about the dirty world of poker.

    I am not a formal guy. I’m writing this column in a white T-shirt and workout shorts. I feel almost allergic to tucking in my shirt. Yet I am in support of anything we can do as a community to improve our public image. We need to come together and perhaps make a few sacrifices in order to move the needle with people who are concerned about our image. Plus, what’s classier than ten guys dressed to the nines and playing cards? Sinatra and Deano would always seem just out of the frame.

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