Can You Still Dress Up To Play Poker?

A lot of us have a perception of casino poker as an elegant or luxurious activity –– a chance for a fancy night out. This is often rooted in vintage photos of men (hello Frank Sinatra) and women alike all decked out for evenings at the tables. But it’s also a perception that misses the mark, with casinos and poker rooms having grown accepting of far more casual styles these days. Indeed, even a recently updated Las Vegas dress code guide noted that some of the most iconic gaming venues in the world list “resort casual” and “business casual” as their loose requirements.

This is a change that’s happened gradually over time, though we can point to a few factors that have likely influenced it:

A More Casual Society

First, the shift in poker and casino style is likely a reflection of changes occurring more broadly. It’s widely acknowledged that the last 20 or 25 years have seen casual attire going mainstream, and the pandemic only accelerated matters. Looking ahead to the continuation of this trend, a write-up at quoted a London College of Fashion expert as suggesting that “Clothes will become more an extension of our homes, offering comfort and reliability….” This idea seems to be visible everywhere from workplaces to shopping malls –– and, most assuredly, poker tables.

Casual Pros

Male poker pros have long been associated with casual attire (hoodies, baseball caps, sunglasses, and the like). But it’s notable that as more women have climbed the ranks, it’s notable that they too have mostly exhibited decidedly simple outfits (which of course is there prerogative!).

Veronica Brill is one of the most famous women in poker today. While her success at the tables has been modest, she is widely known as a commentator and YouTube personality, and thus has become quite visible. And she’ll often play in just a hoodie or a light blazer open over a graphic tee. More of a dedicated pro, Kristen Bicknell is characterized at as being “near the top of the list” of best female poker players of all time –– with three World Series of Poker bracelets and $5 million-plus in earnings to her name. Yet she too keeps it casual, sporting tanks, long-sleeve tees, and the occasional jean jacket at the tables. Even Shannon Elizabeth –– the beautiful actress-turned-poker-pro –– tends to adhere to the easy-going look of modern poker, favoring jerseys, tanks, and caps with logos.

Women like these three, along with the likes of Vanessa Selbst and Jennifer Harman, have certainly helped to further the notion that poker is now a casual affair.


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A post shared by Kristen Bicknell (@kristen_bicknell)

 The Pro Scene

Beyond specific names, it’s also worth making a note of the professional poker scene in general. Naturally, tournaments that are streamed and televised all over the world influence how people view live poker. And these days, when you tune in to any such event –– be it a World Poker Tour competition, a celebrity charity game, or even the World Series of Poker –– you’re liable to see large crowds of people in hoodies, tees, and caps, and very little in the way of formal attire. Now, this is in part because major poker tournaments are almost as much conventions as competitions; they’re not designed to be formal. But they still give off the impression that playing poker in a casino is anything but fancy.


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A post shared by World Series Of Poker (@wsop)

So –– Can You Still Dress Up?

All of the above points to a major shift from the “classic” image of refined crowds in elegant casinos, flipping cards and chips in evening dresses and tuxedos. Head to a poker room dressed as if you’re attending a ball, and you’ll look out of place –– save for at a handful of venues in the world, like Casino de Monte-Carlo, or a special event at the Wynn Palace Macau. However, this doesn’t mean a night at the tables has to see you dressed for a home Netflix binge, either. To that point, we have a few suggestions for those who still want to make a nice evening of it.

First, you can accent just about any outfit with fashion jewellery. As we explained in the post “Difference Between Fine And Fashion Jewellery”, these are more affordable pieces made of simpler materials that can still make an outfit pop. Even in casual attire, you can use fashion jewellery to up your look in fun and festive ways.

Next, you can find some more fashionable poker pros to emulate, even if it’s rare for them to go fully formal. Liv Boeree, for instance, is one accomplished pro who maintains a fashionable air –– through neatly designed tops, suede and leather jackets, the occasional dress, and even a scarf now and then. She’s an excellent example of how to dress up the casual vibe of poker just enough to make it fashionable.


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A post shared by Liv Boeree (@liv_boeree)

The bottom line is that casino poker simply isn’t a high-fashion activity in 2022. As much as the casual vibe conflicts with the image some of us have though, you can still dress up in certain ways. Casual can still be fashionable. A nice top with a s smart jacket and fitted jeans works perfectly; a sleeved dress with a few jewellery accessories won’t be out of place. In any number of ways, you can dress up and have fun with your fashion. Just know what you’re getting into.

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