Poker Sunglasses Shootout

Whenever I head out for a little live poker, I always find myself stuck trying to decide which pair of poker shades to wear to the casino. My hipster Ray-Bans, with their semi-tint and blue reflection give me an edge over weak/tight opponents but my Maui Jim’s, with their dead-black reflection and polarized protection, give me a big edge on the loose/aggressives. Sometimes I’ll even grab a pair of my Oakley wraparounds just for the intimidation factor.

But what glasses give me the best all-around edge in poker? I was determined to find out.

For all of these experiments, I went to the local mall Sunglass Hut and purchased a pair of each type of shade and then went and played at the local casinos for a week while recording my results and observations. At the end of the thirty day trial period, I returned to the Sunglass Hut and made use of their return policy.

Oakley Thumps. Good overall glasses. Many players have seen the pros wear these on television and become immediately intimidated. With the built in MP3 player pumping jams another intimidation move that can be pulled is to remove the ear buds from your ear and say “I’m sorry, did you say call or raise? I couldn’t hear you because I was listening to my Daniel Negraneau podcast.”

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend these glasses for looking into people’s souls. I’ve read somewhere that Oakley is coming out with the Thump 3 next season which have improved soul seeing capabilities but the Thump 1 and 2’s are absolutely terrible for seeing into your opponent’s soul.

Bluff Factor: +3
Seeing into Soul Factor: +0
Overal Win/Loss: +5 BB

Ray Ban Sport Nylor II: These were the hardest of all sunglasses reviewed to judge. Due to the lack of tint in the glass, most opponents were more confused than intimidated. Of course, confused is good too so they shouldn’t be written off merely because they don’t strike fear into the heart of your opponent.

Another plus for the Nylor’s is the fact that without heavy tinting, you’re less likely to lose pots where you misread the board due to poor lighting. I was really surprised by how few times I had to be corrected by the dealer when I thought I had a flush. Really amazing!

Sadly, the soul seeing capabilities of the Nylor’s is the poorest of all the poker shades tested. Not only was I not able to stare into my opponent’s souls but the lack of tint probably allowed them to see into my soul which is definitely –EV.

Bluff Factor: +0
Seeing into Soul Factor: +0
Overal Win/Loss: +15 BB

Raymer Lizard Eye Glasses: While they seem to have done wonders for Raymer’s game, the most I could do with them was make people who stared into them too long physically sick. I can’t really recommend these unless there’s an advantage to making your opponent hurl that I’m unaware of.

Bluff Factor: +0
Seeing into Soul Factor: +0
Overal Win/Loss: +1 BB

X-Ray Gogs: Now these are some really cherry shades. Not only can you see into your opponent’s soul but you can see his hole cards too. The only downside to the Gogs is that you can’t really adjust the X-Ray strength. The results can range from distracting (young ladies at the table) to down-right disgusting (old, overweight men).

The other major drawback to the Gogs is that they are heavily branded. While you can wear a pair of Oakley’s and just seem like you’re cool, the X-Ray Gogs advertise the fact that you’re staring into people’s souls.

Bluff Factor: +2
Seeing into Soul Factor: +10
Overal Win/Loss: -7 BB

These are the poker shades I eventually ended up going with

[tags]poker, humor, sunglasses, shades, poker sunglasses, poker shades[/tags]

If you enjoyed this post you might want to check out the Poker Humor section where there’s a ton more funny poker stuff.

Bill Rini
Bill Rini is currently the Head of Online Poker for WSOP. He has been working in the online poker industry since 2004 and has held management roles at Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.

4 thoughts on “Poker Sunglasses Shootout”

  1. If you ever do another sunglass shootout let us know, I’d like to send you some samples for future shoot-outs. You could do shootouts for various activities. Motorcycle riding, novelty, girl watching, sports, business and much more.

    IMHO, plain mirrored aviators are the best for looking into the soul and causing intimidation, an image created long ago by CHiP’s and State troopers everywhere.

  2. I always wondered if poker rooms had any official rules vs. what sun glassess were “allowed”.

    There’s gotta be some way to get an advantage (outside of the usual don’t want them to see your eyeball glasses)…. heck, I’d like to be able to look one direction and see an obtuse angle to spy on someone without them knowing.

    Heck, even checking out the cocktail waitress might be good enough reason. :)

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