When Keven Stammen won the The WPT World Championship he joined an illustrious club, a ‘Bling Ring’ of sorts, one where membership is pretty darn hard to gain.
As well as walking away with a mere $1.35M in cash, a Hublot King Power Unico watch, a seat to next season’s World Championship, his name engraved on the Champion Cup, he also received a pair of GOLD Monster 24K headphones. Seriously can there possible be more bling at the poker table we ask?
From the Hudson River out to the Nile
And it got me thinking about poker, music and the most talked about accessory the world over in poker, from the Hudson River out to the Nile, yes the topic of headphones. So you’re sitting at home, enjoying a relaxing tournament of poker. For the arguments sake of a blatant plug let’s say the partypoker’s Social Media Tourney.
Well, for most of us that’s where it stops being relaxing. Potential bad beats, tough decisions, life changing prize money (well maybe not our Social Media Tourney but you get the drift right?) and hours of full concentration take their toll.
What’s the Attitude?
I just thank the musical gods that there’s music. Really. You put on our favorite tune, lean back, take a deep breath and … bam … back in business. To show you how much music and poker are tied together, we even have an own category with various poker playlists on the PartyPoker Blog.
Blow Your Headphones!
There are players who think that listening to music is a bad idea, as it may prevent you from noticing important patterns or tells. Others complain, that players with headphones often miss important actions at the live table and therefor take much longer to make their own move (as they need to check with the dealer about previous action).
I Gotta Rokk…
In general, there isn’t any rule that forbids music at the poker table. “That’s BS! What about televised and final tables?” you might add. If you do so, you’re not only a good enough player to know major tournament final table rules, you’re also a smart-ass but we can save that for later as now I gotta rokk…
Ok you’re absolutely right. Almost all tables with TV cameras don’t allow you to use headphones (or any other digital device for what it’s worth).
There’s several reasons for that. For once, the production team wants everything to look as good as possible and someone concentrating on their music rather than the table just doesn’t fit the picture. A TV production is not just about poker, it’s a show. Imagine Tony G wearing headphones. There wouldn’t be much trash-talk going on there right?
Another reason is the remote possibility to cheat. As hole cards are visible to the TV crew, someone may use this information and transmit it to a player at the table. Honestly, I can’t recall an instance where that actually happened. Better safe than sorry I guess.
Look Ma No Headphones!
Screw All This Theory Talk, Stand By Me…
Let’s turn our head away from everything above and get into something more practical. If you’ve ever been at a major live tournament, you sure noticed that seemingly everybody is listening to music at one point or another. As the good old ghettoblaster isn’t the smartest device to use at a poker table, headphones are people’s first choice. But which ones are the kids kickin’ these days?
Weapon Of Choice?
With Apple celebrating a huge success with their iDevices, those typical white earbuds are EVERYWHERE at the tables. And that makes sense. They don’t take much room and as Kara Scott mentioned packing light is a priority when you’re on the circuit. But be aware: in case you actually like music and you want to make it through a whole music listening day without your ears hurting, ditch the earbuds.
Then again, there’s a big advantage to them. It’s no problem to put in just one earbud. That way you can still hear everything going on at the table, while getting some much needed energy from Survivor’s ‘Eye Of The Tiger’.
Here’s a famous iBuds user
Now we’re talking! Or arguing. Bring it. WHATEVER. And as with everything, it’s a matter of taste of course.
Nowadays, Beats by Dr. Dre seem to be the most popular choice, but will they last the test of time? Players we’ve spoke to always emphasize the light weight and great sound, as well as the possibility to fold them.
Other popular choices include well-established brands like Bose or Sennheiser. Reasons to go for them is superior sound quality and wearing comfort. Here’s our top 9 list of headphones manufacturers, we felt this was the best as models change so dam quickly, all based upon exhaustive player research.
#9 Koss: Great looking retro headphones are very popular among all age groups.
#8 Beyerdynamic: A little known German company producing fantastic headphones.
#7 AKG: Another Germany company producing high-end headphones.
#6 Sony: So many options from one of the biggest electronics brand in the world.
#5 Audio Technica: Japanese sound gurus, we need say no more.
#4 Shure: Quality in everything they do.
#3 Beats: Good enough for Dr Dre, good enough for you.
#2 Sennheiser: First choice among the musicians and they should know a thing or two.
#1 Bose: Go test a pair, yes they are expensive but your music will no longer be the same.
What Would You Pick?
So what are you using? Or what would you use? Or do you think that wearing headphones during live poker is the dumbest thing one can do? Tell us in the comments (we even want to read if you’re all oldskool and still rocking a working Sony Sports Walkman with those original badass over the top headphones).