If you watch professional poker tournaments as avidly as we do, you have probably noticed that wearing headphones at the table is becoming more prevalent among pro players. If you wonder why they do it, don’t worry – you are not alone.
We thought it might be because all those players are pretending to be pilots or crew on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. However, after doing some research, we found out that flying dreams and sci-fi have practically nothing to do with it.
So why do players such as Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Hellmuth Jr, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, and Mike Sexton build their winning hands with headphones clamped firmly over their ears? Read on and find out!
The Sound of Music
It turns out that the reason so many pro poker players wear headphones at the table is the same reason that most others would wear headphones. Quite simply, it is so they can listen to music while they play.
We have no doubt that headphones and music at the table makes long-dead poker players spin in their graves like the reels of a loose slot machine, but times have changed. Gone are the days where the only things you would see at a table are cards, chips, players, the dealer, and chairs.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with this. Wearing headphones and listening to music only becomes a problem if it causes delays by distracting players from what they ought to be doing, which is playing a good game of poker.
Savage Beasts and Pro Players
The old saying is that music soothes savage beasts. Evidently, it soothes pro poker players as well.
Some players find that music helps them relax, and being relaxed enables them to play better poker. Others do it to drown out distractions, and to help them stay focused.
Hellmuth has confessed to listening to 80s and 90s rock n roll, while Negreanu stated in an interview that he listens to New Age music that features chirping birds and ocean waves, rap and hip hop superstar Missy Elliott, and even the soundtrack to the boxing movie Rocky.
Sexton, on the other hand, listens to music with a definite theme. The songs on his poker playlist are all based on legendary players such as Amarillo Slim.
Given the brilliant records of these players, listening to music obviously doesn’t have too detrimental an effect on their game.