Less controversy more glamour?

Poker call

One of the headlines at the EPT Barcelona festival last month, apart from all the records that were broken, was the clothing choices made by two of the super high rollers. Olivier Busquet and Daniel Colman arrived on set wearing t-shirts bearing slogans that were, well, bound to cause a bit of trouble.

And so they did. PokerStars found themselves in the awkward position of being damned if they did, and damned if they didn’t. Consequently new rules have since been announced, that equally resulted in them being damned if they did, and damned if they didn’t. It was all a bit awkward.

But then, I think I may have the solution.

Let’s call it a “dress code”. But let’s be specific. I’m not talking what players can’t wear, but what players must wear. Let’s take this opportunity to open up the game to a more elegant, less schlubby kind of place, one that would properly grace television screens, particularly those still switched on at 1 o’clock in the morning.

Picture the scene: a final table of Super High Roller or Main Event calibre. Around it are men and women who for once are better dressed than the black clad cameramen and women who lurk in the shadows. On screen the picture would be one of beauty and fascination.

“Here’s Liv Boeree, under the gun. She bets, looking radiant in a $2,000 Vera Wang and Tiffany necklace. Next to act is Dominik Panka, the collar of his Turnbull & Asser shirt undone beneath his handmade Ozwald Boateng suit. He raises. The action is then folded around to Mike McDonald on the button, in an Armani three-piece. He stares back at Panka. But is he trying to get a read? Or is he admiring the stitching on his sleeve?

And so on.

Who could possibly object? Apart from Main Event winner Andre Lattau obviously, whose tie-died baseball cap and give-up-on-life trousers in Barcelona sent a message equally as powerful as any slogan ever could. But certainly not Olivier Busquet, one of the few players ever to wear a three-piece suit to a final table. He looked immaculate when he finished second to Jannick Wrang in Campione in Season 8.

Of course, none of this will happen, and nor should it, because it distracts people from what they’re tuning in for in the first place. Which is supposed be poker, laid on in its richest form, on its most prestigious stage. Think what you like about any issue, and by all means talk about it at the table. That’s free speech.

To detract from that seems more like forgetting one’s manners. Hang on. Does forcing people to wear certain clothes also count as bad manners? Maybe so. Perhaps we’d best stick with what we have.