The Hardy Vector

Oct. 7, 2011, Posted by rick.dacey

The Hardy Vector

In an industry which has been frequently rocked by revelations of player impropriety, online card room mismanagement, collusion and calamity, how can we expect anything else when many denizens of the poker world deign to wear gaudy Ed Hardy hoodies. Okay, I’m not blaming everything explicitly on Christian Audigier but surely there’s something wrong when a large chunk of players are going out of their way to look like low rent pimps or crap space pirates. Neither are winning looks. Now, I know style statements could be considered rich coming from someone that wears light hiking footwear to tournaments but at least they’ve got a practical angle: I’m on my feet all day and suffering from sore feet when reporting at a six-day tournament is as welcome as trenchfoot at the Somme.

So is there a practical aspect to the Ed Hardy hoody? If the intention is to say that you’re a tasteless nouveau riche douche bag then great, you have achieved your aim at the low cost of $178. But if your aim was to transform your podgy 40-year old body into that of a dynamic young poker player then I hate to break it to you* but you have sorely failed. It’s embarrassing and ugly. Sequins should be on ballroom dancers, ice skaters and drag queens. That’s it.

*I don’t hate breaking it to you. You’re the equivalent of a twice-divorced mother of three squeezing into a boob tube and hot pants thinking you’ve still got it when you get a grope round the back of Chicagos nightclub.

 Take that hoody and give it to your son, nephew, grandson or someone that that really shouldn’t know better. Let them don the atrocious monstrosity with swagger and misplaced chutzpah. They’ll look back at the photos in years to come and wonder what the hell they were doing – ahhh, the heady bad decisions of youth.

Breaking down the Hardy Vector

There is a fine line of players that can get away with wearing extravagant gear though. Laurence ‘rivermanl’ Houghton, for instance, a bit of bling on him seems perfectly natural and doesn’t jangle the eyeballs. On the Devilfish? Give it up, Dave, put on a sports jacket, you’re embarrassing yourself. So what marks the divide, when can you no longer sustain the glamour? Poker is a mathematical game and I’m sure that we could work out the +EV time to ditch the turbo clobber. The initial standout factors that must be included are BMI, ROI and age.

 Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is vital. The gaudier the clothes the leaner you have to be to pull them off, unless your intention is to look like the comedy member of The Incredible Flying Fratelli Brothers, featuring in poker tents up and down the country. And then there’s ROI. The more you’ve won the more it seems natural to be wearing over the top accessories. Take Bryn Kenney whose got enough bling to be spotted from the upper hemisphere on a bright day. The American finished third in the PCA $100k Super High Roller and dressing as a so-called baller seems acceptable. If he was a $10 sit-and-go grinder, perhaps it wouldn’t. Scratch perhaps, it wouldn’t. The tertiary aspect is Age and this is where Ulliott fails, it has to be, he passes the others with flying colours.

The TC-factor

Of course, there are usually exceptions and anomalies in fledging formulas and a large one is thrown up courtesy of that Frenchman by way of Korea, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier. Although ElkY passes all three factors with ease you feel that he’d get away with his spangles and leather whatever his age. He is, after all, the closest thing that you’ll ever find to a real-life Manga character in the Western world. He’s practically a superhero. I once saw him overtake a bus on foot, okay, it wasn’t a speeding train but it was still pretty impressive watching the bleach blonde Gaul tearing down the promenade at EPT San Remo to flag down the driver. A kickboxing twist of energy, ElkY holds the Triple Crown of poker (WSOP, EPT and WSOP titles) and perhaps that’s what affords him the ability to wear what he wants. Since Jake Cody has bagged his TC I’ve seen an edgier haircut, tighter t-shirts and what appeared to be a long chiffon scarf slung around his neck that wouldn’t have been out of place on Gok Wan. And no-one was giving it a second glance.

So assuming you fall outside the Hardy Vector: too old, too fat, too bad, and that you don’t have a Triple Crown perched atop your head, what can you wear? Maybe it’s time to return to the time that never was where everyone played wearing a suit? Perhaps skin tight sponsor-clad ergonomic poker jumpsuits? Let’s hope so, but only in the case of Liv Boeree or Fatima Moreira de Melo. I don’t know, I don’t have the answers. You’ve obviously mistaken me for someone with positive intentions. Just throw the damn hoody away.

Rick Dacey has been writing, reporting, living and breathing poker since leaving conventional journalism in August 2005 to join the launch team of PokerPlayer magazine, an anarchic mag that became Britain’s best selling poker title. Since going freelance in 2008 Dacey has split his time between playing and writing about the game, becoming a regular feature on the European poker circuit in the process. He can often be spotted stalking between tournament tables carrying a notepad, pen and sour expression or, after play has ended, with a beer, expletives and stolen sandwich. He tweets under the  handle and can also be found spouting vitriol at


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