The 11 Gifts Every Poker Fan Needs This Christmas, Part Two
Christmas is just around the corner and poker fans around the world will be hoping for some Hold'em related goodies in their stocking this festive season. PokerStars Blog is on hand to recommend some of the best gifts to give the poker player in your life this Christmas. If you missed Part One of this gift list click here to read it now. And for more great gift ideas read on below...
Online Grind Station
For those poker players who call the virtual felt home, check out a few enhancements to help create the ultimate poker cave.
Quality Wireless Mouse
Watching skilled Twitch streamers like Somerville, Negreanu and Staples work their magic - seamlessly switching between tables, lobbies, chat boxes and other screens, all while dragging in sizable pots - can make the process seem effortless.
But at home, just trying to navigate between a few Sit & Go screens and the usual browser tabs is a skill in itself.
With that in mind, the online player on your list would love the added dexterity and ease of motion provided by a wireless mouse that doesn't suck.
The best wireless mice on the market tend to run $149.99 and up, but unless your friend has his mind set on becoming the next Twitch legend, they'll be fine with any of a dozen lower cost options.
MARKUS Office Chair From IKEA
Followers of poker podcasting legend Joey Ingram know that he lives and breathes his self-styled game theory optimal (GTO) approach to life.
Along with approaching pot-limit Omaha puzzles with GTO principles in mind, "Chicago Joey" devotes segments of his Poker Life podcast to improving fitness, wellness, awareness and other essential elements in achieving balance.
Perhaps the most vocal endorsement ever dispensed by Dr. GTO concerned the often overlooked field of ergonomics. A form of human compatible design devoted to maximizing efficiency and comfort, while minimizing stress, ergonomics is applied to everything from wrist cushions on keyboards, to gaming mice, headphones and spine-aligning chairs.
One of those chairs is the MARKUS swivel chair, an Ikea product that Ingram happily dubbed the 'Official Computer Chair of the Poker Life podcast' earlier this year. Per Ingram's review, the MARKUS has been crucial in alleviating his chronic back pain, a problem that plagues most online poker players who put in any sort of volume. He advises fans to choose the black leather model, and "never the cloth," which runs between $179.99 and $199.99 depending on add-ons like a floor mat.
The MARKUS is an Ikea product, mind you, so expect to treat assembly like a complicated poker hand, but a few minutes of tinkering is a tremendous investment for any online player.
Dual Monitor Desk Setup
No serious grind station is complete without the addition of a second monitor.
Whether toggling between multiple tables or watching the PokerStars Championship live stream on one screen, online players need all the screen real estate they can get. And while they may be able to make do using a single screen, adding another will broaden their horizons - literally.
According to a 2012 study conducted by the University of Wichita's Software Usability Research Lab (SURL), adding a second 17" or 22" monitor to existing workspaces immediately increased user productivity.
For a basic dual monitor setup, Dell offers its MDS14 model at a discounted holiday price of only $129.99. From there, costs depend on the complexity of the system, with descriptions as elaborate as 'ergo-flex', 'double-flex arm', even 'dual gas lift'; whatever that means...
The Ultimate Home Game
Many poker players enjoy the camaraderie of a good old-fashioned home game. The ideas below should spice up the classic kitchen table poker night.
Nothing is more imperative for a poker game than a good deck of cards.
For the most part, the standard deck hasn't changed in composition since Bicycle began printing playing cards back in 1885. Today, the deuce of diamonds in casinos across the globe looks just like it did over 130 years ago.
Before scheduling your next poker night, stocking your drawers with a few beautifully designed themed decks will liven up any game. The U.S. Presidents deck is timely, featuring red and blue decks, replacing the King and Queen of Diamonds with George and Martha Washington, respectively. Other funky decks run the gamut in terms of style, ranging from astronomy to zombies, and prices are low at $5.99 per deck and up.
If you need a more serious deck, one more similar to the look and feel of the cards used in professional poker rooms you may want to check out COPAG or K.
Poker Table and Chips
Recreating the casino experience at home requires one piece of equipment above all else: a quality poker table.
The signature green felt and oval shape isn't there for looks and these features actually help speed the game along. Don't worry though, a quality playing surface won't break the bank. You can get a portable folding oval table top designed with that great oval shape, or upgrade to a nice folding poker table if a regular game is in the cards (pun intended).
Bigger budgets open up the door for a gift that'll put a smile on even the most stoic of poker faces; a fully customized poker table. Decide on options like leather armrests, sunken cup holders, sublimated graphics on the felt and much more.
Apparel and Gear
Choosing clothing and gear tends to depend on personal taste, so we'll leave the details up to you, but we're glad to help you with three great resources to begin your search.
The World's Most Amazing Hoodie
By now we've all heard about the "World's Best Hoodie," but even reviewers who wanted to hate the vaunted American Giant sweatshirt became believers after pulling it on.
Known as the Classic Full-Zip, the classic hoodie by American Giant is available in both men's and women's stylings for $89 a pop. A solid hoodie like this has actually become a necessity for players at live events thanks to poker rooms cranking the air con down to a temp that would leave a penguin in need of warmth.
Padding around the poker room, especially at major series stops housed in convention halls far from the actual casino and hotel, is brutal on the old paws.
Players can easily put a few kilometers behind them while running to the restroom, finding a restaurant on break or ducking outside for a quick minute. Without comfortable soles underfoot, these treks can prove to be physically demanding, leading to sore feet, blisters and stinging numbness. Ah, the trials and tribulations of playing the game we love.
Those problems are easily solved with a nice pair of heavy duty, yet amazingly comfortable, slippers. LL Bean makes a perfect pair of sheepskin shearling lined scuff slippers called Wicked Good, available for men and women for only $69.99, but no matter where you get them, soft shoes are a perfect stocking stuffer for poker players on the go.
Players know that the eyes are the window to the soul, and if any tells are going to give away their hand, they'll likely be gleaned from a gaze.
Sunglasses offer protection from the prying eyes of opponents and freedom to scrutinize others without being obvious, making them crucial gear, all fashion considerations aside.
Wearing sunglasses inside doesn't have to go against the grain though, not with specially designed lenses built to filter out the harsh glare of the fluorescent lights that flood casino floors. These sunglasses are intended for indoor use, helpful for avoiding headaches and vision issues that wearing ordinary sunglasses under fluorescent lighting can lead to.
So there you have it! Eleven great gifts for every poker player. Remember, if you're in a bind for a gift, the PokerStars VIP store is always an option too.