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Eating Healthy = Better Poker Results?

Tags: alcohol and poker, eating healthy, food, poker.
Posted on 25 September 2014 by "T".

Food and poker might have more in common that many of us would like to think. In theory, if you really think about it, it makes perfect sense that a poker player (online or live) should be able to focus better and play longer sessions when eating healty and avoiding alochol. 

If you are interested to learn more about healthy food and poker, then we recommend that you read PokerStars' Katerina 'Katerina289' Malasidou's latest blog ‘food and poker' below!

Food and poker are two things that at first glance have nothing to do with each other. Unless of course we're talking about a night in with friends, where you're all munching on pizza slices, drinking beer and playing poker at the same time. Fun times, but that's not where I'm getting at.

Poker is all about maximizing your expected value in a given situation. And even though studying the game and finding ways to improve your poker skills are obviously the top priorities of any player, there are other ways that can bring you one step closer to success. Let's assume, for example, that you go out at night and have a couple (and then a couple more) drinks with your friends. If you wake up hangover the next day, then you're more likely to take the day off rather than hit the poker tables which could potentially have disastrous results on your bankroll.

The effects of alcohol are easily detectable. But when it comes to food we rarely think about how it's going to affect our performance. You know that drowsiness that you get sometimes after eating? People tend to underestimate it, but apart from being unpleasant it can also have a negative impact on your game. And if you're playing while feeling sleepy then you're obviously not playing your A game.

Maybe it's not too bad and you're not playing your C game either (depending on whether you ate some slices of pizza or the whole box of a family-sized one). Unfortunately, even if you're playing your A minus you are losing money.You are very likely to try to fight that drowsiness with a coffee (and I'm saying this from personal experience). That's going to work great! Until the effects of the coffee start wearing off, that is. Then you'll come crushing down from your caffeine high and feel tired and worn out, probably worse than before when you had the sleepiness that made you drink that coffee in the first place.

The best way I found to make sure I'm feeling fine when it's time to work is to be careful with what I'm eating. When I say that I go to a nutritionist people often tell me "What for? You're not fat!". I think that happens because we have wrongly associated diets with obesity. It's true that obese people are most frequently the ones who turn to diets, but that doesn't mean that it's okay for someone with a faster metabolism to live on burgers.

I see going to the nutritionist as a way to get educated on food. 
There's plenty of things most people don't know such as which combinations of food are bad, what causes sleepiness, what gives more energy etc. For example, rice and beans is a traditional food in many countries. It was introduced during the times of slavery because rice is rich in starch that provides energy and has iron and protein. Beans are also rich in protein and iron. When combined with rice they create a complete protein which substitutes meat. That made sense back when people had many hours of physical labor ahead of them. They needed the energy and meat was harder to find because of the different economy. Nowadays, we get to eat the exact same thing in a gourmet restaurant only we use it as a side to go with our juicy steak. The result is a bigger intake of protein than what our body needs.

The first thing I discuss with my nutritionist is my daily schedule. Meals have to be carefully planned depending on what time I wake up, work, take a break. We also discuss what times of the day I feel tired or lacking energy and try to improve it by having the appropriate snack. Apart from feeling a lot better overall, I don't need a nap after my lunch anymore. I can go straight back to playing poker and I'm able to maintain my sharpness for longer periods of time.

I bet you've heard a lot of poker players talking about a healthy nutrition lately. It's not just a trend. I agree that the benefits of it are hard to measure and they're also not going to appear from one day to the other. Like most things, it takes time. But if you start eating healthy and stick to it, I guarantee that you'll see an improvement. Inevitably your poker game will benefit since you'll be focused while your opponents are almost falling asleep on their keyboards. And don't worry, you can still succumb to the temptation of a nice burger or an ice-cream when it's your day off!


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19 comments on "Eating Healthy = Better Poker Results?"

 klash2325/09/2014 12:40:07 GMT
For most players who play a couple of hours on the internet here and there I don't think diet will have much effect on their game but for someone who plays for long periods of time or someone who wants to start making a wage from playing then changing your diet could be massively productive.
For the big tournament players who could be sitting at a table for 8 hours over a few days goes through long periods of inactivity except folding and watching other players and then the next minute you are in a hand that could be your last so your mind has to be extremely alert at all times.
At the end of a long day when other players are losing concentration if you are still sharp there is a great chance for you to start taking those chips,as they say-a healthy body means a healthy mind.
 shokaku25/09/2014 13:02:31 GMT
Avoiding alochol? Is this the newest nick from Patrick Antonius on FT?

Healthy eating may improve the game of some players, but i 'am not sure. if it does it for all players. For the alcohol. Just remember Scotty "Where is my cocktail" Nguyen.
 RoninHarper25/09/2014 14:07:39 GMT
G'day mates
Well I must agree that not drinking alcohol while playing poker is most definately going to help you make more money in the long run. Alcohol dulls the senses and causes poor judgement calls to be made. It will very quickly loosen a player up and often will make a person much more likely to chase to the river when they should be folding.
be cool

Ronin Cool
 marqis25/09/2014 14:14:12 GMT
You could also try any other placebo with the same results, I would imagine...

I have doubts about the scientific value of many of these alleged benefits from good nutrition. I think it depends mostly on anecdotal evidence, and placebo effects.

Still obviously things like alcohol and maybe caffeine would have an effect.
 yout8525/09/2014 15:28:20 GMT
Eating better = a general good feeling, a general good feeling = a better mindset, a better mindset can = better results...

Seems entirely logical to me.
 xgcsnippy25/09/2014 15:43:56 GMT
I like to smoke a joint before playing a serious game, actually the other night winning the PSO tournament I think I smoked like 4 joints.

Eating right yes helps I believe, there is nothing worse than trying to cook dinner and playing poker at the same time so If I am in for a long session I eat before.

 Heskor25/09/2014 17:38:38 GMT
Yeah you are right mate, nutrition and poker works wonders if done at the same time, because if you eat healthy food you can get more energy and can spend more time on your scree n and thus play more and you have more chance to win money also if you eat healthy you get energy and you can concentrate better, so definitely take care of your body and food and this will help you on your poker journey!

Cheers good luck but all poker players i know eat healthy food and they win so there is definitely something about food and poker lol.Start small!!
 crash5825/09/2014 21:01:09 GMT
Posted by RoninHarper:
G'day mates
Well I must agree that not drinking alcohol while playing poker is most definately going to help you make more money in the long run. Alcohol dulls the senses and causes poor judgement calls to be made. It will very quickly loosen a player up and often will make a person much more likely to chase to the river when they should be folding.
be cool

Ronin Cool
although i do agree with you , one time i was playing a $2500.00 gtd at,ultimatebet poker, and drinking, since this game started at 8pm on a sat nite, when i woke up in the morning i asked my exwife how i finished, cause i didn't remember, and she said 1st place.
Big Smile Big Smile
 demodawggy25/09/2014 21:17:00 GMT

Yep,...only makes good sense to me...! Thing is, order to eat healthy, don't want to forfeit 'tasty'...! Smile

...and then there are those days FILLED with poker,...and you don't have any time to cook a good meal...!

I like to have some sort of nice Indian sauces cooked up and bottled ready to go in the fridge,...takes seconds of your time to cook up some basmati,...dump on some nice Murgh Korma, in the nuke for 40 seconds..,...and PRESTO...!

Smile< Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....... Indian cooking....! Thumbs Up
 doubletop77726/09/2014 09:45:59 GMT
Its like any thing you do in life, the better you feel the better you will do. I always play better when i am feeling good about myself and try and stay away from alcohol when playing because that can lead to disaster
 3pokeronly26/09/2014 10:57:56 GMT
Not exactly true or new science.

Yes, most people will have more energy and feel better and that can translate to better decision being made.

However, a few poker players play better with 2 - 8 drinks in them as it relaxes them and removes some of the "timid" filters less than 2 drinks they play ABC only, 2 -8 drinks A through to Z, more than 8 drinks every hand all in.

Same as the poster with regard to weed, it helps him relax which balances his poker.

I think the actual lesson and therefore the takeaway (lol) is do what makes you feel comfortable and try to improve your condition one step at a time, if you radically change either your poker or your diet or even your poker routine too quickly, your body, mind and poker will suffer. Improve your diet, smoke a little less, drink a little less each session, work out where you want to get to, if you only play pub poker with a drink, with mates do not worry about topping up with fresh grains and the like stick to brewed malts and enjoy your poker, if you want to play live WSOP tournies, you may need to go a different path, one step at a time.
 Skpmorita26/09/2014 11:21:41 GMT
tell this to Monymaker and Greg Raymer , both wsop winners and extreamly unhealthy ..
and also my favorite cash game player David Benyamine is also overweight , and i think he is a mastermind ..
to me it dont matter really , poker is not football or basketball , there are no physical activity
most poker players are no where near healthy and they drink daily ..

forgot to mention 2 poker gods
Dolly : The 10 2 master and father of all poker players , overweight
Stu : the genius , cocaine and drinking

i am not saying it is good to be unhealthy , we will never know what these players could have achieved if they chose the right way to live , maybe more maybe less

all i am saying you cant your judge a player based on his health
 Calmplay27/09/2014 06:06:03 GMT
Hello all the wonderful mobsters out there, this is your friend flashfaust01 from Japan, somewhere in Asia writing to you, wish a good day to each and everyone of you:

not only in poker, but for poker it is not necessary as I know guys who eat pizzas quite everyday as it's the fastest food to cook... and are very profitable online players.

I am very happy to be a part of such a great community, wish you the best of luck at the tables, off the tables, behind the tables, under the tables and in your life in general.
Yours truly flashfaust01.
 maicovish28/09/2014 13:39:10 GMT
i am agree, that alcohol and poker are not combined components. once i tried to play under influence of alcohol, and lost 50 pounds. now i am playing only when i am sober. also i disagree little bit about food. you must not play, after you ate. its slows you a bit. better is play on a little bit hungry stomache.
 damosk28/09/2014 13:42:01 GMT
This could actually be true as certain foods do affect your levels of alertness and introduce fatigue, therefore it is wise to assess what you eat before playing and utilise energy and alertness deriving foods to maintain your concentration and awakeness. Don't drink alcohol when playing poker...unless of course I'm on your table, then I am happy for you to drink as much as you like!
 crash5828/09/2014 14:09:16 GMT
Just finished a real canadian breakfast, back bacon, eggs, homefries, and a glass of juice Big Smile and my game has not improved. Big Smile
 demodawggy28/09/2014 14:17:41 GMT
Posted by crash58:
Just finished a real canadian breakfast, back bacon, eggs, homefries, and a glass of juice Big Smile and my game has not improved. Big Smile

...another famous Canadian breakfast is commonly known as 'Wake 'n Bake'... Cool< Jah Mon...
 Theapple02/10/2014 09:04:33 GMT
i still dont think how eating healthy would help you avoid downswings and bad beats though Tongue

sure it helps, just as it helps with pretty much any other job/thing you do, staying healthy and eating healthy is quite awesome as it improves every aspect of your life so surely it cant hurt but tbh i doubt any of top pros are also famous for their consumerism of healthy food though Tongue
 Fakiry06/10/2014 15:57:10 GMT
Very nice work you present here. In fact being healthy represents a plus on the ability we will have to play. That's why each time I read about people who likes to play with lots of alcohol in the brain or under "green" effects i always tend to advise to not do it with big amounts.

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