Playing poker is tough enough to do profitably that to worry about your health while you’re weighing a tricky five-bet against an opponent you have pages of notes on might seem like misdirected energy. As we’ll discover in the first in this series of short guides that aim to assist you in making quick changes to your game that have a big impact on your play, healthy is always helpful.
1. Cut out caffeine
One of the biggest temptations while playing poker is to cram in caffeine when you’re feeling a little tired and emotional. Chugging an energy drink, downing two espressos or tanking up on tea might seem like a good short-term solution, but the problem with caffeine is that it only supplies a quick fix. Think of it as a band-aid over a serious muscle injury. It might make things seem a little better for a short time, but it isn’t solving the problem.
Instead of caffeine hits, take your energy levels up over a longer period of time by eating complex carbohydrates or slow-burning energy food such as bananas. When it comes to liquid consumption, staying refreshed is one thing, but there’s one irrefutable way of improving how you do that…
2. Drink plenty of water
Drinking water for many is boring, dull and repetitive. But, isn’t that what non-poker players might say about the flipping of playing cards and swapping of circular discs if they didn’t get the fun of the game?
OK, we’re not saying drinking water is a fun activity like playing poker, but it has been proved to be enormously beneficial. It keeps your system healthy, keeps your poker-playing brain hydrated and even improves things like your taste buds and will lead to you enjoying other food and drink more. Overall, it’s a massive plus to you both on and off the table.
3. Prepare for live tournaments
So many tournaments, so little time… to prepare what to eat. It’s easy to go on a trip to a foreign country and justify eating whatever you like simply because you’re not at home and managing the food you are taking in. The reality is, however, that cheating on your home diet with bad foods while away is nothing but a mug’s game.
Plan what you want to eat while away, research the country and declare your intentions to eat healthily, it’ll make straying from your ideal weight and health in general so much more difficult and keep you on the straight and narrow.
4. Maintain dietary discipline
One of the best things you can do to maintain a dietary discipline is to keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat. There are lots of diaries that help, but this is one example of the type of thing we’ve used in the past.
Writing down what you eat makes it very hard to eat the wrong things. You’ve got to write it down every time you do so and there’s almost nothing more positive than looking at what you’ve done right in black and white in front of you.
5. Organise your online meal plans
When playing online poker, many players can snack on rubbish and then moan when they lose a vital pot at three in the morning. Planning what you’re going to eat and at what intervals during an online session is a really easy of maintaining discipline at the tables, too.
If you’ve got a handle on your snacking and general food and drink consumption while playing online, you’re far less likely to simple mash buttons because it’s online and no-one can see you doing it except you.
Overall, eating well and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is an obvious poker hack. It’s also one of the most difficult ones to master, however. There are temptations everywhere with food and drink and if you’re not careful, bad habits can become irreversible. Remember that it takes 16 days to create a new habit. Get a food diary and start you journey to becoming a healthier poker player today.