The question of what to order at the Poker table, like most decisions you’ll make, is often determined by your fellow players. Poker has a folklore of its own attached to it; it’s as difficult to imagine a saloon full of cowboys sipping martinis as it is to picture James Bond pounding shots of rye in Monte Carlo, so be guided by context.
If you are going to order that martini, however, leave off the old James Bond “shaken, not stirred” routine. Not only is it a bit cheesy, but shaking actually breaks up the ice faster, watering down your carefully constructed Montgomery or Hemingway without chilling any better than a stirred one.
Poker does require concentration, and the careful scrutiny of others at the table. Neither of these is going to be your strong suit if you’re nervously laying into the hard tack. Strong spirits may be best with lots of ice, if you’re in it for the long haul. As well as being more refreshing, the water will help keep your faculties sharp, and also help you not to run up a bar tab as big as your winnings.
Remembering that there are beers in this world, and then there are beers, varying vastly in quality and alcohol content, there is the small matter of where that beer goes. A six pack in a sitting is very possible, and certain beers will make that the equivalent of eating a few loaves of bread. If you are spending a few hours sitting at a table, then high volume drinks like beer will necessitate more bathroom breaks, which can become a bit awkward. And if you’re ordering Alco-pops, remember that although they taste like cool drink they certainly don’t act like it, and you may find you’re feeling a little fuzzy if you drink too fast.
Personally, water should be a non-negotiable. If you are set for a serious bit of card play, which could go on for a while and raise some pulses, a glass of water is a valuable tool. A slow sip can ease a dry mouth and calm nerves, or unsettle an opponent at just the right time. Alongside that, a glass of something stronger of good pedigree lets everyone know who they’re dealing with, and can have a similarly steadying effect. The key is always; moderation.
Of course, when playing poker online no one can see what you’re drinking, so if you prefer to try for a full house with a strawberry milkshake, or have 2 pairs in one hand and the other clutching a cup of tea, no one will be any the wiser.
Should You Eat While Playing Poker Online?
For many poker enthusiasts, playing poker online is the best way to access live poker games and win real money. The downside of playing online is that players don’t have to leave the couch or office for an extended period of time. These extended periods of inactivity can cause the body to become lethargic and leads to a slower metabolism. To add to this, just like watching TV, many players find that snacking and playing casino games go hand in hand. The question is, should you be eating while you play online poker?
There has been much controversy about children and adults that eat and snack in front of the television or computer. In one study, researchers found that children tended to eat more when their favourite television program was being screened. Similar results were shown when adults watched engrossing films or played computer games. The idea is that while your attention is engaged, the unconscious mechanical action of eating continues on its own. This leads to people overeating and not knowing when they are full.
The Hazards of Comfort Food
Researchers also found that given the choice, both children and adults reached for comfort foods when they watched TV, or played computer games. Comfort foods contain high amounts of sugar and fats and add to the euphoric feeling that an engrossing film or computer game will provide. In conjunction with the inactivity, this overeating of high fat, high sugar foods leads to serious health problems. The good news is there is a simple way to make sure you do not fall into this trap.
What You Can Do
If you are going to eat while you play poker online, the best thing to do is to make only the amount needed and no more. This will regulate the amount of food you eat when your body doesn’t want to stop.
Another alternative is replacing the junk foods with healthy snacks like fresh fruit and vegetables. But perhaps the best option, if you can train yourself to do this, is to take a break and make eating a separate activity. Taking regular breaks is always a good idea and if you eat away from the computer, you are more likely to focus on what you are eating and how much you are eating.
If you do want to combine the two activities, grab the carrot sticks or raw nuts and sit down for a hand or two online.
What to Listen to While Playing Poker
Poker is a game that takes concentration, and the music you listen to whilst playing has proven to affect the way your game evolves. We’ve rounded up the songs that should be on your poker playlist, and that provide an excellent soundtrack to every hand.
Despite the inanity of lyrics such as “Russian roulette is not the same without a gun….”, Lady Gaga’s breakout song is great background music for playing poker. Poker Face is bouncy without being excessively dance-orientated, and the intellectual level of the sentiment means you aren’t focusing on the lyrics, nodding wisely at their wisdom and accidentally going all-in on a weak hand.
It’s important to always choose music that passes the time, rather than makes you aware of time passing. If you are planning to spend a few relaxing hours with a game or two of poker, you don’t want to be going through an album every 20 minutes. Recorded DJ sets are a great and seamless way of having constant music playing, and with so many genres of electronic music, there is bound to be something that hits the right notes for you. To really capture a different mood in an often-bustling casino, Baroque ensembles will provide perfect background music from another era. Don’t forget, JS Bach’s other passion was mathematical harmony, after all, he’d have probably been a mean poker player.
Obviously, you want to choose music that is upbeat, or motivational; a few losing hands might be all in a day’s play, but combining that with Leonard Cohen or The Smiths in your ears could have you weeping into your drink early on in the evening. Epic rock tracks should do the trick, as should power ballads. A strong, empowering song will keep your poker playing upbeat and not allow you to become nostalgic and start thinking about anything other than your hand.
Hip-hop is all about the atmosphere and while the lyrics often tend to be crude or downright violent, popular culture has definitely instilled the association between hip-hop and casino games. The test here is walk around while playing any selected track. Did you walk differently while the music was playing or did you feel different? A decent hip-hop song can inspire your poker play and the tempo will certainly keep you alert.
Whatever soundtrack you choose to play poker to, you should feel invigorated, inspired and ready to take on the table with every song.