should you drink alcohol and play poker

Images From Creative Commons from Cassius Marcellus Coolidge

Poker is one of those card games that will never go out of style.  From guy’s night in the man-cave to televised professional championships, poker is just plain fun.  It kind of reminds me of playing battleship or monopoly as a kid.  When you win you know it wasn’t luck, it was you out-thinking your opponent(s).  Now that is a fun way to win a game! There are many different types of poker and even more ways to place your wager and test your skills with the cards.  Maybe the low-pressure guy’s game is your ideal way to play.  How about a little trip to a little local or maybe large Vegas casino to try your hand?  Or maybe a few games online in the peaceful comfort of your own home are your style.  Heck, maybe all of the above work for you depending on the day.

So, when throwing down the chips and picking up your cards, what refreshment brings out the best player in you?  Beer seems pretty iconic with a classic poker game.  I mean everyone has seen the picture of the old dogs sitting around drinking and smoking cigars while playing poker.  Didn’t everyone have a grandfather with that picture hanging in the basement?  Actually, who knows what was in those dog’s glasses.  Could have been beer or whiskey, but I digress.  We can’t really see the dog’s cards or know who is winning.  Does the alcohol make a difference?

I would imagine that there is a wide variety of opinions on the matter of drinking versus not drinking while playing poker.  There are so many factors to consider from seriousness of the game to personal issues like nerves.  Also, perhaps drinking during a poker game could be used as a form of strategy.  Common sense would lead a person to believe that drinking would ultimately diminish the mental acuity of a player, but perhaps, nerves can get the better of someone and a beer or sipping a cocktail is the just the thing to wipe out their reservations and get them thinking clearly.

I think a poker player’s worst nightmare is going tilt and playing like a maniac.  I think that perhaps completely abstaining from alcohol while playing maybe the only way to prevent the worst.  I know from experience (and I’m not the only one here for sure) that saying, “I’ll have just one” can very quickly turn into “ok just one more” and so on.  I mean you’re playing a game here – it’s fun right! Oh, and more dangerous yet is playing poker online and drinking unchecked.  Time gets away from you and the next morning may not be so sunny with regards to your online betting account.  Come on! You were winning early on right?!  Right.

So, what is the right answer when deciding to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or not when playing a game or two of poker?  I leave everyone to their own adult decision making process, however, be very careful about limits.  No one plays to poker to lose.  The pride of out smarting the opponent and the thrill of taking their money cannot be beat.  So, if it’s your buddies playing with quarters, I say drink up and have a blast.  Retell all those awesome stories that never get old and make a few new memories.  If it’s real money with real players, take a bottle of water or some soda and get down to business.

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