It’s not easy staying fit when poker is your primary avocation. Paul and I work hard (and often fail) to maintain a decent level of fitness despite the fact that we work at desks all day and sit at poker tables in our off time. Not to mention our Netflix time, my passion for reading, and Paul’s obsession with the Boston Celtics. And don’t even get us started talking about our downhill slide in the last year while we have been stuck in the house. When I last saw my doctor, he actually said to me “So. The weight.” Enough said. We imagine that we are not alone in the struggle to stay fit while loving poker. In the interest of getting back to a fit state ourselves, we have pondered better times. For those of you who love poker and are struggling too, here are our 4 secrets to becoming a fit poker player.
Becoming a Fit Poker Player
Walk at Every Break
Remember back in the good old days when we would come together to play poker in a nice room somewhere? One with lots of tables and uncomfortable chairs? Every hour or two there would be a 10-minute break to allow players to visit the restroom and grab a snack. Once the mandatory restroom visit was done, Paul and I would always head out of the poker room to take a nice stroll for the rest of the break. If we were low on energy we would snack on nuts or a Kind bar while we walked, but walks themselves were mandatory. Not only does a good walk at each break help get those daily steps in, but it also helps us clear our heads. That way we are always ready for the next challenge when we sit back down at the table.
Bring Your Own Snacks and Water
Speaking of those nuts, a fit poker player knows that card rooms generally offer very little healthy food. Or reasonably priced water, for that matter. Whenever you intend to spend hours at the table, we recommend that you do as Daniel Negreanu does and pack your own food. While beer, hot dogs, and Doritos may be an enjoyable day of dining at the tables, you will be healthier (and, frankly, play better) if you instead snack on fruit, nuts, and other healthy snacks. As a bonus, you will save money toward your next buy-in!
Even better, make a plan for the snacks, drinks, and meals you might want to have with you during your next poker marathon. We have a tournament poker packing list that we check without fail before we fill our backpack and head off to the tables.
Find a Hike!
We have always built a walk into our pre-poker routine. First, we try to get to the card room half an hour or so early. We sign up for the tournament, ensuring we won’t end up on the dreaded alternate list. And then we go outside for a walk whenever possible. If it’s not possible, we walk the casino, or even the poker room if it’s too wet or too cold out. Foxwoods, by the way, is the best casino in New England if you’re looking to take a good indoor walk. It is a good 10 minutes or more from the poker room to the Fox Tower at the other end. Walk that circuit a few times a day and you’ll be well on your way to being a fit poker player.
In just the past (pokerless) year we have taken up hiking. As we mentioned in our recent poker pilgrimage update, we took up hiking to get us outside and moving during this difficult year. We quickly fell in love with hiking, and now find a new trail to hike whenever we can. We use and love AllTrails, and are looking forward to building hikes into our future poker journeys. And we definitely plan to build in hikes to all of the traveling that we will be getting back to any day now.
Keep Up with Your General Self-Care
Fitness is more than just food and exercise. If you want to be a fit poker player, you will need to focus on general self-care. First and foremost, this means getting a good night’s sleep. Regular sleep has always been a challenge for us. Nonetheless, we know how important sleep is to both our general health and the quality of our poker games. We saw a wonderful Masterclass on sleep (yes, that’s an affiliate link, but it’s really that good!) recently that drove home just how important sleep is to our general health.It's not easy staying fit when poker is your primary avocation.Click To Tweet
It’s also important to keep your stress levels under control. This is another aspect of fitness that we’ve been working on during this difficult year. I have been starting each morning with a few minutes of meditation, working on my gratitude journal, and even starting to explore yoga. All of these things have been helping promote relaxation and keeping me off the ledge when life gets dicey. I can’t wait to see how they translate once we get back to the tables.
Take all of the above, wash, rinse, and repeat and you too can be a fit poker player!
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