Alcohol and Poker

Mixed Drinks are Okay, Mixing Drinking and Poker is NOT Okay.

So it’s 3am and you just got back from a long night with buddies at the bar. You are not really tired yet, so you hop on the computer to mess around (check email, surf the net, whatever). Then you see that devilish poker icon sitting on your desktop looking very enticing. Your head is spinning, and the icon is practically telling you to, “Click me.” So you have to, I mean you are drunk, how can you not? You start with 100 bucks on a low limit table, its gone within what seems like minutes. You get angry and throw another 100 down at a higher limit table, which disappears even faster. This is just one of the many likely scenarios of playing online poker while intoxicated.

While playing poker, and drinking may seem like a lot of fun, it is the very reason that brick and mortar casinos feed you free alcohol while your playing at the tables. They want to loosen your nerves, open up your wallets and play, play and play more. More often than not this only leads to depression when you wake up the next morning and see that your wallet is empty, or you log on to your online poker account and see that your bankroll has disappeared. Playing intoxicated often times makes you play hands that you wouldn’t normally play. 7 2 off suit while sober is a garbage hand and practically all poker players fold it immediately. But 7 2 off suit after a couple gin and tonics and all of a sudden they turn into pocket rockets! “I raise!” This is the cause for a lot of money to be lost.

However, sometimes when lady luck is on your side you just can’t lose. Plenty of players have had very profitable experiences playing online poker while drunk. In some instances, it is much harder to play against a player under the influence than a sober player. It is very difficult to put a wasted player on a particular hand, because they could be playing any two cards at any given time. Drunk players will play more hands. They will tend play more aggressive and make larger than usual raises. They will go “all in” at any possible moment without contemplating whether they have the best hand or not. While it is very true that players have turned a drunken night of poker into a profitable experience, do not let this fool you.

It is highly debated topic in the poker world of exactly how much poker has to do with skill, and how much luck is involved. No matter how you split the percentages up, anybody who knows anything about poker will tell you to play with a clear mind and a focused attitude. It is no secret that when one is drunk they make very poor judgment calls (for example getting behind the wheel of an automobile). So if a drunk poker player is faced with a decision of whether to call a large bet to see the river card while chasing a gut shot straight draw with 7 high, it will be much more difficult for him or her to make the proper decision.

Having a couple beers to relax the nerves is completely fine and will, in some cases, help out your game. However, it is very important to have the self-control to not play while the room is spinning and your eye-lids are heavier than 50 pound dumb-bells. Of course self-control and drinking are two verbs that often times do not mix very well. Thus, there are some ways to avoid playing online poker while wasted.

Some suggestions to all online poker players who drink:

1) Turn off your computer / laptop before going out to the bars. So when you come back you will most likely be too lazy to go through the process of rebooting your computer.

2) Delete the poker site icon off your desktop. When you come home intoxicated and it is not there in front of you, you will be less likely to open up your poker software and start playing.

3) Walk right past your computer and get right to bed and sleep it off. You can’t lose money that you do not wager.

In conclusion, more often than not, drinking and playing online poker does not mix. It is like trying to mix oil and water, they are just not a match for each other. Drinking excessively and playing will ultimately lead to extreme anger when you realize your poker bankroll has been seriously depleted or gone all together.