Thursday, November 09, 2006

Poker Drinking

Stephen: The Almighty tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he's pretty sure your fucked.

If Poker is a vice, something that draws us away from normal activities to indulge in the evils of this world, then surely it should be at home when mixed with other vices. I am talking specifically of the liquid variety.

Some poker players have very well known drinks associated with their poker play – be it Carona, Guinness or Southern Comfort being the three that immediately spring to mind. While the more serious player may opt for the bottled water, I think that is a suckers way out. If I am going to have to run to the bathroom every 10 minutes, I want some payoff before hand.

For me personally, my drink of choice changes on the location of play. If I am plugging away at Poker Stars or Full Tilt, it is rare that I will grab a beer from the fridge these days. There was a time when I thought it necessary to have beer while playing poker – and I can not deny that they go as well together as beer and pizza. It's more the fact that I just don't have a spare six pack sitting around the house these days as much as I used to. Perhaps that, and the image I got of myself sitting alone in the study drinking beer while staring at a computer screen just seemed to be screaming either "Problem Drinker" or "Problem Gambler", even though I am certain I am neither. But really, online poker isn't the greatest place to combine your alcoholic preferences with your 52 plastic friends. It is the social aspect of poker that lends itself to the combination.

In a home game, when I am host, it can get to be a bumpy night. I always make sure the fridge is stocked before the night begins. For me, it's either a few stubbies or on the rare occasion, a bourbon and coke (actually, rarely coke. We prefer Pepsi Max because it tastes better when mixed, but try asking for that at a crowded bar). The amount consumed is always enough to pass the point that makes some of my plays seem downright wild, and past the point that would make most police officers very un happy if they caught me behind the wheel. But hey, there is no need to drive home so why the hell not?

If it is an away game though, I am left with little choice but not to drink as the drive home late in the night/early in the morning is usually a great time to get picked up for a random breath test. Best to play it safe. On these occasions, where I usually go home from work for a quick shower and change before launching into a 10 hour plus session, tiredness can become a bit of a problem. So I have recently turned to Red Bull – every recovering crack addict's best friend!

Please note, I am not a recovering crack addict. Or a current one while we are at it.

I joined the red bull crowd when I was feeling a little drowsy one morning before work, and was forced to stop into the petrol station on the way to the office to fill up on the reasonably priced petroleum products. I decided to grab a red bull because I don't drink coffee and needed something else to wake me up. Lo and behold, all the whispers were true – this shit is just like crack in a can! So I thought it would be a good addition to the poker playing equipment.

Now I know I am by far not a pioneer in this respect, I have seen other players throw the stuff down like it was going out of fashion, but it was new to my poker playing.

I don't think red bull gives you super poker powers, but I have noticed that in every session I have drank the stuff, I come good at about the 3am mark when everyone else starts loosing. This may be just a coincidence, because I do remember a nice little turn in the cards at this stage as well, but maybe there is something to it. Maybe I am more alert when every one else's attention is waning.

One player at a regular game I frequent who is a big gambler, and by big gambler I mean a bet every day, always abides by the motto to never mix gambling with drinking. It is pretty obvious why he would say such a thing, and you can see the reasons why this is a good idea, but sometimes the social aspect of the game becomes more important. Well, most of the time it should be more important when you are talking about home games.

There was once where I thought a glass of milk was a good choice. I think I was deep in a MTT at that stage and then stumbled when down to the big money positions. Don't know if I can recommend that or not.

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