Poker Drugs - When Strategy Fails

A recent article published by the Los Angeles Times covered the subject of poker players using performance-enhancing substances to improve their gameplay. These allegations were backed up by a recent study performed by Nova Southeastern University in Florida. The world-wide study conducted by the university interviewed over 190 poker players from all different player groups, ranging from recreational to professional.

performance enhancing drugs

From the study the university found that players were not just using conventional energy boosters, such as caffeine and energy drinks: 28% of players admitted taking at least one prescription medicine to increase their performance; 34% confessed to using marijuana to increase concentration and calm their nerves, and 8% hook themselves up on cocaine.

Numerous interviews with poker professionals proved that this is not an uncommon occurence and does not really come as a surprise, considering other statistics have shown that more than 36% of the United States population has tried marijuana, cocaine, or other illicit drugs and about half of these are casual users.

The use of these illegal drugs affects players in several different ways and players have been quoted on saying that they use the substances for the following effects:

  •  Marijuana helps them to keep calm and avoid getting on tilt.
  •  Cocaine helps to keep on edge, stay confident and be alert for the hours of gameplay.
  •  Amphetamines keep them ticking for days, caffeine booster times twenty.

Considering that all these illicit drugs do have a short-term positive influence on our game, players really need to look at the long-term effects on their health, and where they want the path of their drug use to lead them. Players who are seeking for a long-term career in poker could find in 5 or 10 years time that their abuse of drugs may limit their ability to become a truly good player.

As a poker guru I say no to all kinds of drugs in poker.