Do you think poker is a sport? Yes, I know it’s a mental sport and one of the greatest skill-games ever but is poker a sport in the real meaning of the term? Honestly, I believe the answer is NO simply because it does not include any physical activity. Having said that, the game of poker involves high levels of concentration, preparation, practice and skill development like any other sport. Yet the poker industry has gained a bad reputation in terms of health.
No, you don’t need to be ripped with abs to play poker. However, poor health will sooner or later start messing with your game. By focusing on improving our poker skills, we usually tend to ignore our physical wellbeing. Let’s face it, when you are trying to analyze your enemies at the table and figure out their bluffs, does it matter how great your cardio is or how much do you bench press? No it does not. But when you consider the fact that we have to sit on the tables for long hours when playing live free roll poker tournaments or even cash games, this becomes a serious cause of concern. Moreover, with poor diet, smoking and boozing our physical health takes a beating which eventually affects our poker winnings.
The most concerning aspect of poker in India are the extended hours we spend sitting at the green felt table. New studies reveal that sitting continuously can be as unhealthy and damaging as smoking. Due to the nature of the game, a lot of poker players tend to be overweight as we stack on the pounds along with chips by spending hours honing our skills. Only by sitting for hours you can increase your chances of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, kidney disease and even cancer. Our body is supposed to move and the more inactive we are the more our defense mechanisms are affected.
I am saying this for your own good…trust me. I hate working out myself but I do it anyways. Unless you are a serious athlete you are bound to find regular exercise difficult. But it was never meant to be easy in the first place. Physical exercise can improve your health immediately and make you feel good about yourself. Even a basic 20 minutes cardio workout can bring long-term health benefits. Following a healthy exercise schedule will keep you active and at your peak performance level during long poker hours.
More and more successful poker players are now taking proper care of their health by being fit. All of the players rated at the top 10 of the Global Poker Index (GPI) appear healthy and most of them follow a regular fitness routine and a healthy diet. One of the most successful live poker players, Jason Mercier is involved with a lot of physical sports like basketball whenever he is not grinding at the table. He believes that being fit has helped his mind and body “to play poker at a high level.” Daniel Negreanu is another popular poker pro who believes that “working out, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day for three times a week, has a massively positive impact on your life.” The ever famous Liv Boeree also makes sure to take care of her health and fitness to rake in those chips at the tables. However, the most impressive is perhaps Eugene Katchalov who was featured recently on the Men’s Health magazine cover for his amazing body transformation.
Katchalov believes “I find myself more concentrated, full of energy and just generally in a better mood ever since I’ve embarked on this new lifestyle. Even when running bad or even making mistakes during play at tournaments, I feel like the new me has the ability to not get as upset about the situation as I used to get in the past and quickly move on.”
Although the importance of fitness for mental activity is hard to quantify, it is even harder to ignore its impact when you play poker games. Regular exercise and a healthy diet will undoubtedly add to your poker performance and lead to more winnings at the table. Moreover, when you look good, feel good and live longer, working out seems like a no brainer for any smart poker player.
Do you exercise daily? Are you already experiencing the benefits of fitness in your game? Add to the discussion by sharing your views in the thread below.