In the movies, drinking and gambling often come hand in hand. And indeed, when poker is perceived as a fun recreational activity, what can help you relax and enjoy the experience more? Well, many people will say that alcohol is the perfect answer in this scenario.
But alas, while sipping on a cocktail or enjoying a beer while playing online poker seems enjoyable enough, it can also lead to a world of trouble. Every person reacts differently to alcohol consumption, but the end result often remains the same: your ability to make rational decisions at warp speed diminishes dramatically.
What really happens to your body when you drink alcohol – even a little bit? And how exactly might it affect your poker experience? We are here to answer those pressing questions, so stay tuned and get the answers you're looking for!
The Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Your Thought Process
As we've mentioned before, everyone reacts differently to alcohol consumption. Some people get drunk after drinking one glass of wine, while others can still have their wits about them after drinking multiple glasses of hard liquor. Some people are happy drunks, while others get more aggressive.
But while people might act differently after drinking alcoholic beverages, scientists found that the biological reactions are pretty similar in most people.
One study, published in 2021, showed that moderate alcohol consumption (0.6 grams of alcohol per kilo of body weight) mainly influenced social decisions. According to the findings, drinking alcohol promotes people to make decisions based on emotions instead of following hard-set rules. However, the study didn't find a connection between alcohol consumption and risk-taking behavior, and impulsivity.
However, other studies did find a connection between alcohol and changes in the decision-making process, especially when it comes to taking risks that might lead to negative consequences.
Should You Drink Alcohol When Playing Poker?
Taking into account all the scientific findings we've mentioned, the answer is clear: you shouldn't drink much alcohol when playing poker online or live. Yes, one beer or a glass of wine are unlikely to do you harm. But if you react badly to the alcohol, your ability to make smart and calculated choices at the tables might get compromised. Relying on your emotions rather than logic isn't ideal when it comes to playing poker, and it should be avoided when possible.
In addition to that, some poker players might be inclined to take more risks and place bigger bets after drinking a glass of alcohol or two. And while making high-risk choices is an inseparable part of poker, it shouldn't be your main strategy. Statistics show that you should play cautiously and wait patiently for the right moment to take a risk. But if you make one ballsy decision after another without being careful, the situation is bound to blow up in your face and result in a loss.
Drinking alcohol can be rather fun at times. It can help you alleviate feelings of depression and get you into a positive frame of mind (at least for a while). And in general, drinking moderately can make you feel rather good.
But drinking even slightly more than you can handle can harm your ability to make smart choices, which means you shouldn't engage in risky activities – like playing poker – when you're not in control of your behavior.