Preparation and Diet

Before you even sit down at a poker table or virtual felt, you want to make sure you’re mentally and psychically prepared to be your best. Making sure you are in a good mental state, and you’ve prepared yourself mentally for playing your ”A” game is a must. You might think it would be something obvious to state, but if you’ve had a recent fight with your girlfriend/boyfriend, or some other major life issue, it’s probably not the best idea to sit down and play. Everyone handles things differently, and there might be the occasional person that benefits from “getting away” from the life drama, and can play ok under those conditions. However, they would tend to be the exception and not the rule.

Once you have yourself in a good mental state, make sure to have adequate supplies around you including water, snacks, de-stressor tools, money, and a meal/break plan if you’re at the casino. You don’t want to miss an important hand because you’re dying of thirst and could have easily solved it by having an adequate amount of water at your disposal.


As a poker player you’re going to be in a lot of conditions where food and dietary options are pretty poor. I’ve been in very few casinos that have good food options, but there are some around. The vast majority of food option will be starchy, saturated fats that are heavily processed. Those are not the kinds of food that are going to keep your brain at its peak and your body in the best condition, but a lot of them do taste good!

We all eat these foods from time to time, but finding a way to mix in healthier fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates will keep you functioning at your best. As poker players, we want foods that will translate into a lot of energy, focused and sustained energy, and are good memory boosters. When I know I’m in for a long session, especially at casinos for high stakes tournaments that I’ll be playing in all day for several days in a row, I pack a couple of small containers of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. It makes a noticeable difference, especially at the end of the day when others are clearly growing tired, and I’m still focused and alert. Here’s a short list of some great foods that taste good and are fairly easy to keep close by:

A balanced diet is your overall best bet to have sustained energy, great focus, a sharp memory and active mind. Realistically we’re not all eating a perfecting balanced diet all the time, so some of the above fruits, nuts and vegetables are easy ways to give an extra boost while you’re playing. There are tons more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and foods in general which are great for energy and memory. The table above lists some easy examples that travel well and are easy to grab on the go.

It may seem a bit trite, but making sure you keep yourself energized and focused while you’re playing will give you an extra edge against players who are eating heavier and more processed foods. Find a few snacks from the table above, or do some research on foods you like that can help you with long poker sessions.

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