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Mastering the Game: The Role of Nutrition and Fitness in Poker Success Poker
Dwayne Fernandes
Posted on 13 Jan, 2024
By Dwayne Fernandes
On 13 Jan, 2024
By Dwayne Fernandes
On 13 Jan, 2024

Mastering the Game: The Role of Nutrition and Fitness in Poker Success

Poker, a game of wit and strategy, requires more than just a sharp mind; it demands physical and mental stamina to navigate the highs and lows of a session. In recent years, the correlation between poker success and personal well-being has gained recognition.

Even in India, some of the leading poker players have become very strict with their diets and fitness regimes. This article explores the vital role of nutrition and fitness in the world of poker, shedding light on how players can optimize their health to enhance their performance at the tables, especially if you’re considering playing poker for a living. Keep reading for more.

The Mental and Physical Demands of Poker

Poker may not involve the physical exertion seen in traditional sports, but the mental demands are equally taxing. Hours spent at the table demand focus, concentration, and the ability to make sound decisions under pressure are of utmost importance in this game. The sedentary nature of poker can lead to fatigue and a decline in cognitive function, emphasising the need for a holistic approach to well-being.

Nutrition: Fuelling the Mind and Body

  • Mind-Boosting Foods: The brain is the ultimate tool in poker and nourishing it with the right foods is crucial. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and seeds support cognitive function, helping players stay sharp during lengthy sessions. Antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and dark chocolate provide an extra boost, protecting the brain from oxidative stress.
  • Balanced Diets: Maintaining a balanced diet is paramount for sustained energy levels. Poker tournaments, often lasting for hours, require endurance. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains and legumes release energy gradually, preventing the sudden crashes associated with sugary snacks. Incorporating lean proteins and healthy fats ensures a well-rounded diet that supports overall health.
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated is often overlooked but is critical for optimal cognitive function. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and a decline in concentration. Poker players should prioritize water intake, minimizing the consumption of sugary and caffeinated beverages that can contribute to dehydration.

Fitness for Poker Players

  • Combatting Sedentary Lifestyles: The sedentary nature of poker can take a toll on physical health. Incorporating regular exercise into a player’s routine is essential for maintaining overall well-being. Simple activities like stretching, walking, or yoga can counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting and contribute to improved focus during games.
  • Cardiovascular Fitness: Engaging in cardiovascular exercises, such as running, cycling, or swimming, enhances blood flow to the brain. Improved circulation ensures that the brain receives an optimal supply of oxygen and nutrients, promoting cognitive function. Cardiovascular fitness also supports stamina, allowing players to endure lengthy poker sessions without succumbing to mental fatigue.
  • Strength Training: Building strength is not only beneficial for physical health but also aids in maintaining mental resilience. Strength training exercises, such as weightlifting, contribute to better posture and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal issues that can arise from extended periods of sitting.

Creating a Holistic Approach

Achieving success in poker requires a holistic approach that combines mental acuity, physical endurance, and emotional resilience. Nutrition and fitness play integral roles in maintaining this balance. By prioritising a well-rounded diet, staying hydrated, and incorporating regular exercise, poker players can enhance their overall well-being, ensuring they are mentally and physically prepared for the challenges the game presents.

ALSO READ: Mental Health And Poker: It All Lies In The Skill

Poker players with a strict fitness routine

  1. Daniel Negreanu: The Canadian poker pro has six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and is one of the most celebrated tournament poker players in the world. He turned vegetarian in 2000 and vegan in 2006, claiming it makes him a better poker player. The GGPoker ambassador targets at least 100,000 steps per week and prioritises fitness, even if that means he misses out on some of the social aspects of poker.
  2. Phil Hellmuth: Playing tournament poker since the 1980s, Hellmuth holds the record for 17 WSOP bracelets and he’s enjoyed a great fitness journey thanks to the ketogenic diet. He also avoids sugar in meals as part of his wellness journey.
  3. Dan Cates: The ‘Jungleman’ had a prop bet with Bertrand Grospellier worth $150,000 to see if they can bring down their body fat to 12-14% within 6 months, in November 2022. The bet turned out to be a wash as both of them reached their respective goals, and the results were immediately visible, as Cates won the $50,000 Poker Players Championship at WSOP 2022 in Las Vegas.


In the competitive world of poker, where every advantage counts, players cannot afford to neglect their physical and mental health. Embracing a lifestyle that includes proper nutrition and fitness not only enhances performance at the tables but also contributes to a more fulfilling and enduring career in the game. Many Indian poker pros are also embracing the fitness and nutrition route, as a healthy mind and body has been helping them attain better results in poker too.

For more on poker players’ fitness and nutrition regime, keep reading GutshotMagazine.com. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and  Telegram

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