Eating Healthy Plays an Important Part in Your A Game
Healthy eating is essential to your health and well being and even adds some spice to your poker game. At home healthy eating can be easy but at a poker table it proves to be a challenging and sometimes daunting task. Eating the right types of foods at the right times while you play poker can not only immediately overcome fatigue but also improve your stamina, memory, concentration and ultimately improve your poker game.
The first step is searching out options for healthy meals when circumstances don’t allow you to bring a good meal with you. People often associate poker with over indulgence and excess and certainly the point seems validated by the mass migration to the food dens closest to the poker rooms. Investigating options offered in the venue ahead of time can help avoid that exodus. Find out if you can make reservations or order take-out meals in advance. A buffet does not suit everyone’s style but they offer a wider variety of meals that are more conducive to playing on the felt and can be faster than a regular restaurant.
Where to find healthy food is easier answered than what healthy food to eat. All the diet fads and crazes tell us what will help us lose weight. The health magazines tell us to eat balanced meals. None of those directly affect the immediate needs of a poker player spending long hours on the felt. The fast pace of the poker world leaves little time to dote over balanced meals that are easy to eat in little time and in very little space. Highly processed sugar and fat laden goodies filled with chemicals that can offer few minutes of satisfaction but over the course drain energy and dull alertness.
The body has the ability to store energy, but the brain does not, for that reason the brain requires a constant supply of nutrients to remain active and alert. Eating small amounts of the right types of food throughout long periods of play does not put stress on the body and allows the brain to remain active and alert for long periods of time. Because of its vulnerability, the brain is almost immediately affected by the types of foods we eat.
The types of sugars and starches, found in carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pastas, rice, fruits and vegetables such as potatoes and corn) increase levels of a powerful brain chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is a key regulator in the brain. It gives a feeling of safety and security. The chemical, however, when used in excess causes a “sugar rush” that quickly turns to drowsiness when blood levels drop.
As poker careers advance so do the hours spent at the felt. Battling the fatigue and monotony that sets in after long hours of play can become just as challenging as the game itself. The brain becomes unfocused and “fuzzy” with out suitable nourishment. Eating foods that contain Tyrosine, a product of protein digestion, can help boost dopamine. When dopamine is produced motivation, reaction and attentiveness are boosted.
The highest concentrations of tyrosine are found in some seaweeds and soy products but fish and turkey also contain higher amounts. Eating snack foods such as almonds, avocados, bananas, and some dairy products can produce an almost immediate spike in responsiveness and mental alertness.
Eating the wrong foods during long hours of play can cause some undesirable changes in behavior and moods such as feeling anxious, irritable and tense. Caffeine and sugar in small doses might work to get over the hump before a break in the action but shouldn’t be relied upon to replenish energy or mental alertness. Both cause spikes in awareness that cause jittery unfocused reactions. A burst of energy at the tables is not always a bad thing but the fuzzy unclear thinking caused by caffeine and sugar can be detrimental to the game and can ultimately be the difference in winning or losing.
Greasy fried foods are the fastest easiest fare at the poker room but the dull, too full feeling they leave causes players to want to take a nap instead of having the mental capacity to continue long stints at the table.
Poker players spend years studying the intricate strategies and schemes of the game. But Playing tactics are not the only strategic moves players need to make on the felt. Just as clear lines of attack to get to the prize are calculated so should an eating plan that aids in that goal.