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Mixing Online Poker & Alcohol: A Cocktail for Calamity

Jack Beresford urges online poker players not to drink and deal

It was the old Las Vegas legend himself, Frank Sinatra, who famously said that “alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.” Old Blue Eyes passed away long before online poker arrived on the scene but the chances are that a few dry martinis into a post-club spot of rush poker, the leader of the Rat Pack would be reassessing those words, or at the very least the latter part.

Online poker and alcohol – be it wine, beer or spirits of any description – make a dangerous cocktail that could leave you more out of pocket than a night in the Dorchester Bar in London’s Park Lane. Go for a night on the town and return home with a hunger for online poker rather than a kebab and you could wake up not just with a hangover, but a major deficit in your internet poker account.

There are those who would have you believe that drink can be a valuable confidence boost when playing poker online, empowering you to take the kind of risks that help the big boys win the major prizes. But these are players who have been at the green felt for decades, and who most likely know their limits when it comes to booze and cards.

For most of us, the disinhibiting power of alcohol can backfire badly in a world where split-second decisions are made at the click of a mouse. The more likely scenario is a couple of calamitous hands in which we overreach, filled with an unwarranted confidence that the next cards we lay down will draw applause and most importantly chips from our table mates.

In such instances opponents, many of whom know how to spot rash players a mile off, are able to take full advantage. Some poker myth-sayers even claim there are even sharks out there specifically on the hunt for post-club/pub players.

Whatever the case, while the average game between friends will most likely feature more than a few drinks, when it comes to playing online against strangers, you have to ask yourself: how seriously am I taking this?

If the answer is not very seriously at all, then fine, pour the wine and enjoy the fun.

But for those looking to well and truly test themselves on arguably the most mentally demanding card game on the planet, being match-sharp and ready to analyse every poker play in real-time on the green felt, it may just be better to say no.

Save the drinks for afterwards, and make it Champagne.