Poker Players Use Drugs To Enhance Performance

By KingMe · Jun 2, 2010 · ·
  1. KingMe
    [h1]Poker Players Use Drugs To Enhance Performance[/h1]

    A Nova Southeastern University study recently presented at a national conference found that 80 percent of poker players around the world reported using drugs and other substances to enhance their performance in poker.

    Poker players are using drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, Valium, and other prescription medications, as well as substances including caffeine, energy drinks and guarana to get an edge over their opponents.

    "The use these substances could allow poker players to stay awake longer, as well as focus and concentrate better, which would be a competitive advantage," said Kevin Clauson, Pharm.D., an associate professor at NSU's College of Pharmacy, who was the principle investigator in the study. "Stamina is important for any poker player because tournament poker and cash games can go on for many hours."

    Using these substances can be harmful for poker players, Clauson said. Depending on the type of substance, he pointed out; there will likely be short-term and long-term side effects.

    The NSU researchers initially interviewed players in Las Vegas during the World Series of Poker and then surveyed players online from across the globe, including North America, Europe, and Asia, with the majority of respondents coming from the US and Canada.

    Respondents included professional poker players, semi-pro, amateur, and recreational players. Regardless of one's status, an overwhelming majority of poker involves some amount of money, Clauson said. The players surveyed played poker --- largely no-limit Texas hold' em ---- both in person and on the Internet. Most were males in their mid-20s.

    About 73 percent of the respondents said they used drugs and other substances to focus and concentrate better. The rest used these products to calm their nerves, stay awake, and improve memory.

    The results suggest that the use of substances to improve poker performance is widespread, especially at higher stakes, Clauson said. "Most people we surveyed are using some kind of a boost in order to play one of the most popular games in the world," he said.

    Article Date: 02 Jun 2010
    Ken Ma
    Nova Southeastern University

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  1. mokoceno
    Nice I like the thread. swim plays holdem em online for a little bit of money sometimes and has noticed when he is on opiates his play is almost always noticeably increased. The only obvious 'flaw' in the survey that I noticed is that they obviously include caffine as a drug, which although it is, made the results less interesting for swim because its clear that most of the percent of people who admitted to using drugs to enhance performance were only drinking energy drinks.
  2. GoldenBrown
    Swim also plays alot of online poker for cash and for fun. Swim finds that most substances do help his play and when the bad beats come (which is almost every hand online) opiates / pot really make it so he can just shake it off and move on. Swim has played poker on alot of different substances, the only one that ruins his play is alcohol go figure.
  3. mokoceno
    Yea alcohol is a double edged sword for swim, when playing in real life with the guys after a good deal of beer has been consumed swim often succesfully uses it to seem more drunk than he is and makes seemingly erratic bets that throw people off of his strategy, but clearly that same technique can easily backfire if the cards don't go you're way and you're $ can be quickly sciphoned away, which is what actually happened last night. That and the fact that he was really pretty smashed and couldn't resist showing his cards after bluffing with nothing for a big pot more than once just because how funny it was to see his friends face, so even though he was by far chip leader at 1 hour in, the aggresive way he had decided to play that night was seen through and he was to dumb to change it before it was too late. plus luck was against him at the end as it sometimes goes.
  4. Charenton
    SWIM wonders what this data means really. Online surveys are like a chocolate teapot, fundamentally flawed and unreliable IMHO.
  5. Pondlife
    Marijuana and Valium? really?

    I'm no expert at either, but SWIM sometimes has problems working his iPod when on cannibinoids, and walking straight when on Z-drugs (which are similar in effect to benzos). I just can't see how either of these drugs would have a beneficial effect on poker playing.
  6. Sven99
    A few things really jump out at me about this article.

    First off, it doesn't differentiate between caffeine and illegal drugs. It could mean that 75% of poker players drink coffee or energy drinks and 5% use illegal drugs. it could be the other way round. Without knowing the breakdown the information isn't at all informative.

    It also seems that the questionnaire only included two possible answers for why the players used drugs:
    If 100% said one or the other then it seems likely no other options were given.

    We also have no indicators of how many people were involved in the study, what the breakdown and differences were between those surveyed online compared to those in real life, and whether the group being studied (poker players) uses drugs more or less frequently than other groups.

    So in short, the study may be quite interesting and informative, but the article gives us far too little information for us to be able to make our minds up.
  7. enilecdrabgah
    first, kallisti sven! (try reading my screenname backwards ;)

    second, i'm a professional poker player and this article is pretty lol.

    the only real drugs that are used as "performance enhancing" in poker are amphetamines. and this is primarily by online poker players, and yes, tons of online players take adderall and stuff like that to play long sessions and stay focused.

    then there's pot. i'd say something like 75%+ of poker players smoke tree, and it's not so much to enhance their performance, but to kill the boredom really.

    sure a marginal number of players are doing benzos or pain killers, etc. but these people generally just have drug problems and would be doing these drugs whether they played poker or not.

  8. xenos
    Man, drugs and online poker, sounds almost like a rockstar's life! I would believe that many online poker players take drugs while playing. For many, this is an alternative lifestyle that allows them to survive without having a "real" job. If that is the only means of income, its also possible that many receive some form of welfare or social security. So, if someone doesn't have to even dress or brush their teeth to get paid, I'm sure its much easier to have drugs be a large part of their life without having to hide it from employers. (Not saying addicts don't clean themselves, I'm saying the source of income does not require the usual things that come with a more steady career)
  9. RaoulDuke32
    hmm, when i think of people playing cards i think they must be all completely sober. look at vegas, that is a sober living town if ive ever seen one.
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