Why Addressing Physical Needs Is Critical to Your Poker Game Success

Poker is a game of skill but also a game of physical needs. The ability to focus and think clearly can be affected by hunger, exhaustion, dehydration, and other physical issues. That’s why it’s so important for poker players to take care of their bodies if they want to succeed in their poker game in the long run. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how taking care of your body can help improve your overall poker play and provide tips on staying healthy while playing live poker or on poker sites.

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The Importance of Physical Health for Poker Players

As a poker player, it’s easy to get lost in the strategy and mind games of the game. However, it’s essential to remember the importance of physical health. Staying physically fit and healthy can greatly impact your poker performance.

Keeping your body in good shape can help improve your focus and concentration, which is crucial when playing poker. Additionally, by addressing your physical needs, you can remove the distractions you have control of. 

Although it may seem like a minute problem at one moment, physical concerns such as hunger, fatigue, or other physical functions that need to be addressed can quickly become a significant distraction that can cost you a game or worse. 

The Most Crucial Physical Needs That Can Impact Your Game Play and How to Address Them

As previously mentioned,  physical needs can greatly impact poker players. Here are some of the most crucial ones that you need to pay extra attention to: 


Many players underestimate the power and importance of food and food choices. Nutrition plays a critical role in the mindset of a player. Sitting at the poker table, your mind should be sharp, alert, and focused on the game ahead. 

A poor diet can cause sluggishness and distract from your poker strategy. You don’t want to be distracted by a rumbling stomach or a sugar crash mid-game. That’s why fueling your body with the right nutrients is important to play poker at your best. 

Eating nutritious foods like leafy greens, protein, and complex carbohydrates can aid in brain function, increase mental clarity, and help you make quick decisions at the table. 

Likewise, avoiding processed foods and sugar, such as candy, energy drinks, greasy, and other foods with high sodium content, can help you avoid a sugar crash or sluggishness during your game. 


Hydration is one thing you must pay attention to when it comes to maintaining your focus and energy throughout a long game. 

Staying hydrated isn’t just the key to staying healthy, but it can also make a difference in your performance at the poker table. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. These can negatively impact your decision-making abilities and overall poker strategy.

To ensure you’re well hydrated, drinking enough water is only a part of the solution. The other lies with being aware of the other beverages that you consume. Sodas, energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages can all cause dehydration and other negative health effects due to their caffeine, sugar, and sodium levels.

By being mindful of what you drink, you can keep your body hydrated and alert during the game. On days when you’re playing, make sure to have enough water with you at all times.

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While many players tend to pour all of their focus into developing their strategy and techniques, they often overlook one crucial physical need that can significantly impact their gameplay, and that is sufficient quality rest. 

It’s no secret that getting enough sleep is vital for the body’s overall health. However, many players need to realize that it can also significantly affect their mental clarity and focus during a game. 

Without proper rest, players may struggle to stay focused, make rash decisions, and lose their edge. This is especially true during poker tournaments, where players are faced with long hours of training in preparation for the gaming sessions and, at times, longer gaming sessions themselves.

When it comes to rest, try to get at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night leading up to a game. This will help ensure you are well-rested and alert throughout your session. 

Additionally, consider taking breaks in between games or during longer tournaments for a quick power nap or just some time away from the table. Even something as small as five minutes can give you an extra boost and help keep your focus sharp for the next round. 


Exercise is another essential physical need that poker players often overlook when preparing for a game. By moving your body, you stimulate your body to increase the creation of new brain cells through a process known as neurogenesis. This improves your overall cognitive function and helps you make better decisions. 

Additionally, the brain requires oxygen and nutrients to function correctly, and regular exercise increases blood flow, allowing for a better supply of both. This increased blood flow can improve focus, quicker decision-making, and better overall gameplay. 

Regular exercise can also help reduce stress levels, which is beneficial for poker players since too much stress can lead to poor decision-making and a lack of focus at the table. 

Try incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle three or four times weekly to reap the benefits of exercising. This could mean anything from going on a run or doing yoga to simply taking a walk in nature. Not only will this improve your mental clarity during games, but it will also benefit your overall health and well-being. 

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The Ultimate Tip: Being On Top of It All

Incorporating these tips into your lifestyle is the best way to ensure that you are in good physical shape when it comes time for a game. Regular exercise, adequate rest, and proper hydration are essential to proper physical health. 

Likewise, they are all critical for poker performance as well. By taking care of yourself physically, you can increase your chances of seeing success at the table and having an enjoyable gaming experience. 

Being a poker player requires discipline and dedication. The key to success is keeping up with your physical needs while focusing on the game. With enough practice and planning, you’ll be able to achieve peak performance at the table every time.