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Friday, February 17, 2006 

Is Poker bad for your Health?

When i was younger, like high school/college days, i was a total health buff. I remember first going to the gym when i was 13, having no idea what i was doing. I started going regularly when i was 16, going every single day for a year! I was just doing what the instructor told me to do, and i always felt good after going to the gym. It was like a drug for me. Luckily, i am also blessed with a great metabolism and a body type that easily develops muscle. Before Gold's Gym and all that hoopla, i already was a proud owner of a six-pack of abs hehe. Other than the gym, when i was around 17 i discovered JKD, and i got hooked immediately. I would train 4-5 times a week (they recommended 2x a week) and i adapted very very quickly to the rigorous training. Four months after starting i could already raise my leg up to head level and hold it there for almost 20 seconds! I learned how to kick and punch with lighting fast speeds, and i could make a 250lb punching bag swinging hard towards me stop in its tracks with a sidekick. I didnt smoke, i didnt drink, no drugs whatsoever. I was 150lbs of lean mass, in tip-top shape, in peak condition.

Those days are but a faded memory today.

Today, when i look in the mirror, i feel disgusted. layers of fat that never existed before just took over my whole body! I'm willing to bet that anybody who knows me doesnt know that i weigh almost 200lbs now, because thanks to my body type, i dont look like it. But i do, about 195lbs give or take a few burgers. That's 45 friggin pounds over my ideal weight! That's borderline obese my friends, and that's just NOT good. It started when i got a "normal" job about a couple of years back, and the "busy" (yeah right) schedules gave me an excuse not to work out in any way, shape, or form. But the real downward spiral to Lardass-ville began when i started to play poker. Yes, i blame the very game i love and play almost every single day for this unhealthy and literally asking-for-a-heart-attack lifestyle. For almost a year now, i have been playing poker almost every single day.

Look at the poker players' lifestyle. You sit down for hours and hours on end, usually late at night into the wee hours of the morning. Sitting on your ass all night wont exactly tone your body right? While playing, you get thirsty, so you drink. Do you see guys drinking healthy fruit juices while playing? It's either beer, soda, whatever. Then, you get hungry. I've never seen a player eat a nice fresh green salad or fruits and veggies while on the felt. It's either Mcdonalds, wendys, instant noodles, or nuts and chips. Then, there's the smoking. I probably inhale more passive smoke playing poker than the average regualr smoker, that i might as well smoke myself right? (but i don't think i ever will pick up that habit.) It's just BAD, BAD, BAD! It's the fitness trainers' worst nightmare!

I'm now weaker, more prone to getting sick, and overall fatigued most of the time. I used to be able to climb 9 floors of a building before i even break a sweat,and now i have trouble going up TWO. I really want to change all this, and i've been telling myself to get up and workout almost all the time, but it's a habit that you really have to force yourself to get accustomed to doing. And i've just gotten too damn lazy.

To all poker regulars out there, i suggest that you pick your kind of workout aand work on it at least 3x a week, about 30-45 mins a day. Try to eat right, and as much as possible, take multi- vitamins too. And it's always a good idea to cut back on the smoking, especially when non-smokers are also playing with you.

As for me, i've decided that, starting monday next week (haha! procrastination at it's finest.), i'm going to start my journey to a healthier, more active lifestyle. And to make things more interesting, i'm willing to make a bet with anyone who's willing to do so that i can lose 25 pounds before the end of March! IF i dont make it, i pay you, if i do manage to do it, i win the bet. Doyle Brunson actually won a $100,000 bet to lose 100lbs in a year! So taking inspiration from that, i'm willing to take a bet (although not too big hehe) with anyone who thinks i can't do it.

I'm going to do it anyway, with or without the bet, because it's simply the right thing to do. Poker players should be more health conscious, because in the end, winning all that money will be useless if you don't have the health to enjoy it with.


Played today at my friend's regualr game in makati. It was a nice soft game (although i lost, kath quadrupled up) although it was really hard to read the players (mostly new guys) because most of them were insanely rich thirty-somethings who are there to play willing to lose 4 or 5 maximum buy-ins. They would pay ANY amount to see the flop, and would chase any draw or ace too. The only way to play back at them was to massively overbet the pot, and it was hard to do that without the big stack. The guy on my left called 200 pre-flop raises (20-40 NLHE game) with 8-5 offsuit and Q-2 offsuit. (We also talked about his recent purchase of a Porsche 911 Carrera S, worth P8.2M, duh.) This other guy would raise UTG with K-3. It was crazy, but there was a lot of money moving around in that game. i just got suckered into going all-in after i raised pre-flop wiht pocket tens, and had a flop of 3 low cards rainbow, with no straight or what. One guy flat-called with pocket aces, so i was screwed.

But i always have fun in that game, win or lose. It's where i learned how to play Hold'em, so it's basically homecourt for me.


This is Ariel... let me know where you play so maybe I can drop by. That is if it is ok and I am not dead from work. Ü With the work-out thing. I agree, we need to get off our behinds... so stand up and play poker... Ha ha! No seriously, we need to stick to a regiment and sweat.

yeah sure! tuesdays and thursdays bro. will text you.

Bro...I'll take the bet. how much you wanna put on the wager?

i dunno bro, up to you? Does 5K sound ok? Dont wanna wager something over my budget!

i'm at 195 right now (the last time i checked) so by march 31, i should be at 170. If not, i lose. Anyone else wanna join in? hehe.

I feel so tired just reading your post... I can relate.

I'm 210lbs now, I want to lose 20 or so lbs. I was 170 during my freshman year at college, now I'm a 3rd year poker playing, lard ass. hehehe

I'm with you miguel, let's play more disc and hit the gym once in a while.

youre 210 but youre at least 5'10 right? im 5'7 dammit! i sould be at most 150. 170 is still big for my height, but its a start.

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  • The best poker I've ever played has always entailed peace. A relaxed comfort. Eyes open, ears open, radar up. Absorbing my opponent's every message. Taking them as they come. Not mixing what those messages are with what I want them to be. It's like an aerial view. A view from above the myriad luck-dependent reactions of those many people who never gain such a peace. And when you gain that view, that peace - when you'd rather have the truth, no matter how disappointing, over a false hope, no matter how desirable - then you're a player. The hand you're on slips into a stream of thousands of other hands, no one of which, because of your lofty view, seems unduly important, no false fearful emotions rise within you. When you gain the peace of lofty perspective, you're a player, and when you're a player, you're free.- from "King of a Small World" by Rick Benett
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