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Poker is often a delicious dish of dichotomy.

People partake in a pinch of poker because it’s a great way to reduce stress. So why do so many computer workstations reside alongside the great mouse graveyard?

The one-outer hits the river, the flush draw misses, the flush gets there but it’s not your flush.

My guess is that if there’s a T-shirt, you probably own it and have worn it a lot. Are there massive sweat stains under the armpits?

I’m referring to tilt and poker doesn’t exist without it. It’s one of the biggest bankroll busters in the game.

You need to stick a muzzle on it and regain control. Throw a leash around its neck and pull the choke a bit tighter.

I bet you’re wondering what methods some of the very best use to deal with stress or an inevitable tilt.

I reached out to a number of the games’ stars and discovered the following.


Exercise is the chart topper and spending time at the gym is poker player’s favourite pastime, especially for stress relief.

Exercising releases chemicals called endorphins, creating a natural high by satisfying the hunger of your neurotransmitters.

“I am rarely down,” said online poker star Charlie Combes, “but when I am, I like to let off some steam in the gym.”

And he definitely isn’t on his own.

The Flying Dutchman, Marcel Luske, Colombian star Mayu Roca and former Pocket Fives World number one Lukas Berglund all head to the gym when stress is having an adverse effect on their livelihood.

Tip #1: Buy a treadmill and put it next to your grinding station.

Tip #2: Take a few leisurely strolls if you don’t like exerting too much energy.


Eating, unsurprisingly, was the second most popular way to reduce stress. Poker player, author and entrepreneur Andrew ‘BalugaWhale’ Seidman swears by eating as a way to alleviate stress. Although I’m not sure I’d necessarily follow his advice.

“If I’m stressed I like to eat, read and eat some more,” said Seidman. “I like to eat pizza, chocolate cake and burrito’s…all the good stuff.”

I guess the Baluga Whale is too busy creating start-ups to munch on some celery and kale.

Alex Dreyfus, CEO of Global Poker Index (GPI), is also a naughty boy when it comes to eating habits.

“When I am stressed I like to eat Danette chocolate,” said Dreyfus.

Tip #3: Chewing can reduce stress by decreasing cortisol levels. Just make sure you are chewing sugar free gum, and not a slice of pizza.

Tip #4: If you can’t eat then have a cup of tea as some studies show drinking a cuppa can also reduce cortisol levels.

Watching TV

When poker players aren’t working out at the gym, it seems they like to sit in front of TV screens and stuff their face. While listening to music has been proven to trigger biochemical stress reducers, I’m not sure watching people get decapitated on Game of Thrones is going to have the desired effect.

However, it’s all about the type of TV one watches. Laughter is a brilliant stress reliever, something two-time European Poker Award nominee Remko Rinkema knows all about.

“There are so many things I think a person can do to make themselves feel better, but for me personally it’s very simple. I’m a very positive guy, so it won’t take long for me to find something that will cheer me up if I’m having a bad day. It could range from watching a comedy show on Netflix to looking at some pictures of my travels, researching future travel destinations or going to dinner with my fiancée.”

Tip #5 Watch a good comedy and have a bloody good laugh.


In a study I wish I took part in, researchers showed that a daily dose of sex led to cell growth in the hippocampus. That’s not a large animal that likes to wallow in mud, but a part of the brain that manages stress. And yes, it’s not just a myth; some people actually have sex on a daily basis.

Charlie Combes wholeheartedly agrees that sex is a great stress reliever, often partaking for that very reason, although I strongly doubt he shares this info with his other half.

I hope she doesn’t read poker blogs.

Kissing can also alleviate stress as having a snog releases cortisol. It’s just a shame that male poker players think foreplay is a type of No-Limit Hold’em ring game.

Thankfully, sleeping also reduces cortisol levels and, take it from me, men love an extended kip after our five minutes of hanky panky.

Online poker wizard Bryan Paris uses, without getting down and dirty physically, the thought of sex as a stress reliever.

“I live in Amsterdam, and when I’m stressed out my friends and I head down to the bars in the Red Light District, with a view of the windows, and we bet over/under on how long it takes for guys to emerge after going in.”

Poker players will bet on absolutely anything.

Tip #6: Take the opportunity to squeeze in some sex during the five-minute break on the hour. It may be tough for the ladies, but a breeze for the men.


What are your hints and tips for preventing poker tilt and reducing stress? Let us know in the comments box below.

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