Should You Play Poker While Hungry? –

Live poker tournaments can be a grind, and planning when and what to eat is something most experienced poker professional keep in mind.

However, before the next time your stomach growls, shouting for hunger in the middle of a long day of play, you may want to think again before flagging down the server for a menu or gorge yourself during a dinner break, since recent studies have uncovered that you may be better off waiting until you are finished playing to fill your belly.

Poker, along with society, has evolved quite a bit since its early years. It isn’t too long ago that every poker room was dingy, smoke-filled, and packed with overweight and out-of-shape gamblers.

The typical professional poker player of today is much more health conscious, and most of today’s poker rooms around the world are smoke-free. Eating well and staying hydrated have become two of the most important mental facets professional poker players keep in mind before heading to the felt for a long and strenuous day.

Most people would agree that giving into hunger and forgetting about the opposite sex while playing poker make perfect sense. Psychology in general believes that people in “hot states” such as hunger or sexual arousal tend to make poor decisions when compared to people in “cool states” making better decisions.

What you might be surprised to learn is that recent studies indicate that this common belief may not be true. According to three studies recently published on on the open-access science journal PLOS ONE, “hot states” may enhance rather than impair the decision-making process in complex decisions, leading to better decisions in the long-run when you are hungry or sexually aroused.

The first two studies utilized the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) by testing the effect of “hot states” on the decision-making process.

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