In late 2003 and early 2004, when poker started getting really popular, I can remember some misunderstood members of the media (especially the sports media) bashing the game and its star players.
Their main criticism seemed to be the typical stereotype at the time of a bunch of unhealthy, fat guys sitting around a table smoking cigars and throwing their money away. Being a participant and fan of the game, I was somewhat appalled by their description of poker and thought that it was a very unjust view from people who had no idea what they were talking about.
Now that I think about it though, they may not be way out of line with regards to questioning the health of poker players as a whole. Just think of how many players can be seen at tournaments eating hotdogs, hamburgers, drinking pop, and generally digesting everything that any dietician would advise against. I mean when is the last time you saw someone drinking V8 while snacking on an apple?
Yes, the tournaments can be long and eating healthy isn’t always an option but what about other aspects of the game that are disastrous to one’s health. Some players are constantly traveling which again leads to some poor food choices and others drink alcohol quite often at the tables.
A lot of players choose the no exercise route as well which is probably a direct result of the long hours put in at the table whether it be live or online. The adrenaline rush that comes from big hands isn’t good for the body either as one’s heart rate can skyrocket and this is way worse for a person than just sitting on the couch watching TV.
Now granted, not every poker player travels or puts in long hours at the table but the majority of those who play significant hours each day are definitely at risk. And as long as there’s plenty of money to be made in poker, I don’t see too many players cashing in their chips for time spent improving their health anytime soon.