With the 2022 World Series of Poker (WSOP) just a few weeks away, thousands of poker players around the world will be cramming in some last-minute study before they head to Bally, Las Vegas in search of WSOP glory.
To best retain the information you have learned, you need to look after your body and your brain to ensure peak performance when playing. The best poker players in the world try their best to stay in shape and keep their minds sharp. You only need to look at elite players like Jason Koon and Alex Foxen to realise that.
And while there’s no problem with indulging yourself with some of the best food and drink Las Vegas has to offer, just remember to make it a one-off rather than a mainstay of your WSOP routine. PokerNews has come up with five top tips for you to stay healthy, so you are at your best when at the felt.
1. Stay Hydrated
An obvious tip, but probably the most important one, is to stay hydrated. I don’t need to tell you how hot it gets in Las Vegas during WSOP season, so you should always have a water bottle on you at all times.
If you are dehydrated, your body and your mind will not function as optimally, and with decision-making such an important part of poker it’d be foolish to not get at least two litres down your throat each day.
Reusable bottles are all the rage at the moment, which is great because it means less plastic is being wasted. That being said, it might be still worthwhile picking up a crate of water bottles so you can stash some in a backpack, your car or hotel room so you know you can access one easily if you lose your reusable bottle.
You should also be mindful of your caffeine intake. Drinks like coffee and tea both dehydrate you. If you’ve had a late night at the cash tables and then have an early start the following day, by all means, get a coffee, but remember, you’ll need to drink more water to compensate.
2. Look After Your Gut
This is not an easy one, especially if you are new to Las Vegas. The strip is littered with fast-food restaurants and the casino buffets are often decked out with foods that may not be the best for you. It’s hard to find a truly clean meal.
Be sure to venture to local food markets to get fresh and healthy produce, so you can prepare your own meals or guilt-free snacks.
Fruit and vegetables also have high amounts of water in them, so not only are you looking after your gut, you’ll be staying hydrated as well.
3. Make Sure to Keep Moving
If you are staying in one of the hotels on the strip, then you’ll have access to some of the best gyms and leisure facilities Vegas offers. You should make the most of this as it’s been proven time and time again that regular exercise helps improve your mental functions.
If you want to get outdoors, there are some great hiking trails in the area, such as Red Rock Canyon and Mt. Charleston. However, if you do decide to go for a hike, do it in the morning or late afternoon when it is coolest. As the old saying goes, “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.”
Read More: WSOP 2022: PokerNews Staff Predictions
4. Stay Safe in the Sun
If you do decide to go outside then make sure you’ve got some good sunblock with a high SPF factor. Sunburn and sunstroke are no jokes, and you’ll never be at your best at the poker table if your entire body is burning.
Don’t forget that being out in the desert sun without protection can speed up illnesses such as skin cancer. Before you to Vegas make sure you’ve got sunblock, sunglasses and a baseball cap in your suitcase.
5. Get to Bed
No one needs to be reminded of the importance of a good sleep routine, but we’re going to tell you regardless.
Getting in a good night (or days) sleep allows your body and mind to re-energise so that you feel spritely and alert when you wake up. Without enough sleep, your mind will not be functioning properly and if your mind isn’t at its peak, then expect to make more mistakes at the poker table.
Adults require between seven-nine hours of sleep and while it is difficult to feel tired amongst all the fun and flashing lights that the strip has to offer, it may be worth taking a night away from that juicy cash game and choosing to go to bed instead.
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Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum’s proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.