Surviving the Marathon Poker Session

They are the stuff of poker legend and even make the Guiness Book of World Records. Nevertheless, there are many good reasons you might want to steer clear of ultra-lengthy poker sessions lasting beyond several hours. For starters, exhaustion can feed enough frustration to cause you to burn through thousands of dollars in countless poker chip sets as you chase past losses.

Still, for the skilled player, there may be times when it makes sense to play for a very long time, such as when you've found a group of less skilled players with plenty of money to spare. When that happens, below are are few common sense steps you can take to ensure you get out of your session with both your sanity and finances intact.

Caffeine is Your Friend, but Also Your Foe

Whether you take it the form of coffee, Red Bull, or endless cans of Moutain Dew, caffeine is an inevitable part of any truly lengthy poker session for most players. Still, especially if you're knocking back quintuple espressos with a chocolate-coated coffee bean chaser, there is an inevitable crash effect that you need to be on the lookout for. Also, the very strong concentrations of caffeine in coffee make it a powerful diuretic with the potential for causing dehydration. Tea, which has a much gentler liquid-to-caffeine ratio and plenty of brain-friendly antioxidants, may be the better choice for staying alert and happy over the long haul.

Alcohol is Just Your Foe

If booze and good play don't mix normally, that goes triple for anytime you're tired or the least bit sleep deprived. The effects of alcohol are greatly amplified by tiredness and your already strained judgment could be seriously endangered by even a single strong cocktail or heavy duty beer or ale. Also, like caffeine, alcohol is a diuretic and can lead to dehydration – that won't help you accumulate more poker chip sets one little bit!

Remember to Eat (and Make it Light and Reasonably Healthy)

Obviously a long poker session is not the time for an enormous spaghetti dinner or turkey with all the trimmings. Aside from the fact that you might mess up your poker chips sets with gravy or marinara sauce, large amounts of carbohydrates and/or protein and fat can weigh you down and make you sleepy. However, you do want to grab a salad and a reasonably healthy and light sandwich and maybe a banana or an apple to give you the energy you need to keep going. The human brain needs a bit of glucose and some protein to operate at its best. As for burgers and fries – it's bad enough you're sitting for hours on end without exercise; at least try to eat a bit healthily.

Know Your Limits

At a certain point, we all hit a wall. You play past that wall at your very great peril. If you find your head is constantly crashing into the poker chip sets on the table, it's most definitely time to call it a night and grab a cab for home. (Don't drive exhausted, either!)

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