Poker Players: Marijuana, Speed, Valium, Cocaine

Researchers at Florida’s Nova Southeastern University recently polled World Series of Poker players in Las Vegas and semi-pro, amateur and recreational players from the U.S. and around the world to assess their use of drugs to enhance performance.

Jerry Buss

(Viagra somehow omitted from study results)

The results of the study, which were presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of College of Psychiatric & Neurologic Pharmacists in San Antonio, Texas., found that 80 percent of the 198 poker-playing respondents used substances such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, Valium, other prescription medications, caffeine, energy drinks and guarana to try to enhance their chances.

Poker Players Using Drugs To Enhance Performance

86 percent of the players surveyed also drank alcohol regularly, with five drinks per sitting the average consumption.

Kevin Clauson, associate professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy, ran the study:

“The use these substances could allow poker players to stay awake longer, as well as focus and concentrate better, which would be a competitive advantage. Stamina is important for any poker player because tournament poker and cash games can go on for many hours.”

Over 70 percent of respondents took drugs and other substances to improve focus. Anxiety reduction, improved memory and the ability to remain awake for extended periods were goals of the others who admitted to foreign substance use.

Lead investigator Clauson said that study results also indicated that the more serious the player, the more potent the substances used.

All due respect to the researchers, but how many of the respondents were merely rationalizing their recreational drug use by classifying those substances as performance enhancers?