Poker & Wine

Tonight is "Poker Night" for me; that once-a-month excursion down to the local card room where I sit at a table for eight hours playing 4-8 and 5-10 Texas Hold’em.

I do fairly well. I’m a pretty patient guy at that table and my powers of observation have improved remarkably over the past year. What’s interesting is that alcohol and poker do seem to go together among amateur players. Yet wine is rarely ordered. Is wine just too wimpy for the poker player?

In the years I’ve played poker, I’ve only come across one player at my local card club and one person in Vegas who I saw order a glass of wine at the poker table. Meanwhile, beer and spirits seem to flow freely.

I don’t drink anymore when I play. Nor do I like to play against people who do drink. They are nearly impossible to push out of a hand with a raise once they’ve begun drinking a bit. But that’s just info. What I’m wondering is why poker playing drinkers seem to stay away from wine.

Can it possibly be all those old westerns they’ve seen that influence them? Can it be that watching actors throw back a glass of whiskey has convinced them that this is what you are supposed to do when you play poker? Beer too is popular. Yet poker is not necessarily a "common man’s" game. Still, the common man’s drink, beer, is widely popular at the table.

One of the most important part of playing poker is developing a table image; gaining respect from your table mates as someone to be taken seriously, someone who knows what they are doing, someone who is serious, someone libel to beat them, someone tough. Does wine distract from the creation of that image? Is wine a "pussy drink"?

I can say with a certain amount of confidence that among many men, wine is viewed as a "girls drink"; a drink that makes a man seem either weaker of more feminine. This is due to the fact that it is a "weaker" drink and because women are far more likely to drink it. Yet, there is also a view of wine as the "sophisticates" drink or the wealthy man’s drink. This is a view of wine that is clearly changing, though slowly. I still know people who, when in a group of other like-minded "guys" watching football or barbecuing would never pick up a glass of wine…particularly white wine.

Clearly I don’t suffer from this syndrome. In fact, I know I subconsciously give more respect to my card club chum who drinks wine. But perhaps that’s because he brings in his own bottle tips the waitress four $5 chips to ignore this legal faux pas, then proceeds to open his White Burgundy. He’s a good player too. He’s also patient and a bit cocky. However, he does drink a bottle of wine at the table.

Posted In: Culture and Wine


5 Responses

  1. Rick - December 12, 2005

    Well, that’s the thing. You have to BYO and then tip the waitress just to have a glass of wine. That does make it rather difficult.
    Plus, if the card room/casino is providing free drinks, wine has a much higher cost than the extremely cheap vodka or beer.

  2. WaterintoWino - December 12, 2005

    I’ve been known to have a glass of wine at a friends poker table. Doesn’t get me trashed like liquor or keep me running to the bathroom like beer. Just hard to intimidate with red teeth.

  3. Rob - Rakeback Poker - July 3, 2009

    I don’t usually drink when I play, but when I do, I’ve got no problem ordering a good merlot in front of the guys.

  4. Poker Portal Online - October 7, 2011

    My wish is for you to run this service all time free for the sake of improving inter cultural relations between countries. Keep up the good work! Nathan

  5. Luke Springstun - May 15, 2012

    I think too that Wine and Poker is a perfect combination.
    Actually, a card game called “Wine Poker” evolving around Wine tasting just saw the day.
    A really original and entertaining game, practically as addictive as Poker 😉
    If you want to check it out > visit the blog >

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