You’re Under Weight and Drink Too Much – Study Damns Mobile Poker Players’ Lifestyles

Poker Chips with Drink and Cigar

If you’re an online or mobile poker player, chances are you’re out of shape, underweight, and that you drink more alcohol than is advised by the government. That’s according to a new study carried out by, titled “Booze, Bets and BMI: An Investigation into the Physical Fitness and Contributory Lifestyle Factors in Different Casino Players”. I’ve had a look at the report, and I’m a little sceptical about some of the conclusions it draws, so thought I’d address some of them and discuss why I don’t think this kind of study is particularly useful

The report covered pretty much all kinds of online and mobile gambling, and to be fair to us poker players, we did pretty well against the likes of slots and bingo players, but there were some areas where the report raised concerns where they were perhaps unfounded. Just remember, this report claims that “There’s an undeniable link connecting passive games like slots and video poker to unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles”.

Alcohol Consumption

This one really made me chuckle when I did a big of digging of my own. The report shouts about this extremely hazardous fact that between 10 and 19% of the online poker players who took part in the study drank more than the recommended weekly intake of alcohol (28 units for men, 21 for women). This might sound like a pretty shocking fact, and the report kind of tries to suggest that it’s online and mobile poker which is making people drink so much.

Why do I find this funny? Well, according to Alcohol Concern (a UK based organisation whose main job it is to collect data on alcohol consumption), on average 34% of men and 28% of women drink more units per week than the recommended guidelines. This means, depending on your gender, playing mobile or online poker gives you between a 9 and 24% chance of drinking less! Yeah, I know statistics don’t exactly work like that, but I thought the lack of context for the stats on alcohol consumption was a silly oversight.

Play mobile poker – it makes you drink less!


How many poker players smokeHere the report did include a handy “UK Average” line on the graph to show how players’ smoking habits related to the average guy on the street. You know what? They did almost exactly. Across poker, and pretty much all the other game types chosen, the smoking habits of players were almost exactly the same as the UK average, begging the question: what is the report trying to show?

Despite claims that it speaks volumes about the game, all a correlation closed to the norm tells me is that (as everyone already knew) mobile and online poker players come from all walks of life, and have all kinds of habits. Mobile poker, like most hobbies, is no more or less likely to make you smoke, and it really shouldn’t take a study of 2,131 to tell you that.


Poker Gender SplitHere is actually something I found really interesting: the report figures that the gender split for mobile and online poker is in fact in the favour of female players. This fact flies right in the face of the age old belief that poker is a game played mainly by men.

Compared to the results for poker played in brick and mortar, this shows yet again that mobile and online poker give female players a level playing field to compete against their male counterparts. Horray for mobile poker – bastion of third wave feminism! It’s facts like this that make sense of things like PokerStars Women; in which poker sites make a great effort to target female players.

Is there a final conclusion?

My main question would be why this study took place. Was it to help players identify their shortcomings and health concerns, and overcome them, or was it to help poker sites better understand their target markets? I’m not convinced it’s really useful either way, but I do really admire for putting in the time and effort to carry out such a study. I’d be interested to see one with more participants, and looking at different elements of lifestyle to see if similarities really can be drawn between all players.

You may think my assessment unfair, but I’d still encourage you to have a read of the report and come to your own conclusion; many of the figures presented make for some interesting reading

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