Poker Players Healthier than Most Gamblers, Says Survey

October 19th, 2014 | by Greg Shaun
Poker players health survey

While poker players fared well in the survey, slots players were found to be less active than most gamblers. (Image: Joe Raedle/Getty)

Poker players are healthier than the average gambler, at least according to a recent survey of Internet gamblers that looked at a variety of health metrics for casino and poker players.

The survey, which was taken by, looked at the habits and activities of 2,131 British gamblers to see just how they measured up to each other and the general public.

For poker players, the results turned out to be surprisingly strong, if not without a few points of concern. Using the body mass index (BMI) as a guideline, poker players averaged right around the borderline for normal weight and overweight.

With an average BMI of 25, poker players were below the national average for the UK, and lower than nearly all other gamblers (pai gow players were the only exception, with an average BMI of around 23).

Smoke Less, Exercise More

Poker players were also far less likely to smoke than most gamblers. Just 19.5 percent of poker players reported smoking in the survey, which was less than the national average of 20 percent and the overall average for the gamblers who responded to the questions, which was 24 percent.

Poker players may be doing more to improve their health in general, as well. A full 58 percent of poker players said that they did at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week, higher than any other group of gamblers. Some of these results may have been due to the relatively low age of poker players, however: at an average age of 38, gamblers who primarily played poker were the youngest group in the survey.

There was one area, however, where poker players didn’t fare so well, at least depending on your point of view. Poker players were the second-most likely group to drink more alcohol than the recommended weekly limit (according to standards set by the UK government), with 23 percent reporting those high levels of alcohol consumption. Only slots players were slightly higher at 24 percent.

Youth, Demands of Game Could Explain Health

Overall, though, poker players fared quite well in the survey, proving healthier than most of their casino peers.

“It would seem that poker players engage in a more active lifestyle which is contributing to their lower average BMI,” wrote Sam Marsden while sharing the results of the survey. “The stereotypical poker player is often seen as a young…affluent, college-educated male…a concept which in part is supported by our survey.”

Marsden also said that he believes the requirements of different games might have something to do with the results of the survey.

“There’s an undeniable link connecting passive games like slots and video poker to unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles,” he wrote. “On the other hand, games that require concentration, strategy and some physical stamina like poker and blackjack seem to fare much better in the health stakes.”

Indeed, slots players appeared to be the unhealthiest group found in the poll. Slots players averaged a BMI of 31, which is classified as “obese,” while exercising less and drinking more than any other group of gamblers. However, the results are not considered scientific, as the same was self-selected from online gamblers, and the respondents self-reported their activities.


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