Study: Poker players taking drugs to win

A Nova Southeastern University study found players aren't just consuming caffeine and energy drinks. Twenty-eight percent reported taking at least one prescription medication to improve poker performance; 34 percent reported using marijuana and 8 percent, cocaine.

Some substances help players stay focused and alert; others calm their nerves.

Sample comments:

"I am a tilt monkey, then I smoke weed. I then stop being a tilt monkey."

"Marijuana is by far the most safe and effective substance used to aid poker performance, though amphetamines such as adderal are among the top as well insofar as it is among the most widely used and most effective."

The researchers interviewed players in Las Vegas and surveyed players online from across the globe.

Kevin Clauson, an associate professor at NSU's College of Pharmacy, said players are gaining a competitive advantage using legal and illegal substances. But he said they likely will suffer short- and long-term effects.

The study did not examine the use of steroids or HGH.

"Most people we surveyed are using some kind of a boost in order to play one of the most popular games in the world," Clauson said.

The 57-tournament World Series began May 27 and runs through July 27 at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, with the main event starting July 5. Last year's series drew more than 60,000 players from 115 countries.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.