Working on my addictions

Usually I write about my grind, goals, challenges or thoughts about poker, but today I'm going to open myself a bit more and talk about my 2 biggest addictions and what I'm doing about them!

Addiction #1

If you followed my challenge last year where I donated one year of my work to charity, you probably heard me talking about how much coffee I was consuming on a daily basis...

During the beginning of the year I was playing small sessions of multi-table sit-n-gos and I started drinking one expresso after each meal except dinner. That was fine and I could sleep fine!


But then I started playing scheduled tournaments and the sessions got bigger and bigger. I started feeling the need for more and more caffeine to stay focused and it got to the point where It started affecting my sleep, but if I didn't get coffee after missing some sleep I couldn't work at all...

It had become an addiction!

I tried to switch to just green tea, but the truth is that I just can't play 10-12 hours sessions without a strong stimulant. Is our body even supposed to be in a fight or flight mode for such a long period of time without any rest in between?

I can play some big sessions from time to time and enjoy big tournaments, but doing it on a regular basis doesn't feel right for me and I definitely have a lot of respect to all the professionals that manage to make a living like that.

This year I switched back to sit-n-gos where I just do a bunch of 1-2 hour sessions with some resting in between. Since there was no longer a need to stay focused during huge sessions, I chose to just stop drinking coffee!

I started by drinking a decaf whenever I was feeling the need for a small improvement of my focus, but very soon I wasn't feeling that need anymore.

I've been getting green and sometimes black tea and feeling much better. I also get a more accurate feeling of when my body needs to rest and I've been sleeping much better.

Addiction #2

People react to downswings and bad beats in different ways.

You have probably heard some stories about how some laptops, screens, keyboards, or other pieces of hardware got in the way of someone suffering from Severe Downswing Syndrome. That's a reasonable way of blowing some steam, but it can be expensive and counterproductive!

Other people prefer drinking, smoking, or recreational drugs, but I'm not particularly found of any of those...

Any guesses?

On those days where everything goes wrong, I just wanted to feel better as soon as possible and get away from the situation. I wanted some instant gratification and for that I had...chocolate!

The problem is that the more I ate, the less effective it became, and the fatter I got.

During my biggest downswings, I've gotten 5kg fatter in a matter of a month or two!

To be honest just quitting chocolate would be too hard for me, so my approach here was to rationalize the consumption. I had some running goals for 2014, so at the beginning of the year I decided that I could only eat chocolate after running, and I would eat the equivalent of 10% of the calories I burned while running.

It's not so much about the metrics I chose, 20% or 5% would probably do the same in terms of rationalizing, but I think that it was really important to do it.

Six months after starting I can tell you that I don't crave chocolate much nowadays and even if I don't run for a month or two I feel fine about it.

Downswings are still very stressful, but I try to stick to healthy stuff like massages, relaxing bathes, etc

That said, I still get the 10% I deserve after a tough run!


I think that it's important to from time to time stop and think about what is good and what is bad for our health. Coffee or chocolate are fine, but whenever I get too much it becomes unhealthy and it's important to search for alternatives and create strategies to get back to a balanced and healthy diet/life.

Thank you for reading!


André Coimbra is a member of Team Online