A poker player needs sustenance. Long hours at the table or grinding it out online can definitely give one a taste of the munchies. A sick River card just might make you want to regurgitate later, but a bit of salty sweetness and the right poker snack just might help you get through those late night hours.
My quick poll of poker buddies found a few things in common for most poker palettes – a bit of salt. The poker snacks that leave no mess are a plus. And while all of these might not be classified as "healthy snacks," many won’t add too much to your waistline while you’re betting, bluffing, and, of course, snacking.
1. PRETZEL STICKS
Easy to eat, no mess, and fits well with an ice cold drink. No dips required.
2. BEEF JERKY
At a home game, just pass the bag around and dig in! When playing online – the bag is all yours. Even better. A friend added this about home games: "Anything in a bowl or sack that remains on the table in the way of the action is just a pain in the butt."
3. CARROTS & CELERY
Perfect poker snack for the health conscious rounders out there. No salt, no chocolate, just some low-calorie goodness. Dip them in ranch to really get things turned up. Dig in!
4. PITA/BAGEL CHIPS
Potato or tortilla chips are obviously greasy, yummy perfection in a bag. So including them in this list might be a bit too obvious. So instead, grab a bag of pita or bagel chips for a bit of lower-calorie option. Rip open and dig in, just don’t get crumbs on the table or keyboard. Add guacamole as needed.
5. SUNFLOWER SEEDS
A nice healthy alternative now in numerous flavors like nacho cheese, barbecue, dill, and spicy. There’s even a reduced sodium line for those especially health-conscious rounders. Another alternative – pumpkin seeds. As David’s brand says, "Eat. Spit. Be Happy." And hopefully, rake some pots.
6. MIXED NUTS/PEANUTS
Peanuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil, nuts – a salty mix of flavor synonymous with card-playing and sipping a cold drink. Have a handful – or the whole can! Want to really get "nutty?" Check out Lord Nut Levington brand for flavors like Wingman, Lord Cheddarales, and Thai Dyed.
7. SIMPLE TACOS
Go a little south of the border for this one. Tortillas? Check. Some chicken or beans? Check. This dish is not just a snack, it’s a meal. Add some salsa and cheese for Tex-Mex perfection. Olé!
8. CHEX MIX
The best was always the kind mom made (aren’t most), but a sack of Chex, party or pub mix (whatever you call it), is a party in your mouth. This savory snack may not make you a better poker player, but it can have a bit of everything mentioned above! Need a recipe, check out Chex.com.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, who has written extensively about poker and gambling. His new book is Raising the Stakes: True Tales of Gambling, Wagering & Poker Faces, available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.