Whisky Articles

Best of Friends – A Guide to Whisky and Poker


Go to any pub poker game or even a casino and you’ll find scores of hedonistic, self-proclaimed poker aficionados with an obsession in perfecting their poker personas – yet most of them, and I’m basing this on my own experience, break one of the most elementary rules! They drink an eclectic mix of whisky, whiskey and even beer. You see poker has an unofficial best buddy – American Whiskey.

Hence I thought I’d do my part in spreading the word and helping those unaware of this pairing find a suitable liquid partner in the wild west of bourbon and poker. You can’t just drink any old whiskey, you see, unless you want to end up looking like a complete fool! A loose cannon player drinking Makers Mark, for example, would be laughable!

The first thing you will need to establish is what type of player you are – tight-aggressive, loose-aggressive, tight-passive or loose-passive. To clarify, a tight player will only play premium hands while a loose player will play a much wider variety of hands and enter a higher number of pots. A passive player is more inclined to check and call than bet, while an aggressive player will raise the pot and create more action.  So if you tend to only play good hands and fold if you don’t hit, you’re tight-passive, if you bet/raise with just about anything you’re loose-aggressive, and so on.

Now that you know what type of player you are, let’s see what you ought to be drinking at the table, shall we?


Tight passive players are careful at the table – you don’t like taking risks, and it shows in your choice of drink. You may well be up for trying a wider variety of drinks if they are incredibly cheap, but if the bar prices are too expensive (in your opinion) you’ll stick to what you know.  Further, you don’t want anything too bold in flavor or attention grabbing in nature. If you’re new to the game you’re probably on the old number 7 at the moment, but what you ought to be drinking is something along the lines of Makers Mark or Jim Beam. Sweet, well-known and decently priced.


You probably consider yourself the most intelligent player at the table. You won’t gamble with rubbish, but you know when you have a decent hand and you’re not afraid to play it. Similarly, you don’t mind splashing out a little on your palate during the game and you don’t care what people think of your drink. To reflect this you want a drink that’s not too out there, but that packs some flavor – Blanton’s Original or Baker’s 7 would suit you well.


First of all, you should probably change your game! You’re probably new to the game and again Jack Daniels is a likely candidate if you were to roll up to the bar – which probably isn’t a bad shout, actually. It goes well with your persona, so keep at it! You may want to start raising the pot a bit, though, and when you do you may want to consider Jack Daniels Single Barrel as a bit of a stepping stone.


You’re a complete nutter and you need a drink that reflects it. At the moment you’re probably achieving this by drinking anything the catches your fancy, ranging from Jeltsin Vodka straight from a “bag-in-box” container to strawberry daiquiris. Wild Turkey Rare Breed is probably a good bet for you, but don’t order singles. You’re the chatterbox of the tables and spurt out some right madness, so go straight for quads and make sure to have a fake gold bracelet at that weighs at least 300 grams around your arm and a manic look in your eye.

So there you have it, a rough guide to whiskey and poker. There is one exception, however, and that is if you’re a Scottish millionaire. It simply wouldn’t be suitable for you to drink any form of bourbon if you are – you’re on the likes of Dalmore Selene or Macallan ’55 – as you well should be!

I look forward to seeing you at the table, and good luck!

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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