The Most Popular Drinks at the Poker Table

If you’ve ever been to a brick-and-mortar casino, you’ve probably noticed a few glasses of whiskey at the poker tables. Even James Bond enjoyed a martini while playing a round. Refreshments form part of a fun night out at the casino, helping to take the edge off and give players a boost in confidence.

Even so, the best poker players know the importance of a clear and focused mind. Whether you’re playing a casual game of online poker with friends or taking part in a more serious online poker tournament, your accompanying drink should never compromise your game. So, what are poker players drinking while playing Texas hold’em poker and other variations of the game? Let’s take a look.


You’re likely to have seen poker rooms in movies filled with cigar smoke and whiskey glasses, and there’s a reason this drink has become synonymous with the game. American whiskey and bourbon (a sweeter, more smooth type of whiskey,) in particular, were made to be savored. A small amount is served in a glass, sometimes “on the rocks”, which dilutes the drink and allows players to enjoy small sips, appreciating the purity of taste and aroma while playing poker. The advantages to this are twofold: firstly, because players are drinking slowly, they aren’t as likely to get intoxicated, which helps to maintain concentration. Secondly, because they aren’t drinking large amounts of liquids, their bathroom trips will be less frequent, again allowing for more focused gameplay.


A highball is a two-ingredient cocktail that contains a small amount of alcohol, usually two to three ounces, and a larger amount of a non-alcoholic mixer, usually four to six ounces. Typically served over ice and in a tall glass, highball drinks are popular among poker players as they are pleasantly refreshing and contain comparatively less alcohol, allowing players to retain their mental clarity.

There are several popular drinks in this category.

  • Screwdriver: This drink consists primarily of vodka and orange juice, though there are a number of variations around the world. The sweetness and high levels of vitamin C (which has been proven to assist memory, attention and reaction time) make it a popular drink at casino table games. Interestingly, the name goes back to the 1920s, when oil workers stationed in the Persian Gulf would secretly add vodka to their orange juice, using screwdrivers to stir it up!
  • Vodka and cranberry juice: Another sweet (and slightly tart) drink favored by poker enthusiasts, this combination originated in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a region famous for growing cranberries. Served with ice and a wedge of lime, vodka and cranberry juice is an especially refreshing drink, making it ideal for late-night games.
  • Gin and tonic: A true classic, gin and tonic is favored by those who like to keep it simple and sophisticated. G&Ts are served in either a highball or rocks glass in a ratio of 1:1 or 1:3. Typically garnished with a lime wedge or a slice of cucumber, this drink is low in calories and sugar.
  • Rum and Coke: This mixture is easy and affordable, making it ideal for those wanting to focus their bankroll on games rather than drinks. The sweet, bubbly flavor of Coke blends incredibly well with the smooth, spicy flavor of rum, giving players a refreshing option on a budget.


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