SI Vault
 
Looking Bluff
January 29, 2007
Must a poker pro be fit? Two of three we asked said yes
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
January 29, 2007

Looking Bluff

Must a poker pro be fit? Two of three we asked said yes

View CoverRead All Articles

ANNIE DUKE
CAREER EARNINGS $3,136,221

"People don't realize how much you have to take care of your core," Duke, 41, says, noting that a strong midsection helps improve posture and avoid back pain during hours of sitting. The 5'5", 130-pound Duke, the alltime top earner among women players, sculpts her abs with Pilates and mixes in hiking, jogging and spinning. She also adheres to a low-carb diet and gets plenty of sleep. "Poker is very profitable when you play with an edge," she says. "When you're tired, you don't have that."

TED FORREST
CAREER EARNINGS $3,101,667

The 14-year pro credits his conditioning for allowing him to outlast opponents in cash games. "You win your money in the last few hours when everyone's breaking down," he explains. "The first 12 hours I'm just trying to break even." The 42-year-old Forrest is a lifelong athlete who plays tennis, runs and lifts weights. Once he bet another poker pro he could bench 225 pounds 50 times in a day. On the third rep he tore a pectoral tendon and ended up in the emergency room.

CHRIS MONEYMAKER
CAREER EARNINGS $2,774,239

Not every poker stud adheres to the fitness philosophy. The 2003 World Series champion says, "The year I won, I was mostly sitting around." At 5'8" Moneymaker, 31, says has since dieted away more than 30 pounds to get down to 185 and does a little jogging. Beyond that his exercise consists of nothing more than an occasional mid-tournament stroll around the casino to clear his head. "I see people at the table doing stretches and toe-touches," he says. "That stuff's just not for me."

1