What The Drink You Sip Says About Your Gambling Style

There are loads of different characters that slope through a casino. Just taking a drink at the bar and people watching can sometimes be as entertaining as the games themselves. Next time you’re propping it up, take a look at what people ask for. You might be surprised at just how much a humble drinks order can say about a person and, by extension, their gambling style! 

Of course, we don’t play directly against other players in most casino games. Therefore, their particular playing style is of little practical benefit to us. However, if you’re playing a game like poker, all the potential information you can glean can be valuable. 

While a read based on a player’s drink is going to be no substitute for an extensive hand history with them, if you have a marginal play on your mind, such information can help steer you one way or the other. For example, you might play differently if the player that just shoved the river against your average hand depending on whether they’re holding a Sex on the Beach or a sipping a glass of water! 


Australians love their beer just as much as they love their pokies but what can their sipping on a crisp pint tell you about their playing style? Well, possibly quite a lot! 

People drink beer most often when they’re relaxing. Clearly, they don’t mind if the alcoholic effects of a cold lager take hold but they’re not out to get wasted per se. Your beer drinking opponent is, therefore, likely a recreational player, rather than a professional. That doesn’t mean they’ll be an awful player. It just means that they’re not taking it quite as seriously as they might. 

It’s quite likely that they’re unwinding after a long day or week at work. They may be capable of making some strong plays but don’t expect any serious metagame from them. Generally, they’re probably thinking about their own hand more than yours. 


While not always true, water drinkers should be dealt with using caution. Of course, there are many reasons why someone might not want to drink alcohol. They might be religious, allergic, or just not into feeling tipsy. Alternatively, they might be keeping a clear head to ensure peak performance when gambling. 

When some people think of a trip to the casino, they think of it as a night out with some gambling. When other people attend a gambling venue, they’re there exclusively for the action. It’s a generalization but those abstaining from alcohol are more likely to fall into the latter category. 

Watch them intently for high level plays and adjust your own strategy accordingly. Unless you’re strong in a hand, allow someone else to tangle with your water-drinking opposition before you do so yourself. Seeing them showdown a couple of times may confirm or deny your drink read. 


Coffee is a bit like water. Since it has no alcohol content, you can use some of the same assumptions discussed above. However, coffee has some unique properties that, combined with other clues, could give you a deeper read. Chief among these is its caffeine content. 

Caffeine is a mild stimulant. As we all know, it’s frequently used to stave off feeling tired. It can also sober someone up. Seeing an opponent sipping a cup of coffee could mean multiple things. Firstly, it could be their favourite drink. Secondly, they might be a gifted player deep in a long session in a profitable seat. Rather than call it a night, they want to take advantage of the favourable action. Finally, they might have overindulged at the bar earlier, lost a load of money through reckless play, and now don’t want to return home a loser. Chasing losses in this fashion often invites additional poor play. 


If you look opposite and see a player sipping whiskey, it’s fair to say that they’re more likely to play in a wild fashion. You shouldn’t presume that their play will always be bad. However, it’s reasonable to think that they’ll be more aggressive than the average opponent. If they don’t mind risking their money through not having a clear head, they probably don’t mind risking it on some maverick play either. 

If someone is drinking a strong drink like whiskey, take note of how many they knock back too. Once number three or four goes down, their style will likely become more reckless. Aggression can work well in games like poker. However, your increasingly drunk opponent will probably misplace that aggression. When they do, you can take them to the cleaners with a strong hand. 


Colourful drinks in big, decadent glasses are synonymous with a good time. People don’t order cocktails if they’re depressed, chasing losses, or wanting to keep a clear head. They order them when they’re unwinding from work and, often, when they’re on a mission to get intoxicated. 

If one of your opponents is sipping a mojito, gambling is probably not the only reason they came out to the casino. The actual action is likely less important to them than your water or coffee drinking players. It’s likely that they’re just having a quick flutter on a few games. They might do an hour at the blackjack table, an hour of roulette, then an hour at the poker table. They probably don’t consider the game at a very high level and are more likely thinking about their own cards than yours. 

Drink Reads: Never Conclusive! 

While games like poker are all about information, reads picked up from a player’s appearance or habits should never be taken as verbatim. Use them to support an actual read based on their playing style rather than saying something like, “this player is drinking whiskey, they must be crazy.” It’s quite possible that your opposition has just won some massive tournament or done incredibly well at a larger cash game and is just unwinding in a much softer game for them. 

Similarly, just because someone has a glass of water, doesn’t mean that they’re going to be a shark. They might hate being drunk or their religion doesn’t allow it. Neither of these things mean that they’re definitely a strong player. 

Use reads based on players non-gambling mannerisms with caution and to support other information. Never rely on just one tell either. If you notice something supporting a presumption or read, take a mental note of it. However, be prepared to discard said information if you later observe something that suggests the complete opposite.