That post title got your attention, didn't it? Hee hee!
Here's what's behind the question. I've mentioned before that I have a mild hand tremor that gets greatly magnified by even small amounts of adrenaline, so before I play poker I take a pill called propranolol to prevent it from becoming a major tell at the table. It's in a class of drugs commonly referred to as beta blockers. I assume that there are other poker players who do the same, though I've never known of any who admit it openly.
But the other day I overheard one player tell another that he had heard Daniel Negreanu say in an interview that he took beta blockers when he played poker, to block the effects of adrenaline. I did a Google search, however, using a bunch of different terms, and couldn't find anything that really matched the claim.
The closest I found was an interview from Bluff magazine in 2005, which includes this exchange:
You like to listen to your iPod at the table. What’s a typical Daniel
Negreanu track list?
It’s funny, and a lot of people don’t believe me, but I often listen to
the sounds of the ocean and birds chirping.
No industrial techno, then?
(Laughs) Late at night, if I need a boost, I’ll throw some Missy Elliot
in there. But usually its like ‘massage music’ - just to keep me relaxed and
Is that because you get impatient at the table?
Well, It keeps me from getting restless during those mundane, boring
moments that can happen in poker. I’m also taking these new poker vitamins,
which I’ll be endorsing soon – they help too.
Poker vitamins? What the…
It’s a new product. A guy from the auto racing industry approached me
and said: ‘Try this, it will really help you focus.’ It’s got adrenalin blockers
in it and it keeps you really relaxed. It keeps you on an even keel – calm, but
alert. I started taking it and I was like, ‘Wow!’ As a poker player, especially
in long tournaments, the key is to control your adrenalin.
My hunch is that this is, in fact, what the guy at my table had heard or read. The product in question was called "Clear Edge." You can read more about it in a
Anyway, whatever the merits of "Clear Edge," it is definitely not a beta blocker, and any claim that it will actually block the effects of adrenaline as beta blockers do is seriously overwrought.
All of which is a long way of bringing me to this question: Have any readers heard or seen anything from Negreanu (or any other name-brand pro, for that matter) in which it is made clear that he uses a pharmacological beta blocker for poker? I kind of doubt it at this point, but perhaps I missed something, and I'd like to know if it's so.