Cocktails and Cards

Contributed by

Among professional poker players, drinking at the card table is usually limited to water, soft drinks and, of course, coffee. With the exception of Captain Morgan-loving Gavin Smith, who insists that everybody’s Texas hold’em game improves with a glass or two of spiced rum, most savvy pros enjoy their cocktails after they count their winnings. We asked three top poker champs about their favorite post-game tipples.

Howard Lederer:

Two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Howard Lederer is often called The Professor, since he approaches the game with an intellectual bent. So it’s hardly surprising that he can be analytical about his drink of choice—Belvedere Vodka on the rocks. “I don’t go for Screwdrivers and Cosmopolitans,” he says. “They feel a little bit like cheating. If I am going to drink liquor, I want to be able to taste it.”

Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari:

Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari has earned $3.5 million in tournament winnings. But when he’s not playing he can usually be found sipping Patron Silver Tequila mixed with pineapple juice at a popular Vegas nightspot, like XS at the Wynn or Tao at the Venetian. Esfandiari is such a fan of the spirit he has a shelf’s worth of Patron bottles on display in his home office.

Phil “Poker Brat” Hellmuth:

Famed for his temper at the hold’em table, Phil “Poker Brat” Hellmuth likes to keep it cool when he’s sipping his signature cocktail: Jack Daniel’s and Diet 7Up. “In the old days, I used to like Jack and Coke,” says Hellmuth. “Then I was on a Dom Perignon kick for 10 years. I’ve since gravitated back to Jack. Mix it with Diet 7Up and you get a very refreshing drink.” Who are we to argue?

Michael Kaplan is the co-author of Aces and Kings: Inside Stories and Million-Dollar Strategies from Poker’s Greatest Players.

Recipes: Cosmopolitan
Series & Type: People

From our Friends

  1 Comment.


  • Terry B. posted 8 years ago

    Howard Lederer,yes,the guy that's on "Poker After Dark". I always wondered what was in his glass!!!Gotta say,he has good taste.Wonder if that's what he's drinking at the Golden Nugget,in Vegas? He's the "man" at the poker tables.Wish I did'nt have to go to Vegas to see him.Howard,if you read this,you need to come to Arizona(Tucson). We have some boy's here that could give you a tuff time!Any kind of poker you want. Just bring the cocktail's.Well,time to sign off from Arizona(Tucson)You'al have a good time,yah hear.

~ all comments loaded ~
Next Article
Are you smarter than
your bartender?

Think you know the booze?
Let’s start with some basics.