June 21, 2016

Running v. Poker—Heads Up for Rollz

I'm a simple guy. I go to work. I come home. I walk the dog. I watch some TV. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I only have two major hobbies—running and poker. Both are good ways to unwind. Both can be fun. Both can be challenging. Both can kick you in the nuts.

But, which one is the superior hobby? Let's break it down.


Poker:  Pizza.

Running:  Gu gel.

Winner:  Poker. And don't get me started about pizza-flavored gels.

Financial Leaks

Poker:  Tournament entry fees. Bad bluffs. Sports wagers.

Running:  Race entry fees. Travel expenses. Shoes.

Winner:  Running. At least you still have shoes.

Health Risks

Poker:  Back pain. High blood pressure. Depression. Assaults.

Running:  Knee injuries. Blisters. Chafing. Bear attacks.

Winner:  Running. #TeamGrizzly

Free Beverages

Poker:  Red Bull. Beer. Captain & Coke.

Running:  Gatorade. Chocolate milk. Pickle juice.

Winner:  Poker. Even when you add in the tip.


Poker:  Hoodie. Headphones. Sunglasses.

Running:  Neon-colored shorts. Headphones. Sunglasses.

Winner:  There are no winners here.

Embarrassing Moments

Poker:  Misreading a hand. Bluffing into the nuts.

Running:  Bloody nipplesRunner's trots.

Winner:  Poker. In a gawddamn landslide.

Bad Beat Stories

Poker:  "I had a huge stack on the bubble of this WSOP tourney. I had pocket Kings, flopped a set, and got it all in versus the chipleader. He had Aces and went runner-runner for a flush."

Running:  "My shoelace came untied, so I had to stop and retie it. I missed qualifying for Boston by 30 seconds."

Winner:  Running. Dante really should have devoted an entire level of Hell to poker players who tell bad beat stories.

Inspirational Movies

Poker:  Rounders. Maverick. The Cincinnati Kid.

Running:  Chariots of Fire. Prefontaine. Forrest Gump.

Winner:  Five great flicks, plus that Tom Hanks dud. Rounders captures the seedy, degenerate side of poker, while Forrest Gump is like a box of chocolate gel packs. Poker with the easy win.


Poker:  "Poker Face"—Lady Gaga. "Ace of Spades"—Motörhead. "The Gambler"—Kenny Rogers.

Running:  "Running Down a Dream"—Tom Petty. "Born to Run"—Bruce Springsteen. "Run Like Hell"—Pink Floyd.

Winner:  Usually a lineup of Petty, Floyd, and The Boss would cruise to victory. But Lemmy makes this a draw.

Amateur Aspiration

Poker:  Cash in a WSOP event.

Running:  Qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Winner:  Running. Your family and co-workers have actually heard of the Boston Marathon.

Worst Aspect

Poker:  Playing Limit Omaha-8.

Running:  Running up a mountain.

Winner:  Running. Both are agonizing, but with running you have a great view and a legitimate shot at dying as an exit strategy.


There you have it. The analysis is irrefutable. Running is slightly superior to poker.

And running is freaking stupid.

Mt. Evans Ascent—June 2015


  1. When was the last time anyone fell over playing poker and broke their arm?

  2. Based on your picture, I think they call that walking. I might give you credit for 'speed walking' since you're a friend.

    1. @Lucky: It's called "power hiking". And at 14 miles of racing and 14,000 feet of altitude, it's better than "power puking".

  3. As a former runner and a nearly-former poker player, I gotta say I wish I could still run. And run good.

    1. "Run good". I see what you did there ....

  4. I miss the IMOP. Running IS stupid.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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