For those who settle in to play at the 57-day-long string of poker tournaments in Las Vegas known as the World Series of Poker, they likely make an agreement with themselves that they’re going to have to eat some bad things during days at the table that can run 10 hours with few breaks. Chicken fingers, French fries, personal pizzas, hot dogs, chips, candy and sugary soft-drinks are all on offer at WSOP, currently in the midst of its Main Event at Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino where 7,221 people, who each ponied up the $10,000 entry fee, are being winnowed away until one person takes home the first-place prize of $8,150,000.
But while it’s easy to eat like a19-year-old Spring Breaker, during the World Series, not everyone goes that route. In fact, a growing number of the game’s top players would sooner throw away an ace-high flush draw than indulge in artery clogging junk food. Smart, winning pros such as Andrew Robl, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Hellmuth , Brian Rast and Jeff Gross are among those who order healthy sustenance from a man with a poker-worthy nickname: All American Dave Swanson.
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“The idea is to help people reach their poker goals and their health goals,” says Swanson, whose business peaks during the World Series, though he ferries nutritionally balanced meals to poker rooms up and down the Strip throughout the year. He sees a correlation between the impact unhealthy food can have on someone’s body and the likelihood that they will bust out of a poker tournament.