View Full Version : Jeez You're Big...You a Poker Player?

01-17-2006, 09:26 PM
In the recent past I had requested members of a variety of forums to participate in a poll regarding their height, age and weight.
I collected the data, and completed an article which was published in the January issue of Full Tilt Magazine. I post it here for your interest.

Thanks very much to those who contributed.

“Jeez, You’re Big…You A Poker Player?”

It “hit me” when I played at the 2005 World Series of Poker. Walking to the tables I found myself behind T.J. Cloutier. “Jeez, this guy is big!”…I thought. A well fitted Tommy Bahama shirt covered his broad shoulders. He reminded me of an ex-linebacker. I’m no slouch… 6’1”, pushing 200 pounds, and I‘m barely seeing over his shoulders. “He didn’t seem that big on TV”.

Later, in the Full Tilt Poker Courtesy Room I talked with Phil Ivey. I found myself looking up at him. And he appeared to be in great shape. Not the guy I want to wrestle.
Hey, here comes Howard Lederer. Holy Shit, he’s bigger than Ivey!

I met Marcel Luske and I had to look up at him as well. I never thought of him, or the others, as big guys.

Finally, I’m at a table with a pro who many people consider a wimp, whiner, and all around wuss…Phil Hellmuth. I was really surprised when we came nose to nose. He’s a big boy, no matter what his persona is.

I looked around the expansive convention hall set up at the RIO for the WSOP, and began to notice the heights and sizes of the players. Was it my imagination, or were most of the people in the poker room larger than the general population? Are those who play poker any larger in size than the average person?

Upon my return to Florida from the WSOP I discussed my new observations with professional poker player “Easy Jack“ Arias. He expressed strong conviction that the guys who play poker are larger in size, on average, than those in the general population. Jack gave me variety of reasons for this, but that is a topic for a different article. During the next week we played at three different casinos and poker rooms and surveyed the clientele at the tables. Our unofficial count favored that his theory was true. However, I would have to poll players to get any kind of accurate count. I thought about asking the poker rooms if I could poll the entries of various poker tournaments. As entrants signed up, I could ask their height and weight, and maybe their age. To make the data a little more valid, different geographic locations should be surveyed (Vegas, A.C., Biloxi). I visit each place twice a year, and have a good relationship with various card room managers in each city.

It sounded like a lot of work and effort, for the sake of curiosity. “Maybe I’ll test the waters with something a little less time and work intensive“, I told myself. I play on-line poker daily and have membership in over thirty on-line poker forums. A Poker Forum is an on-line site where players discuss various poker subjects (strategies, WSOP & WPT events, bad beats, etc.). The memberships are mostly on-line players, instead of (but not excluding) the guys who play the casinos and poker rooms that “Easy Jack” and I are talking about. The on-line crowd might not represent the brick and mortar population, but it seemed interesting to get an idea of the size of on-line players as well….and easier.

With this in mind, I made posts on 30 different poker forums, explaining who I am, and asking volunteers to post their height, weight, age, and gender during the month of September, ‘05. I stated I would retrieve this data after the cutoff date (9/30/05), analyze it, and complete a report/article/piece for publication in a poker periodicals, the forum, or whoever might be interested in such trivia. That’s all it is….trivia. No cancer cure here, no peace plan for the Middle East.

Funny things happened in collecting this data. 10 of the 30 forums had zero replies to my post for the statistics. For instance, Poker Monster ( 240 members); Online Champs Poker (388 members); Perfect Poker Play (427 members); Poker Words (56 members); Toronto Poker (143 members) were a few of the forums where my post did not elicit a single response.
One forum, Total Bluff, elicited what I call 6 “idiot” responses. Idiot responses consist of inane remarks or nonsense.
One poster warned that, “the problem is that this methodology is so fundamentally flawed that it’s difficult to take seriously”. [Thank you, but I’m not going for the Nobel Prize here.] Another post advised, “If you ever wanted to take a crack at serious writing you would know that to do research you have to actually do research instead of asking for voluntary submissions”. [Serious writing?!!, no, I’m into non-serious writing, seriously!]

Some of the more memorable posts asked if I had a theory that “only short fat guys played on-line?”; told me this was a “Sorry way to pick up chicks”, and asked me if I was “kidding?”. One fellow explained that he plays Center for his HS football team explaining his heavy weight. Another noted that he is “Asian” so I would understand why he weighed so little.
I was happily surprised that I only got one post which listed an obviously bogus height and weight (eg. 7’3”, 135 lbs.).

Unexpectedly, many of the weights and heights posted were presented in the form of kilograms, stone, meters, and centimeters. I’ve got to stop thinking that the U.S. is the center of the universe. All measurements were easily converted to pounds and inches though.

Other forums were more receptive to the poll. Scott’s Poker Table (1902 members) logged 25 replies. Poker Strategy (1491 members) and Internet Texas Hold ’em (4627 registered users) each had 16 responders.

Of the 149 responses, five were from females. A statistical analysis of such a small sample size is meaningless. For curiosity the statistics for the five female responders were:
5’ 9” at 125 lbs, aged 28
5’ 10” at 160 lbs, aged 33
5’ 8” at 145 lbs, aged 29
5’ 4” 107 lbs., aged 23, and
5’ 8”, 212 lbs, aged 31.

I have the data on 144 male on-line poker players regarding their weight, height and ages.

Before you read further, take a moment. What’s your guess as to the average height, weight, and age of the 144 male responders over the twenty poker forums?

Here’s some other interesting (but more useless) data I found on-line:
-The average NFL player is 6’1” and logs in at 245 pounds.
-Average 2001 NY Yankee was 6’2 and 204 lbs.
-Height of average Japanese male is 5’5”
-The average Viet-names male is between 5’ and 5’4”
-The average height of a solder in Napoleon’s army was 5 feet.
-Teddy Roosevelt was 5’8”, sometimes heavy, sometimes slim.
-The average height for males in US increased from 5’8” in 1960 to 5’9 ½” in 2002 (CDC).
- “ weight “ “ 166.3 pounds in 1960 to 191 pounds in 2002 (CDC)

**The best comparison I found**
-Average American male is 5’10”, 168-184 lbs. (I personally think the above 191 pound reference is more accurate).


The responses from the 124 male players who noted their ages were divided into 6 categories.

Under 20- 9%
In Twenties- 48%
Thirties- 30%
Forties- 8%
Fifties- 5%
Sixty + 1%

The age range of players was from youngest at 15 to the oldest at 60.
Using “the average” or “mean” is not the correct measurement in determining the age of the typical online player. Rather, if the “mode” is used statistically, one sees that the highest frequency group of players are in their twenties. In fact, they make up almost half of the responders (48%). If you combine the “Twenties” and “Thirties” you have 78% of the population. No surprises here for me. Oh yes, here’s one….at 59, I found only one guy in the survey older than me, and he’s only 60!!! Where are all the geezers who are older than me?!! Well, they’re probably in the casinos and poker rooms.

The 144 responses were categorized three ways:

Shorter than 5’10” - 22%
5’10”& 5’11” - 24%
6’ & over - 54%

The range in height of players was from 5’1” to 6’8”. The average of the heights is 5’11 ½ inches.
The data reflects that 78% of the poker players responding are at least 5’10” (the height of the “average” American), and that over half (54%) of the responders are 6 feet tall at minimum. Did that sink in? Most of the players reported being six feet or taller.
OK, so far, it appears that the typical on-line player is in his twenties and probably 6’ or taller. Now, let’s find out if he is a “fat-ass”.

These 144 responses were broken into six groups:

Under 168 lbs. 38%
168-184 lbs. 30%
184-199 lbs. 22%
Over 200 52%
Over 300 2%

The range of weight was from 96 to 360 pounds.
The average weight of the responders is 192 ½ pounds. But over half of the responders (52%), weigh 200 or more pounds! What’s that?! 52% weighed more than 200 pounds?!!
The weight range for the average American male (found on the internet) is 168 to 184 pounds (remember, I like the 192 lb. citation). Only thirty percent of the responders fell in this group. However 76% EXCEEDED the UPPER limit for the average American (184 lbs.).

FYI: The two guys who weighed in over 300 are big boys…6’3” and 6’6”.


It appears that the typical on-line poker player is a pretty big boy. He’s 6 foot or more, tilts the beam at over 200 pounds and is in his twenties, maybe thirties.

Writing this was fun but the polling of “on-line” players took more time and effort than I thought. My scientific curiosity about the size of players I bump into at the casinos has waned.

I got to go play some poker.

Tom Golabek plays the poker tables of South Florida, Vegas, and Atlantic City. Tom has published for both Poker Player and Full Tilt Magazines, and is an award winning Magician. He has produced a step by step instructional DVD on how to perform a collection of colorful poker chip tricks and card handling techniques which will make you look like a poker veteran. It can be found at www.pokerchipsvideo.com.

I recently dismantled my poker chip tricks website, and my instructional DVD of a colorful collection of fancy moves with poker chips…and cards, are now being sold on ebay.

The chip tricks on the DVD include shuffling, flip, twirl, rolling a chip across the knuckles, roll & drop, 4 chip roll-out (butterfly), & back to front. The viewer learns about chips, betting moves with chips, table image, cautions, and "Why" do chip tricks at the table.
The slick card handling moves include how to spread the cards like a dealer, cutting a deck with one hand, and fanning....and retracting a deck of cards.

I'm a professional magician, and when I'm not doing that...you will find me at a poker table. I've been selling these DVD's on my website for three years for $20 a pop, with very positive feedback from buyers. You can read them on ebay. I have about 50 left. At $3.95 it is a great deal.

Go to ebay.com and insert “poker chip tricks” in search box.


01-24-2006, 08:13 PM
Your imagine shall test other waters as well.

02-01-2006, 04:07 AM
I haven't done any sampling myself but I would tend to guess that most online and live poker players are generally closer to the 5'10" range than over 6'. It is easy to assume that anyone playing a lot online is probably out of shape and consequently over weight. I tend to dispute this claim because I bet a good chunk of online poker is played by players in their 20s (usually early 20s and college aged).

03-05-2006, 02:43 AM
dang, i am 5'10", i didn't know i was that tall compared to every1 else. cool. yeah yeah, i am back, i was off my game for awhile, then came back like a week ago with more aggression. THANK YOU ALL-IN MAGAZINE!

06-19-2007, 06:14 PM
I haven't done any sampling myself but I would tend to guess that most online and i think It is easy to assume that anyone playing a lot online is probably out of shape and consequently over weight.