Taste wine, play poker.

Knowing how to recognize a really good wine is a sure way to make an impression on the ladies. And playing poker like a professional will give you loads of respect from your buddies.

Mastering the two will make you look like a full-blooded connoisseur, even though the only thing you know is how to wreck up the poker tables at online gambling sites while guzzling on some fermented grape juice.

While poker and wine tasting seems like two very disparate activities, some similarities can be explored between the two. Specifically, how can the system that experts use for tasting wine apply to poker.

Wine tasters use a five step process for tasting and judging wine, referred to as “the five ‘S’s.” They are see, swirl, sniff, sip and savor. We go through a similar process in a hand of poker.


In wine tasting, the first thing a taster does is look at the wine to examine its color. This gives the taster the first idea of how good the wine is going to be.

In poker, this is analogous to looking at our hole cards in a poker hand. We examine the quality of our cards to assess whether we should continue in the hand.



The swirl sets up the rest of the tasting process. It exposes the wine to oxygen and enables better smelling of the aroma.

This is analogous to the pre-flop action in Texas hold’em or third street action in stud. We observe the betting to create a context for how strong we think our hand is.



The next thing to do is smell the wine, to prepare the palate for tasting. This may be analogous to calling or raising the pre-flop bet or third street bet, setting the stage for what is to come.



The actual tasting commences. This is similar to the flop or fourth and fifth street in hold’em or stud. This is the meat of the poker hand, in which a good portion of the hand is known and players need to start considering how the hand will end.


The big finish, in both wine tasting and poker. The final savoring of the wine is like the conclusion of a poker hand, the turn and river or sixth street and seventh street. The process is nearly complete and it is time to assess the results.

While wine tasting is not exactly like poker, approaching poker in the same kind of systematic way can do wonders for your results.