How Cheese is Going to Increase Your Casino Winnings

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Cheese. It’s pretty great, isn’t it?

Whether loaded on crackers at Christmas or oozing down the sides of a Welsh rarebit, it’s versatile, oh so delicious, and can make even a humble jacket spud infinitely more appealing!

For cheese lovers like ourselves, slicing into a fresh block is always going to put a smile on our face. Yet, evidence suggests that eating cheese is, in fact, capable of a much more long-lasting mood lift, as well as reduced feelings of aggression and better sleeping. If you’ve ever spent time gambling at a casino, you’ll probably have noticed that you play your best when you’re feeling your best. For decades people have been doing all sorts of stupid things to get edge over the house or other players, but could cheese be the secret sauce?

Always Take Your A-Game to the Felt!

If you’re playing a casino game of skill like poker or blackjack (to some extent), being in the best mood you can be is always going to result in a more profitable session. Sure, you might still lose money but your losses won’t be as heavy if you played every hand optimally given the information you had at the time. Similarly, your wins will be much bigger if you are playing nothing but your A-game.

To play your true A-game, you need to be rested, focused, sober, and alert. Depending on how seriously you take your gambling, preparation to play your A-game can begin the night before your session or even months previous to it. Those playing the highest levels of poker, for example, will eat well, keep their bodies and minds focused through both physical and mental training, and ensure they are well-rested before playing.

Playing your A-game is certainly most important in games where the player’s own in game actions impact the likelihood of them winning. However, you can apply the concept to more luck-based casino games too. In any gambling (skill and pure luck), it’s important to not let prior action cloud future judgements.

Going on “tilt” in poker refers to a change in a player’s mood, usually following some harsh beat or similarly annoying situation. Players on tilt will make bad decisions they wouldn’t usually have done and may continue a session long after its profitability has dried up. In a more luck-based game, you should stick with the game plan you made yourself prior to joining the game, irrespective of winnings or losses. It can be tempting to stay at the table after a particularly devastating run of bad luck. However, it’s tough to continue playing your A-game when “chasing a loss”!

The Science Bit…

The body regulates mood with a hormone called serotonin. Many studies have linked low levels of serotonin in the body with an increased likelihood of suffering mood disorders like stress, anxiety, and even depression. Whilst some people naturally produce more serotonin than others, we all get less efficient at creating “the happiness hormone” the older we get. It’s not just the growing weight of responsibilities crushing down on a person that makes them grumpier with age!

Unfortunately, serotonin is not something that we can take as a supplement and it isn’t found in foods either. However, we can help the body by ensuring that it always has a good supply of the amino acid tryptophan, which it uses to create this natural antidepressant.

As detailed in a wonderfully referenced article on, loads of studies have confirmed that levels of tryptophan in the body directly impact a person’s mood. Both “quarrelsome” adults and children prone to heightened physical aggression showed clear signs of reduced temper after taking 1000mg and 500mg of tryptophan respectively. The calming effect of the supplement on the subjects, therefore, may work wonders for those prone to spewing off casino chips when the going is against them.

Another tryptophan study of particular relevance involved genetically engineered mice. Compared with control subjects, mice that did not have the gene needed to synthesise serotonin from tryptophan were noted as being intensely aggressive and also prone to compulsive behaviours. This suggests that humans with low levels of tryptophan, and subsequently serotonin, may even find it harder to actually walk away from a casino game. Although every good gambler knows that it’s better to take a break as soon as your A-game slips, actually doing so can be tough – especially if your body chemistry is battling against you.

What About Sleep?

Tryptophan is not only important in the production of serotonin. It’s also vital in helping the body to create a related hormone – melatonin. This one helps to ensure an individual gets a good night sleep. As previously mentioned, getting a full eight hours is a great precursor to the kind of solid judgements needed to maximise profits or minimise losses at the casino.

As above, there are loads of scientific studies backing up the sleep-boosting properties of tryptophan. During the 1970s scientists ran an experiment that saw subjects take a maximum of 15 grams of tryptophan before bed. Later studies confirm that much smaller amounts of the amino acid will also promote better sleep too. Those taking supplements or eating tryptophan-rich foods experienced less broken sleep and lengthier periods of deep sleep. They also reported feeling less groggy the following day than they would have done if they were to take pharmaceutical sleeping tablets.

The Cheesy Bit!

“Where can we get this tryptophan?!” I hear you ask. Well, cheese-lover, you’re in luck. One of the best natural sources of the amino acid is actually dairy products and, in particular, cheese! Different cheeses have different levels of tryptophan in them and some contain as much as 57 percent of your recommended daily allowance in a one ounce serving. Some of the best high-tryptophan cheeses and their respective contributions to an individual’s recommended daily allowance are reduced fat mozzarella (57%), parmesan (56%), cheddar (56%), Mozzarella (51%), Romano (43%), and Gruyere (42%).

Whilst those suffering from more extreme cases of insomnia or mood disorders should certainly seek medical advice, there’s clearly some benefit to eating foods high in tryptophan. With that in mind, it’d obviously be very irresponsible to not pig out on your favourite cheese prior to your next lengthy casino session – as if you needed any excuse!