During the 2015 World Series of Poker we've spotted multiple players using a portable chair, and it was Canadian poker pro and WSOP gold bracelet winner Timothy Adams who brought a saddle chair called the Human Tool to Las Vegas.
Poker players who battle it out on the high stakes do everything they can to outsmart their opponents, and little edges mean a lot. Adams explained to us that the Human Tool helps him play his best poker, on top of his usual thorough precreation.
"Precreation is huge in poker," Adams said. "There's a lot more to it than sitting down and playing the cards. When I prepare for a session, I make sure I'm in a good state of mind, and I definitely don't roll out of bed and start playing poker. I have a routine, in which I have a shower, a good meal, do my stretches, and make sure I have lots of water and some snacks near me."
Adams continued, "I practice mindfulness and meditation, and I think it's good to not worry about poker when you're not playing, as that's something the human mind does. I practice being calm and not worrying about things, not losing that vital mental energy by focusing of things that don't help you in your poker game.
"I can't say the Human Tool is the most important thing in the world, but it definitely helps. I would definitely recommend it to any poker player, as it does help."
Upon inspection of the Human Tool, we decided to give it a shot ourselves, and the results were remarkable. For people that sit in a chair for most of the day, such as poker players, the Human Tool has a remarkable effect on posture, and that's something that many struggle with at the tables.
The Human Tool is a saddle, just like the ones used for horseback riding, with the under side a hard-surfaced bowl that balances on a hard base. In Adams' case, this hard base is a very firm piece of styrofoam. This forces you to activate your core, and it strengthens your pelvis.
"I'm not sponsored by them, and I don't get anything for it, but I just want to put the word out there because I'm so excited about this product," Adams said.
Research has shown that sitting is not a natural position for humans, and therefore sitting for extended periods of time is even worse. The lower part of the spine takes a beating from the angle we usually sit in, but the Human Tool helps combat this as it forces you to sit with better posture.
Nowadays, there are tons of different desk chairs available, but saddle chairs remain very pricy, and also not very portable. When you travel the live tournament scene, the Human Tool comes in extra handy, since it works with every chair you come across.
"It's advised that when you start using the Human Tool you only use it for 10 to 15 minutes, before expanding to sitting on it all day long," Adams said. "The saddle-chair seating position will help to build up your core strength, but you're going to want to take it easy on your body at first.
"It's obvious that good posture is important, but from a poker perspective it's also very good for your table presence. A lot of people have very bad table presence in live poker; they are slouched over, while others with good posture look more alert and focused on the game."
Adams, who's dealing with back problems himself, received the Human Tool as a gift from his girlfriend, and has been raving about it ever since. While firstly the saddle chair was mainly meant for online poker, he now brings it to every stop.
"I decided to bring it to EPT Malta, and a lot of other pros were very interested," he said. "Some of them immediately bought one. There's a trend in poker where guys are very concerned about their health and well-being, and this is something that adds to that."
Top Austrian pro Thomas Muehloecker was among the first to buy one, and he can be seen sitting on it in every tournament he enters. Other players that have decided to try one include reigning WSOP Main Event champion Martin Jacobson, One Drop High Roller champion Tony Gregg, bracelet winner Brent Hanks, and highly successful pro Andrew Lichtenberger.
"For me, when I play long sessions online, instead of feeling groggy or a little sluggish afterwards, I feel more upbeat and aware," Adams concluded. "I've also noticed that my focus has improved, and even though I'm not a specialist in any of these matters, when your body's being activated good things happen to it. This adds up to having a clearer mind and making better decisions."
The Human Tool was designed by a company based in Finland and costs €150.