Why is it I sometimes play better when I drink alcohol?

First of all, you need to separate actual level of play from perceived level of play. Alcohol can affect both. For some people, a small amount of alcohol can actually increase relaxation and result in less tense (and better) play. For much more info, see “Beer-goggle effects” (BD, June, 2008). Here’s the featured diagram in the article:

alcohol effects of pool playing graph

Here’s an article from Wired magazine (May, 2015) with some citations of scientific studies on the matter. And here’s another interesting article by Tonic magazine: Why You’re Better at Beer Pong After a Few Drinks (March, 2017).

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