Boy meets girl, has a conversation, and numbers are exchanged. Then they share a couple of drinks/dinner and things start to get a little serious. The two of them may not give much thought to each other’s occupation at first but it later matters. Then it’s revealed that one of them is a professional poker player, which may seem bizarre to some people, But there are many benefits to dating a poker player, some of which I’ll talk about in this article.
Patience, optimism, intelligence, and financial management rank high among the benefits of dating a poker player. Poker is a game that improves people’s mental strength and intellect. And let’s face, intelligence is one of the keys to a successful relationship.
One of the questions that frequently come my way is ‘Can poker players have normal relationships?’ I’ve even met people that told me poker and girlfriends do not mix together. Being a professional poker player means you spend many hours playing tourneys and cash games, even on weekends when many games are the softest. And the general feeling is that you don’t have space for someone else in your life since poker takes much of your time.
Poker players can have normal relationships. It’s all about achieving balance. Let’s face it, if you meet someone you really like, then you’d be willing to make compromises to make it work. It helps if the person is into poker or has a general interest in the game. You may also meet someone willing to learn about the game so you two have a or another common interest.
That being said, there are many benefits to dating a poker player. Poker has been shown to make people smarter, patient, and mentally balanced.
These are factors that contribute to the success of a relationship. Without wasting time, let’s see some of the amazing benefits of dating a poker player.
Amazing Benefits Of Dating A Poker Player
1. Poker Players Are Intelligent
You already know about this one. I’ve been gushing about how poker makes people smarter since the beginning of this article. Various studies have shown that intelligence is one of the main determinants of success in a relationship. Also, intelligence affects the quality and duration of a relationship. And when you think about it, this is spot on.
Intellectual compatibility is key to a successful relationship. You and your partner have to be able to hold deep meaningful conversations. A relationship where you and your partner have nothing to talk about or never go past small talks is never going to last.
Poker is a game that requires a level of intelligence that could either be natural or acquired through hard work and experience. As a result, poker players have one of the main components of a successful relationship – intelligence. You can check my article on how poker makes you smarter.
2. You Get To Challenge Stereotypes
There are people who find it weird that poker can be played for a living. Some are just strongly against gambling and believe only lunatics will play poker for a living. It’s just hilarious.
Typically, poker players get these two reactions when they tell people what they do for a living – “That’s really cool! Do you have a good poker face?” or “I don’t like gambling.”
Yet, poker is just like any job and it takes great skill for you to be a professional poker player. Not everyone gets to be a pro. The hard work and dedication put off a lot of people. Ask your boyfriend/girlfriend who is into poker about how the game works and what is needed to succeed. Personally, I liken poker players to ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’
Dating a poker player means you are challenging stereotypes which is pretty cool. And it means you are an open-minded person.
3. Poker Players Have A Flexible Schedule
There are two major reasons why poker players decide to go professional. The first is their love for the game while the second is freedom. And this freedom translates to a flexible schedule. Dating a poker player means you have a boyfriend/girlfriend with a flexible schedule. He/she may even alter their schedule so that you two have off-days/free time together. And this is perfect for dating and relationships as there is only one inflexible schedule to deal with.
One of the problems people have in relationships is to get their schedule to align or coincide. It’s quite common to see people dating able to lock down specific days, say their birthdays. But this is not so for poker players. Usually, if poker players want a day off, they take it. Whereas people working most jobs have to make requests weeks or months in advance to get a day off. This is not so for a professional poker player.
It’s also quite common to see poker players taking some time off the game. It could be weeks or months. And this means he/she will even have more time for you during this period.
4. Poker Players Know How To Read People Well
One of the things poker players are good at is reading people. You can’t truly be a master of the game without knowing how to understand your opponent’s physical and emotional tells. And the more experienced a poker player is, the better he/she is good at reading people.
This attribute will come in handy during dating and relationships. Understanding one’s partner is very important. This allows the two of you to relate well since you can understand them on a different level. You’ll be able to read their facial expressions, actions, and gestures. This will allow you to decipher their moods.
5. Poker Players Are Optimistic People
Poker players are by design optimistic people. You must have heard several quotes/sayings about how you need to believe in your abilities to succeed. This couldn’t be any more true in poker. Poker players need to have strong mental strength. They generally know how to handle losses well and deal with downswings professionally.
Optimism is very contagious and is said to be important for a healthy relationship. And that totally makes sense. You’ll be spending a lot of time with your partner and the two of you will come to influence each other. What better way to influence your partner than to bring more optimism into their lives. Social psychologists have shown that being optimistic well has positive effects on the overall health of the couple. And the relationship will be more satisfying.
6. Financial Management
This may not be obvious to people not knowledgeable about poker but the truth is that poker players know how to manage money well. You can’t be a successful poker player if you can’t manage your bankroll properly. Professional poker players usually set a budget, stick to it and properly and accurately keep track of their profits and losses. And this is the main difference between professional poker players and some random dude that gambles recklessly. Poker teaches people to keep strict bankroll. Before going into a game, players already know how much they can afford to bet and lose.
This knowledge of financial management will come in handy in a relationship. The two of you need to establish what you and your partner can or cannot establish. The money will become a more important issue as a relationship develops further and when you guys plan to move together. And things will go a lot smoother if you and your partner know how to properly manage money.
This is what differentiates a professional poker player from the random guy who gambles all his money away. If you want to learn how to manage your finances, poker will prove to be a great help.
Patience, they say, is a virtue. Poker players must exhibit this virtue in spades if they are to be successful. You’ve most likely been in a situation where you wished you exercise some restraint or where you wished you had been more patient before taking an action or saying something. Patience is one thing poker players have to learn as they wait for opportunities. Opportunities sometimes come more than once. A poker player cannot be too worried about the pot he’s going to lose because of subpar hands. He/she has to be patient and wait for the next opportunity.
How does this apply to dating? Some things become part of us when we do them regularly and a poker pro by nature is patient. And patience is a key component of a healthy relationship. When you are patient, you show your loved ones you value them and your relationship and are willing to see beyond their flaws. Even, being patient can motivate your partner to be more patient.
You’ll have to date a poker player to know he/she has rigid self-control. A professional poker player has seen it all – lost huge stacks of money and is still very much sane. So you can be sure that a poker player won’t get annoyed easily or throw temper tantrums.
8. Travel The World
If you are the type that loves to travel the world, then you’d very much enjoy dating a poker player. While there are several online tourneys for pro poker players, live poker tournaments still remain very popular. Live poker tourneys are usually held in some of the most beautiful places in the world like the Bahamas, Las Vegas. Macau, Malta, and so on.
A professional poker player will most likely travel for tourneys once in a while. And you can totally tag along! It’ll no doubt be a fun and bonding experience for the two of you and the relationship will only get stronger.
9. No Time To Cheat
Haha, I just had to include this one. Most pro players spend a lot of their time grinding. It’s not like they have a lot of free time to cheat. Most likely, he/she will be focused on crushing the game and coming home with a large prize. The demand for professional poker means you don’t have to worry too much about your partner cheating.
10. You Get To Learn Poker From A Pro
Poker is a fun game, one that more people are now playing for recreation. While poker is an easy game, things may be a bit overwhelming for a beginner at first. And if you already have an interest in the game, who better for you to learn from than someone who has loads of experience in the game?
You learning how to play poker will also do wonders for your relationship as you’ll understand your partner better.
Supporting Your Significant Other Who Is A Poker Player
As a professional poker player myself, I’ve been asked by people dating poker players what to do to support their partner. It’s a question I’m always happy to answer as relationship and dating is also about supporting and being there for each other. Whenever I’m asked this question, I first tell them what NOT to do before telling them what to do. So, what are the things you should not do when dating a poker player? I explain them below.
DO NOT suggest I quit poker – This may seem pretty obvious but I think I have to emphasize it. Poker is more of a lifestyle to pro players. It’s an essential part of them and you should not suggest that a poker player quits. You already know the person is playing poker professionally before the relationship and you going on to date him/her means you are okay with his/her occupation.
Someone doesn’t just become a poker pro overnight. The person must have considered other alternatives and a lot more before settling for poker. Also, he/she must have put in lots of effort and hard work. More importantly, the person must be able to make profits consistently.
You can now see why it doesn’t help to suggest that a poker player quits. The decision to play poker professionally isn’t one that is taken lightly.
DO NOT tell me how I should have played – This is a no-no. Unless you yourself are a professional poker player, you should never tell a poker player how he/she should have played. And the thing is that the partners of most poker pros aren’t accomplished players.
Knowing the rules of the games and excelling in home games doesn’t make you qualified to give a poker player advice. It’s frustrating or as your poker boyfriend/girlfriend will tell you, ‘So tilting!’ And the truth is that your advice isn’t wanted. Perhaps you could talk about the possibilities of playing a hand differently. The two of you could brainstorm on the pros and cons.
DO NOT make it about you – This generally applies to all relationships. When your partner is going through a rough patch or something hard, do not make it about you. Let’s face it, poker can be really stressful at times. Your partner may come to you after having a bad day. Try not to make it about you by saying things like “But what about me, my job is stressful too,” especially at the worst times. The truth is that it feels like you don’t care about the feelings of your partner.
If you yourself aren’t up for giving moral support at the moment, you can tell your partner that while you’d like to know what’s going on with them, the conversation will be better held at a later time.
DO NOT allow a whiny poker player to blame you or take it out on you. – Poker players generally have rigid self-control and will not throw temper tantrums. However, there are times when a poker player will find it difficult to leave his/her run-bad at the tables and may try to blame their loss on someone else. There’s usually no malicious intent to this. It’s just his/her insecurities speaking. After all, poker players are human.
But don’t take it when this happens. It’s NEVER your fault if your significant other who is a poker player loses. I’ve heard lame excuses like “Well you were stressing me out, so I lost today.” and so on. What you should do is stand up for yourself but you should do this kindly and patiently. Tell him/her you understand their frustration but it’s unfair to blame their loss on you as it isn’t your fault. It’ll be best if you guys have a chat later when he/she has calmed down
DO NOT let my swings dictate your day– A poker player may not blame their loss but instead, stay moody. Some downswings can be very tough regardless of the level of experience a poker player has. And the truth is that negativity can be contagious at times. Before you know it, you yourself may be sad and angry with your partner. And it’s unfair for you to bear the brunt of their downswings. The thing is that you being angry and sad with your partner isn’t going to be if any help. In fact, it’s even going to make things worse.
So what should you do? Try to be a pillar of strength for your partner during those times. That will be far more helpful than you channeling his anger and disappointment.
What You SHOULD Do When Dating A Poker Player
Since I’ve talked about what you should not do when dating a poker player, it’s only fair I also talk about the things you should do?
DO be a good listener – The truth is that your partner doesn’t have to be a poker player for you to be a good listener. It’s something that’s important in all relationships. Sometimes, your partner just needs you to lend a listening ear. Be patient and do not judge.
DO acknowledge me for my efforts – it’ll be very generous and gracious of you to compliment a poker player at times. Words like “Welldone for working so hard, especially because I know it’s not easy. I appreciate it.” can do wonders
DO take this opportunity to become closer – You’ll agree with me that the purpose of dating is to connect and grow together with your partner. The two of you need to be patient with each other and be good listeners. That’s the only way the relationship will go from strength to strength. After all, dating isn’t a one way thing.
It’s also important that we poker players take responsibility as well as address our shortcomings like anger and fear. How we handle our ups and downs is totally up to us. As a result, we need to reflect more and be aware of our actions as this will make us more patient, and loving people not just for our partners but also for everyone around us.
On reflection, all these do’s and don’ts aren’t restricted only to poker players. They are applicable to anyone in your life, Whether you are a poker player or not, your aim should always be to become a better person for yourself and those around you. By continually developing and evolving, you’ll be better able to handle downswings well and your partner will rarely notice whether you lose or win.
Other attributes poker players exhibit
From the benefits of dating a poker player that I listed above, you should already have some ideas about what to expect from poker players. However, poker players exhibit a lot more characteristics and I’ll be discussing them below.
This is an attribute that will take you far not only in poker but also in life overall. After all, we all strive to cultivate the habit of self-discipline, which isn’t exactly easy. Whether it’s keeping to a deadline, saving for a new car, or even staying on a weight-loss routine, you need the discipline to achieve your goal. People trying to break free from a habit, say smoking, will better understand how hard discipline is to cultivate.
I believe we professional poker players have an advantage over others when it comes to discipline. Poker is a game that requires discipline if one is to succeed at the highest level. Poker tests the player’s resolve at all times and only the most disciplined players survive. Do you have any idea the level of discipline a poker player must have when things aren’t going his/her way? Do you have any idea about how difficult it is to keep your cool when you’re on a losing streak and it seems the universe is conspiring against you?
Yet, a poker player must exhibit a high level of discipline or risk making grave mistakes like blowing his/her entire bankroll. It’s common to see people panicking when they are losing money and start making reckless decisions with the intention of winning back their money. And most times, they lose even more money. A poker player cannot behave like this.
Most people don’t think a lot about concentration. However, concentration is needed to carry out tasks. There is a reason why athletes work extremely hard on their mental strength, and particularly on their concentration levels. A lapse in concentration on the field or track can rob an athlete or his team of success. This very much applies to poker.
Your winnings will suffer if you can’t stay focused. Poker is a very demanding game that requires you to continually analyze your opponents, anticipates their moves while still focusing on your own game by trying to figure out the best hand to play. When you consider the length of poker tournaments, you’ll further understand the need for optimum concentration in poker. A lapse in concentration can spell doom for you in poker.
Like most things in poker, optimum concentration comes with experience. The more you play, the more your concentration level increases.
Develop a Poker Face
You didn’t think I was going to leave this one out, did you? While poker players try to read their opponents, they also try not to give anything away. Knowing how to keep your true intentions a mystery is a skill that will serve any poker player well. As a result, players try to keep a straight face at the tables which is usually referred to as a ‘poker face’.