No sensible guy goes to the poker table to meet girls, let alone his future wife. Especially when you are on vacation just looking to drink beer and stack fish! But this is exactly what happened almost six years ago when on a random mid-week summer night I first set eyes on my now wife, Amanda. She was leggy, bubbly, and as poker-crazy as I am.
Since then we have been around the world together, grinding live and online with both of us playing a lot of poker as a couple – pretty rare in this industry. There are some benefits to that — and some drawbacks — but at the end of the day, it’s really wonderful having a partner who also plays poker. Here is a list of the top 11 benefits that Amanda and I have experienced as poker playing partners.
1. Someone always on-call to discuss hands with
This is a double edged sword! Talking hands is a great tool to improve your game but can also lead to disagreements – especially when you know you’re right and she’s wrong. Amanda might say otherwise though. 🙂
2. Motivation to play more
Poker players can tend to be lazy. Often you’d be better off using your time to put yourself in a spot to win money at the tables but it can be easier to stay home or find something else to do. With a partner that is eager to get out there and play, you find yourself getting up and going, too. Getting more hours in, as long as you are a winning player of course, is a net positive result.
3. It’s good to have a partner understanding of the lifestyle
Poker is a game of highs and lows and it helps a lot to be in a relationship with somebody that’s riding that same rollercoaster. If you are out spending all night at the casino, it really helps to have an understanding partner at home.
4. You find yourself playing other poker variants
I was never a tournament player and had only focused on cash games. Sitting all day to usually bust out in frustration seems like a bad proposition to me. If you have a partner like I do that loves tournaments though, you find yourself firing at them and this helps keep hold ‘em feeling fresh. I even found myself trying some non-Hold’em variants when Amanda was doing a book signing at Mixed Game Festival VI.
5. Staying current with poker world events
It’s informative to have a partner tuned in the poker industry to keep you up to speed with what is happening on and off the felt. I’d rather be battling at the table but my wife, like most women in poker, likes to follow the latest poker gossip.
6. Poker traveling partner
Traveling to a new city or tournament series together as a couple when you both actually play can be a lot more fun. Poker is a solitary game for many that find themselves traveling alone. Having someone to spend the time with both while playing as well as away from the felt makes the entire travel experience that much more full and memorable.
7. Social networking
Having a partner who plays poker can expand your poker social network making you both new friends and maybe even getting you into new games that would otherwise have been outside your radar.
8. Healthy competition
Having a partner who shares your passion for poker gives you a common interest and hobby. Try firing poker tournaments together and having “last longer bets.” The terms of those bets are up to you.
9. Strengthening your poker game
If you play a lot of poker together and talk strategy then you are certainly motivated to help each other play the best poker you possibly can. Plus, if you choose to invest in your poker study by enrolling with one of the best poker training sites, you both benefit from only having to pay for one membership per site. 🙂
10. Recognizing tilt
You have a vested interest to recognise if your other half is tilted or maybe in a bad game and to share that info with them. After all, you are the best person to read their emotional state. Just imagine how much money you could avoid tilting off if you had a partner acting as your “early warning system.”
11. Someone to root for
Whether it’s making a deep run in a tournament or watching a big all-in moment as the board runs out, having a partner who plays poker doubles the excitement of the game.
Poker can play many different roles in a person’s life. It might simply come in the form of a regular social home game amongst friends on a Saturday night. A player might be a studious ‘‘weekend warrior’ chasing big money at his/her local casino. You might even be a professional player or someone working full-time in the many related facets of the poker industry. Whatever way it intersects with your life, there’s one thing I’m sure of: Having a partner who also plays and is heavily immersed in the poker world can only be of benefit. Poker, like most pursuits in life, is best when you are on a team.