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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Poker and Relationships

Article published in the 4th issue of Women's Poker Player Magazine.

Poker and Relationships

Do they really mix? If you’re lucky enough to have a partner who enjoys playing poker as much as you do, then you’re luckier than a lot of other players. Of course, you’ll have your own set of problems such as managing bankrolls together, making sure that the both of you don’t exceed the amount set aside to play with, etc.

I’m one of those women whose husband/partner doesn’t play poker. He doesn’t know the flop from the river and when I tell him I was counterfeited on the turn, he gets this glazed look in his eyes that tell me he has no clue as to what I’m talking about. Now, don’t get me wrong, compared to where he is now to where he was three years ago and it’s amazing how much he has tried to learn about poker, in order to carry on a conversation with me as poker seems to be all I ever talk about anymore.

There are times though when he just doesn’t seem to “get it”. He doesn’t understand the need for a separate poker bankroll and doesn’t understand the need to constantly replenish that bankroll, especially since I play tournaments only and can go weeks, sometimes months, without winning one. When I do win one, it’s hard to explain to him that I need to keep most of the winnings for the bankroll; instead, he sees it as money that I’ve won, that should be coming back into the household. Money that can pay for the new couch, a new computer, new toys!!

There are times when he doesn’t understand the time involved in playing a tournament, or the level of concentration needed and doesn’t understand how I can spend hours upon hours in front of the computer playing a tournament when I could be doing other things with my time.

However, together, we have learned to compromise. This is the key element to successfully having a relationship with a non-poker playing companion. You must compromise the time spent and the money spent, playing poker. We’ve reached a compromise that I would only play online tournaments after 7-8pm during the week, and on the weekends I’m free to play whenever I want as long as we don’t have plans with friends or relatives. We’ve also agreed that I would only travel outside the USA for poker tournaments three times a year, unless him and my daughter go with me, then I can travel more. I’m free to go to Las Vegas or Southern California as often as the bankroll permits, since those locations are fairly close to home.

As far as money spent goes, we’ve agreed that from every tournament win, I’m allowed a certain amount of money to keep for the poker bankroll, and the rest comes back into the household. Don’t get me wrong, if I know that the money is needed in order to maintain the household, then it all comes back to the house, but I’ve been fortunate enough where I’ve been able to play “for fun” and not for the need of the money for awhile now. However, there is still the need to replenish the funds taken from the household in order to play poker upon a win, kind of like “paying back the backer”.
I’ve posted about our unique situation to a popular online forum and the feedback was absolutely amazing. I never realized that so many people are going through what I’m going through with a non-poker playing partner and it was quite eye opening. I truly thought I was one of the “rare” ones that have to constantly explain the time and money spent on poker. However, I found out that I was one of many and the biggest agreement seemed to be in the compromising.

Now, sometimes compromising doesn’t work and then the relationship will usually break down, that’s happened to a lot with poker players and while non-poker players can’t understand how someone is willing to throw away a relationship for the game of poker, poker players can’t understand how someone isn’t willing to understand the deep desire and passion that poker seems to bring out of us.

While I would never be willing to throw away a relationship for the game of poker, I would be willing to throw away a relationship with someone who couldn’t or wouldn’t comprehend the love and joy that the game of poker brings to me. Who couldn’t support my dreams and goals 100%. After all, as a partner, isn’t that supposed to be the goal, to make your partner happy? To support your partner 100% in whatever his/her dreams or goals are while doing the same for him/her is what a successful relationship means to me.

Luckily, with the compromising that my husband and I have agreed to, we were able to “fix” the situation before it got out of control. I strongly urge every woman poker player to assess her current situation with her partner and to make those compromises now, before it’s too late, in order to keep both your partner happy and your relationship alive, while still continuing to play poker, the game we’ve grown to love!

Tanya Peck

Tanya Peck can be found online at many different sites playing by the name of MissT74. Tanya is a local to Laughlin, Nevada and frequents Las Vegas for all major tournament events. Tanya can be reached at


Blogger imjusthere4thebeer said...

Great write-up on poker and relationships! I've always counted my blessings that during the start of my "career," the kids and I are not having anyone other than our bankroll and bill collectors to answer to. However, there will be a day when that will change. I hope to use this article as a baseline model if conflict ever arises.

Thanks for the insight and advise I've received via your writing!


7:41 AM  
Blogger cmitch said...

Nice article. I know that it was written for women from a woman's point of view, but it can flipped and applies to most of us married men.

Luckily, I have an understanding wife, but sometimes it is tough to explain why we don't buy x or y after a big win or a good run at the cash games.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Bloody P said...

Excellent post.

I saw my relationship with my wife in that post (i.e. "Why can't we use that money for earnest money for the new house??").

12:13 PM  
Blogger "MissT74" said...

Thanks all. I was actually very surprised at the thread that got going about this on RGP, very insightful and it really let me know that I am NOT the only one, or even close to the only one, out there that had this problem.


12:19 PM  
Blogger Richter said...

Hi there. First of all, it's a great article and thank you for writing it.

I am currently a male engineering student and I have been dating a woman who I am deeply in love with for nearly 2 years.

She has been a succesful amateur poker player for the past few years...but very recently decided to make it a career.

We have just entered a stage in our relationship where she is now going to Las Vegas 2 weeks out of the year to play and then come home to me in Florida.

I am supportive of her in everything she does including poker and I wish her the best of luck.

I suppose the thing that I am struggling with is that poker is a male-dominated game which brings my girlfriend into contact with alot of other men. Furthermore, she often plays very late into the night and sometimes all the way to the following day's breakfast or even lunch. She is an attractive woman ad gets alot of male attention and obviously I feel that my relationship is very threatened by all of this. I want to support her through this transitory stage in her life and hopefully we can come to a compromise in which we are both happy. I have started to look at Engineering jobs in Las Vegas so that we can continue to date and hopefully marry after I graduate school.

This is her first trip to Las Vegas and she has been in contact with alot of guys trying to get her to play in other events and inviting her out to dinner....I suppose its natural as she will have to make friends since she will be living there half the year. Still, I find myself feeling very jealous, suspicious, and interrogative lately which is not really like me.

My girlfriend says she loves me with all of her heart and that there is no one else but me....however...I'm still having issues dealing with all of this.

As a married female professional poker player...can you offer me any advice on this issue?

Thank you so much for your help.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Kommany said...

In the above I said she goes to Las Vegas twoo weeks a year but what I meant to say was two weeks a month!

6:50 PM  
Blogger Olya Olegovna said...

Thank you, I learned a lot from your article. It is really interesting and informative. casinobonusesfinder

3:13 AM  

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