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Despite being played with other people, poker is a very lonely game. Whenever you sit down at the table, it’s you against the world. No one else is in your corner cheering you on; in fact, everyone else at the table is actively rooting against you. After playing a game like this for so long, it’s only natural that you’d want someone to come home to who always supports you no matter what.
If this sounds like you, but you’ve been having trouble finding that special someone, we’re here to play Cupid and offer up some tips on how to date as a poker player.
Look, we know you might be a little desperate, but flirting at the table is a serious no-no. At best, it will come off as a little creepy; at worst, manipulative, especially if your prospective target thinks you’re trying to “lower their guard” so you can win more money from them.
Now, this isn’t to say that you could never meet someone at the table, hit it off, and go on to have a healthy and productive relationship–I mean, it could happen! What I AM saying is to fight the urge to instantly ogle and chat up anyone who might be your type as soon as they sit down on the felt.
It’s also best to get to know someone away from the table so you can avoid the awkward situation of coolering them in a massive pot while simultaneously attempting to flirt.
Trying to make it as a poker player is tough. You’re playing at all hours of the night and either working your day job throughout the week or sleeping all day before getting up and playing again in the evenings. With a schedule like this, it’s hard to find the time to get out there and meet someone.
Decision time: How serious are you about finding someone? If you can take it or leave it, then, first of all… what are you doing reading this? Otherwise, just like in poker, sit tight and wait for the right hand to come along. However, if you’re serious about finding someone to settle down with, you will have to make some sacrifices to try and find them.
Those sacrifices don’t stop once you start dating. Not many people will be on the same schedule you are, and sometimes you’ll have to miss a great game because it conflicts with date night. In Rounders, Worm chides Mike McD that “in the poker game of life, women are the rake.” I’m not going to fully agree with that degen, but sometimes it is worth paying a high rake if, to borrow from another formative movie, “the juice is worth the squeeze.”
We don’t mean your wad of cash–that will likely be very welcome on a date! But, if your results haven’t been good lately and that stack of notes is feeling a lot lighter than it once did, don’t bring those negative thoughts to your date. You need to be able to separate your poker results from your personal life. This isn’t just good advice for dating but for life in general.
No one wants to spend time with someone constantly bemoaning their luck, cursing unlucky rivers, and whining about “those fish… man, how do they always get there on me?!” It’s just a drag to be around, and if you’re trying to impress someone while on a date, there isn’t a quicker way to turn someone off you.
Being upbeat and personable even when things are going against you are great traits to have in a partner. By being this way, you’re communicating that you’re mentally strong and can be relied upon–and who wouldn’t want to be with someone like that? Remember that you’re there to have a good time, so relax, put poker out of your mind, and focus on them. This brings us to our next bit of advice…
The truth is, not many people outside our little social circle think the game is that interesting. In most cases, you’re just going to upset them. They certainly don’t want to sit there while you regale them with hand histories while talking at them in what sounds like a second language.
You might think you sound impressive, but actually, they’re going to be far too confused to even know that they should be impressed! Talking to other poker players, you start to assume that everyone has the same knowledge of poker, but they don’t. So talking about a suckout on the flop is going to conjure up very different images in their mind to the ones you’re having!
If you know they’re already into poker and love it as much as you, then great, go for it! Otherwise, it’s best to steer the conversation away from poker unless they specifically ask about it. Even if they ask about it, you must be ready for what comes next.
When someone, particularly a date, hears you play poker, you will have the conversation. You know the one I mean. Of course, there are a few different versions of it, depending on their level of gambling tolerance, but you can expect to hear something like this.
Now, this is a generalization. Not everyone thinks poker players are gambling addicts, degenerates, or compulsive liars. But the fact is that a lot of people do. They cannot separate playing poker from betting the house on blackjack, as to them, it’s all gambling.
Be ready for this, as it will likely come up during your dating escapades. Remember that you’re not going to convince them in a couple of snappy sentences that poker is a game of skill and not the same as putting it all on lucky number 7. Neither should you whip out our Hold ’em Manager and show them that you’re actually a 10bb/100 winner over the past 250k hands at $10NL.
Instead, you should try to liken it to more socially acceptable forms of “gambling.” For example, people don’t have the same stigma about stock trading, but it’s essentially the same thing– making decisions using limited data to try and increase your bankroll. In many ways, it’s even more degen. Have you ever taken future bets to play poker on margin? Didn’t think so.
All they’ll really want to know is that you’re not going to go broke and call them to borrow $5 for the bus home. If you can assure them that it’s not a problem and that you’re in control, they’ll soon treat it like any other hobby.
At the end of the day, the best advice we can give you is don’t be an asshole. You’ll make mistakes when you put yourself out there, and that’s fine! You’re human; mistakes are going to happen. If you can look at the mirror at the end of it and say to yourself, “my intentions were good,” that’s all you can do. And if you indeed do have good intentions, it won’t take long to find a partner that’s right for you.
So best of luck; if you thought poker variance was a bitch, wait until you start dating!
Jackpot! You’ve flopped a winning hand! This article has surely added some extra chips to your stack. Tune in for more valuable insights and pro-level strategies!
Looks like you’ve been dealt a bad beat. We’ll shuffle the deck and try again.
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