Relationship Lessons from the World of Poker: What The Pros Can Teach Us About Love


Poker is a deep game with multiple aspects and hidden attributes are required to be successful. The same can be said about fostering loving relationships. Let’s assess some of the parallels between poker and love. Whether it’s being adaptable to love, knowing when to act and when to pause, we’ve got it covered.

Poker and Love are Dynamic Atmospheres

If you’ve ever played on the best us poker sites for players from new York you’ll notice the game consistently changes with different players peaking and troughing in terms of confidence, chips and hand strength. The multiple variables make it incredibly dynamic and susceptible to rapid change. Relationships are no different. When you start to become romantically involved with someone, you’re not just taking one version of them – you’re getting everything. That’s their work life, family life, how they feel in the morning, etc. There are so many emotions that someone can go through daily, so you need to be adaptable just like at the poker table to ensure that you support your partner throughout your relationship.

Patience Goes a Long Way

Take That famously sang “Just Have a Little Patience” in the post-Robbie Williams era. Guinness once told us through an iconic advertisement that good things come to those who wait. Whether you prefer pop music, dark beer or neither – a lot can be said about timing your actions in poker and the pursuit of a relationship.

No professional poker player goes all-in on their first hand. Everyone else will fold and/or you’ll lose a fair bit of money. It takes time to read the game, assess the table, and strike after enough time has passed. The same mindset can be applied when trying to forge a relationship. Expressing your unwavering love for a person on the first date might scare them off, the chances are it will. Patience should be exercised to foster the correct feelings.

Timing Can be Everything

Leading from the last point, while it’s important to be patient with your poker moves and declarations of love – it’s important to execute these at the right time. The best poker players understand when the moment is right to go in on their opponents, call their bluffs, re-raise the pot, etc. That’s why the top players consistently win.

By comparison, the best relationships also stem from the correct origin points. While no relationship is the same, the chances are that after a few dates, and enough of an emotional connection – it will be time to express your desire to ‘be with’ or make your relationship official. Failure to act promptly could ruin any chance of the relationship progressing as the other party might not understand how you feel.

Being Able to Read Your Lover

Reading your opponent, and their actions and determining what they are thinking can lead to success on the poker table. Even if it’s the littlest aspects that you can spot and track, it could lead to a good advantage in the game. The same skills can be utilized away from the card game and in your relationship. While nobody is expecting you to read their mind if you can see that they are sad but not saying they are, offering them a scoop of their favourite ice cream or something else that they particularly enjoy will bolster the strength of your relationship. Equally, being able to pick up when your partner is annoyed with a specific action will prevent you from getting into too much trouble.

Emotional Control

Poker players have long studied the effects that tilt (emotional distress) has on a player during a game. There are books written about the topic of how to best cope with it and mitigate it. While there is no cheat code to stop it, there’s a consensus that if you’re becoming more and more heated you should remove yourself to prevent the problem from escalating. After all, if you can’t get out of a rotten funk – you could end up losing a lot of chips at the table.

The same practices should be applied when couples fight. No relationship will ever be sunshine and rainbows all the time. There will be disagreements and arguments. Hopefully not too many but it’s natural. Being able to resolve issues without becoming heated. If amid a negative interaction, you become increasingly agitated and feel that the emotions are running away with the moment (rather than the actual issue you were arguing about) it could be a good idea for both parties to step away from one another, cool down and resolve it when everyone is in a better frame of mind.

Knowing When to Leave the Table

Sometimes things just don’t work out. Irreversible actions can lead to a dwindling chip count and a relationship breakdown. It’s important in both games of poker and relationships to have a good exit strategy if it all goes south. The best poker players can determine when it’s not their day and confidently reconvene. While relationships are much harder to end and re-configure with someone else, it’s not impossible.

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