We present a study on whether poker interferes with building harmonious relationships. It turned out unexpectedly wise. And incredibly cute.

Misha "inner" Shalamov

GGPoker Ambassador

GGPoker is a Hold’em and Omaha focused site on the Good Game Network. Offering a broad range of playing formats such as Randomised Sit & Gos, All-in or Fold, and 6+ Short Deck as well as fast cash games, and a plethora of tournament series including: GGMasters, Multi Millions and Bounty Hunters.

Married for 14 years, three children – the oldest is 12 years old, the youngest is one and a half years old

The marriage itself did not have much impact on his poker career; major changes began to occur when children appeared. If I had been at the very start by that time, this would probably have become a serious problem. It takes a lot of time to build up a starting bankroll, and when children appear, you no longer want to devote all your time to work.

Over time, on the contrary, having a place to go to escape from the abyss of shit into which poker sometimes plunges you only helped. Now I think I have a very good balance between family and work. I’m not a workaholic, so I had no serious conflicts with my wife over work. I think this is due not only to my wife and her patience, but also to me – in time management, as in poker, balance is very important, and I was able to create a work schedule that was very comfortable for both myself and my family. There were times when I wanted to move away and grind around the clock as before, but all these attempts only proved that everything is good in moderation.

Gena "Winter"

Been in an open relationship for a long time

I think trying to integrate poker into a relationship is a matter of having the right personal boundaries. If you immediately discuss what is convenient and comfortable for both, then the influence of the relationship on poker/hobbies/friends will be minimal. Yes, sometimes you will need to adjust and change the game time or something like that. But this happens not only because of relationships, but because of a bunch of other events. What I mean is that the disadvantages can be leveled out, but after a bad session, going to hug your loved one is a significant plus! But first, you need to be alone for a while – being a lone wolf is also a thrill! And in this situation, you can also go to a massage parlor to relax, if you really want to. Personally, my relationships have little effect on the grind; these are just two different areas of life that I try not to mix.

As for whether your beloved accepts your occupation, then, I think, everything is simple too. Either they take you along the way, or they don’t. Whatever a person does professionally, it is a significant part of his life and himself. And if there is an aversion to this activity, then a healthy relationship simply cannot happen. And why have such a relationship just on principle? We have enough stress from poker, and relationships should compensate for the stress, not increase it.

Poker has never been a reason for me to break up. Quitting poker is also not an option, you know – I have stronger relationships with poker than with women! Still together for seven years (and before that we dated for three more...)

Denis "ALTAL" Pisarev

Together for 8 years, child is 2.5 years old

The wedding did not affect the relationship in any way, since Alena never shifted responsibility for OUR family onto me, we always achieved everything together. And the child, of course, took all our time and changed our plans.

As a result, you work less, and try to spend more time with your family, plus additional expenses appear! The bankroll is not growing because you always need something – a nanny for the child, a bigger house, an extra mouth to feed, and a million more additional expenses that come with the flower of happiness called “child”. Also, don’t forget about shared flights – from the age of two, a child already needs a full-fledged seat, and also a ticket for a nanny, after all, you are a professional and cannot waste your time wiping his ass.

Car? How else will you carry him? – Of course, buy it! But all this money could be spent on improving your qualifications, paying for trainers, nutritionists and simply managers who solve your personal problems.

I have never had any conflicts between relationships and poker. Poker is my job, my passion, my love. For it's sake, I flew around the entire world so that I could comfortably play and sleep at the right time of day. My woman has never been against someone else in our relationship, so POKER always lives with us!

And there is no balance here – either you are alone and top player in the world, you live in Argentina and are between the line of genius and madness, or you are just trying, to the detriment of your family relationships, to swim somewhere in the form of an unfinished donut. Well, yes, and all of us in our families, of course, are very happy people. Every day, waking up from screams, we inspire this in ourselves and firmly believe that all these sacrifices are for our own good.

Nikolay "nsmirnov" Smirnov

Not in a relationship for two years

I definitely feel more comfortable playing when I'm alone. No one interferes, no compromises. Just me and poker. I'm too selfish, it's always easier for me to do everything alone.

The advantages of a relationship are that they can cook food or bring coffee, the disadvantages are everything else. Anyone who does not play MTTs professionally will never understand what it is and how it is.

Everything written above is exclusively about me and for me, and in no way claims to be “correct.”

Ilya "h8autumn"

We've been together for almost a year, got married in the summer

I have known Elizaveta since December last year :) They brought us closer together, by the way, through cards, we met at a mafia game. I told her on the first date that I play poker. She became interested, so I began to tell her further. “It’s cool when there is such a reaction,” I noted to myself then. We have been married since July of this year. Everything moved quickly, haha. It’s not for nothing that under my Gypsy nickname for many years now the status has been “Well, lucky in love, huh.” Lucky. Now I need to remove it, it’s no longer relevant 😄

My poker career was relatively short, so I don’t remember any swings. Everything is moving forward. I try to progress, and my wife motivates and supports me. Thank you for not asking her to teach her – that's a big plus haha. I think that one poker player in the family is more than enough, and my wife is a future doctor.

The main thing, in my opinion, you need to remember to maintain a good relationship is the balance between play and family. The woman you love always needs attention. If you hang out in card rooms 24/7 and come home in the morning, this is unlikely to contribute to a positive atmosphere at home. That's why I try to grind online. And recently I switched to playing in the morning, so the evenings are now free.

I can only give one piece of advice, it’s simple and will last forever – for a relationship to be good and strong, you need to think not only about yourself. This also applies to poker. There are 24 hours in a day – that's enough to get everything done.

Before getting married, I had different experiences. In no way was my hobby, and then my main source of income, treated positively. It was always something from the category of “you’re doing some kind of bullshit, your job should be stable, etc.” This was not the main reason for the separation, but it served as a considerable fly in the ointment in the barrel of all the other negativity.

Vlad "DureN" Mironov

I haven't been in a relationship for almost a year

My two-year sample shows that I ride better when I'm alone. This is especially true if you are a micro-stakes player and plan to move up the limits further – the choice between theory or walking, a full-fledged sleep before the block or half the night without sleep, because “we haven’t seen each other for a long time” – I consider all this an obstacle to normal development in poker.

However, I won't say that I simply did not come across suitable girls, and everything could have been different. I think it all depends on age, personal experience, and the partner’s outlook on life. Often, when meeting someone, the first reaction to poker is negative. Almost everyone has a story when someone lost/scammed something. Nobody gets to the bottom of it, they just label it and equate everything to a casino. There are rare exceptions – when a friend/brother has been playing poker for a long time and feels good.

In general, this is an excellent marker – you can immediately see either the girl’s openness to new things, or stereotypical thinking, and fears that she is not ready to part with. The degree of internal freedom is immediately felt.

The ideal option is if the girl is not familiar with poker, but respects your desires and interests and does not impose her opinion on you. Poker itself is unlikely to be a problem in a relationship. The main problem is when your partner does not share your views.

My last long-term relationship ended because of poker, among other reasons. They often hinted to me that poker does not inspire confidence in our “bright future”, and that I should find a more stable job, and maybe go to study IT. It's good that I didn't do this! I assumed that this was just a reason, by no means the most important one, and then I was only convinced of the correctness of my thoughts. You shouldn’t build a relationship with a person who doesn’t share your wildest dreams, much less continue to feed his fears and transfer them onto yourself.

The only thing that people should care about in a relationship is that you do what you love and that you feel comfortable and good; any wild dreams you have should be shared and supported. Utopian? Maybe! Well, otherwise why do you need it?

And if you have to wait a long time for such happiness, you can always buy yourself a Scottish fold cat.

Sergey "yx0" Bugs

Married 4 years, daughter 3 years old

We've been married, it seems, for four years... Honestly, I don't remember all these useless dates very well, and my wife Ekaterina constantly reminds me of them. Fortunately, she is adequate to me and doesn't get particularly angry about such trifles. With us, my daughter is three years old, and recently she went to kindergarten for the first time FULL day, which frees up my hands a little in terms of grinding.

To be honest, I was very lucky initially! From the first days of our acquaintance, my future wife integrated quite easily into my gambling life. At that time I was actively betting on sports, and at some point, she even had to pawn gold in order to give me money for the next sure thing in the person of Daria Gavrilova (ed. note: this is a tennis player). When I switched to poker, she supported me here too and never really interfered with my “new” hobby, despite the endless deposits at the beginning of the journey.

The advantage of the family was visible to the naked eye – unconditional support from the very beginning to this day. If my wife sees that I’m grinding hard, then without my asking, she can make me coffee, cut vegetables, or light snacks so that I can refresh myself during the session. In this regard, she is a great partner, and I really appreciate it ❤️

The most difficult conflict? Hmm... Probably the day I told her that I was planning to quit my high-paying job to play poker. But even then it was difficult to call it a conflict... She simply accepted my decision and, despite her newly born daughter, gave the go-ahead and believed in me.

To achieve balance, on my part, I did absolutely nothing, here again, I was very lucky – Katya essentially makes all the adjustments, and I roll around like cheese in butter.

Sanya "IIcuXe9Igz"

Two years in an open relationship

I don't know how poker can affect relationships, I think it all depends on the presentation. If you think of poker as entertainment or, God forbid, as an addiction, then yes, there will definitely be problems.

Now I have been dating one girl for two years, but this is not a classic relationship, but rather some kind of mixed polygamy. In this format, none of my girls, in principle, can claim me for additional income in the form of poker.

Poker itself is an asocial activity, and any unnecessary contact with the outside world only distract. But at the same time, it’s great to feel supported, especially during difficult times of prolonged downswings, which all professional players have faced, to one degree or another. In addition, men (well, I’m not for everyone, of course) need some kind of motivation to continue earning money and developing. So if a girl is understanding and serves as a source of motivation and support, then this is only a plus for the grind. If a girl is “stifling”, constantly demands attention, distracts, or bombards with destructive behavior (like “get a normal job, now you’ll lose everything, you’re doing crap”), then this is an obvious disadvantage for the rink. However, do not forget that balance is important in life, and playing poker 24/7 is a clear imbalance that will destroy any relationship, regardless of which girl is nearby.

I never broke up with anyone because of poker. There are usually enough problems in relationships; poker is not even in the top 100.

Well, and finally. The biggest problems I had with poker in relationships were my own fault. Where, again, I decided to pay more attention to my partying, and not to my career as a professional player. I repeat that everything needs balance. You shouldn’t exchange your life for one thing, because there won’t be a second attempt. Live a balanced and vibrant life.

Roma ALDAIR68 Novel

Not in a relationship for two years

Men are always dissatisfied: if they are in a long-term relationship, they begin to feel nostalgic for the times of revelry and freedom, blaming fate for the fact that everything has become boring and routine. If they haven’t had a long-term relationship for a long time, then they think in a different way: “I’m so tired of these sprees and short-term romances, it’s all unreal and insincere, I wish I had great and pure love.” When I realized this, I calmed down and just decided to go with the flow. What happens to me is what I am grateful for, and if nothing happens, then at these moments I am focused on work.

Did poker influence my relationship in any way? Not really, this is just one type of work, any wise woman should be aware of this. Another thing is that there are tilting men who yell, break dishes, and tear out their hair. Most likely, it is wild to look at such a picture; probably, in order to date such a character, a lady must have great patience. What if a girl earns money by playing poker? That's great too. Everyone who does what they love and earns money is great. Everyone who lies on the couch and begs for an iPhone – no. Perhaps in family life, when children appear, something changes in this structure, but I haven’t gone that deep yet. And if I find myself there, I’ll tell you how it is and what.

Roma "edRock"

10 years in a relationship, child 4.5 years old, married 1 year

If it weren’t for the war and the need to emigrate, Anushka and I would have been too lazy to marry.

For me, relationships have played a positive role in terms of productivity in poker for a bunch of reasons.

Firstly, the purely domestic side. Even now, during those periods when I have to be left alone for several days, I stupidly spend half a day doing some idiotic household chores – getting food for myself, taking out the trash, going to the store, ordering food, meeting the courier, putting dishes in the dishwasher, remove the dishes from the dishwasher. And so half a day goes by stupidly (but this is a feature of my ADHD brain – literally everything distracts me). Not to mention that the gap in quality between the food from delivery (or, moreover, the food that I prepared) and Anushka’s food (my wife is a culinary blogger) is the size of a large canyon (in length).

Secondly, my background level of anxiety in relationships has decreased (I don’t know if it’s a dependent personality type or something else). Paradoxically, it decreased even more after the birth of his daughter. But in general, of course, anxiety is well fixed by big pharma. Such extremes as having children should be resorted to only as a last resort. And anxiety for a poker player is, to put it mildly, not a very desirable thing.

Thirdly, it is absolutely not a fact that I would not have given up poker in some of the difficult moments (of which every player has many), if I had not received a ton of support from Anushka.

There was no conflict between poker and relationships. I have never, hand on heart, sacrificed anything for poker. Including relationships. Or it seems to me that he didn’t donate. Or it seems like you didn’t sacrifice enough. This is probably where the conflict lies. I can't put my life on hold until later. Because of this, my poker career not only suffers but can’t even begin for real. Not that it’s some kind of my choice – to live and be happy without tearing my ass to the British flag, paving the way for high stakes. I just can’t do it any other way yet, I can’t do that life. And the balance is strongly shifted in the direction opposite to poker. Now this is changing, but rather forced, because the events of the last year and a half have not benefited either my mental health or, as a result, productivity.

In short, I'm not looking for balance. I'm not against experimenting with different imbalances.

My Anushka, of course, is a complete saint. In general, being in a relationship with a poker player is the highest ideal of sacrifice. Almost all the players I know are completely fucked up – autistic, psychopathic, whoever is not bipolar, an ADHD cyclothymic, or just a carrier of fucked up unknown etiology. This is understandable – a normal person will not believe that you can make money by pressing buttons on the Internet. And this “treasure” often still thinks great things about itself.

You need to hit the jackpot so that, as a player, you can be in a happy relationship for a long time. And I pulled him out.