If one trashes the bankroll, does he buy flowers to soften the blow? If one plays 8-5 off suit in early position, does the other hide her head in shame and pretend she's actually married to the guy copping aces? Or if she pushes with queens and he has kings, does he call and double up at the expense of his wife or girlfriend and hand himself a night on the couch?
Nah! A poker blogger, who goes by the handle Factgirl, and other poker players who are married to poker players, think the advantages of sleeping next to someone else who loves arguing over whether it's good to play A-J in early position, outweigh other options.
"There's someone to get the other ice cream after a bad beat," Factgirl said.
As you might guess, having someone to listen to your bad beat stories isn't the only advantage to marrying a poker player (although it's possible that it may be the most important, as that's the measure of true love).
Factgirl is married to a poker blogger named Fhwrdh , and she loves it for reasons other than ice cream. "We learn a lot from each other," she said. "We give each other ideas for better play."
Another blogger, Mookie99 , goes to Vegas with his wife and hosts regular tournaments in his home game. "Poker is probably the first hobby/interest I've had that we've been able to do together," he said. "There are times when we play against each other at the same table, and jokes of someone sleeping on the couch are prevalent. No one has had to sleep on the couch...yet."
Of course, playing on sites such as Full Tilt , Poker Stars , Ultimate Bet or Bodog could present a problem for spouses. But most poker sites have worked out the conflicts by allowing separate or joint accounts.* And the poker players above have solved the problem of who gets to use the computer by simply getting more than one.
"We each have our own laptop, plus a machine for the kids (who don't player poker yet but hog the computer anyway," said Factgirl.
Factgirl and Fhwrdh both played poker as kids. He grew up in southern California and played with his mother and grandparents. Factgirl learned from her great uncle Billy in Idaho. He owned a gold mine. Those must have been some juicy games!
Mookie99 gave in to the Moneymaker effect, starting to play after the 2003 World Series of Poker on ESPN. "I had never played any form of poker before this and even had to look at a cheat sheet to remind myself what beats what," he said. But his wife was intrigued after watching that Moneymaker broadcast and Mookie99 was playing at work. He showed her the basics of the game, and they began hosting the weekly tournaments at their house.
Both poker bloggers were appreciative of online poker, and Mookie99 even hosts a weekly tournament on Full Tilt, "The Mookie", that is a favorite among bloggers, usually attracting more than 50 players a week.
Without online poker, it's doubtful these people would get to play much, given that Mookie99 has five kids and Factgirl has two.
"Our live play is limited to when we can get a babysitter or one of us stays home," said Factgirl.
Factgirl and Fhwrdh keep separate bankrolls, but Mookie99 and his wife have a joint bankroll, although it's not an "official" bankroll. "We play pretty low stakes," he said. "The only time we've kept separate bankrolls is when we go to Vegas. While both of us have experienced downswings, we've never had to give each other money or pull anything from our non-poker money.
"I play low almost to a fault and rarely, if ever, take shots at higher buy-in games."
Both played up their spouses' ability, with both bloggers saying that their spouse was the better player. "She doesn't play a tenth of what I do," Mookie99 said, "but still manages to do well, especially when we are in Las Vegas."
Then again, given poker's nature, ability doesn't always matter. "Fhwrdh is absolutely a better player," Factgirl said, "but I have won more money.
*How do poker Web sites handle spouses who want to play at the same site, given some recent concerns about collusion and players using number accounts from the same computer? Here's how. All poker sites also offer more details on their Web pages.
• Ultimate Bet - The site allows one account per customer but two per computer, as long as the accounts belong to different users.
• Bodog - One account per household, but you can add a spouse as an authorized user. If two accounts are created from the same household, Bodog disables both accounts.
• Poker Stars - Only one account may be opened from a computer, but the site does allow players to update their account so their partner may open their own account. However, to eliminate any concerns about collusion, the site doesn't allow spouses on the same account to play in the same ring game or SnG.
• Full Tilt - Spouses can open their own account by using an e-mail address different from their husband's or wife's. Spouses also can't play in the same SnGs or ring game.