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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Boot Camp – Playing to Your Spouse

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If you fear the glares of your spouse or partner more than your Q-Q facing two re-raises on an aggressive table, then perhaps it's time to take stock of your game. I'm not talking about how well you're playing, but when you're playing and how often. Having the support of your partner is more important than you might think. It's difficult to play when you're angry from a fight, feeling guilty, or dodging pillow whacks.

Here are some tips to ensure that poker doesn't damage your relationships more than playing Omaha damages your bankroll.

• Don't play while they're awake - This tip may not matter as much if you don't have children, but if you do, you shouldn't play while your kids are awake. You staring or cursing at a computer while your spouse is chasing around the rug rats? That's the best way to piss off your spouse. Keep that up, and your partner will quickly start to hate poker, and then it becomes something that divides you, and no game is worth that.

• Play more online poker - I know, this looks like a commercial for Ultimate Bet , Full Tilt , Poker Stars or Bodog , (See the highlighted name?) But you should limit the time you spend away from the house, and that means limiting your time spent playing live poker. No one likes to be left alone in the house night after night.

• Don't talk about poker 24 hours a day - Telling her about a hand or him about winning $250 last night is fine. But don't talk about how you bluffed the guy out of $3 or how you've just started playing stud, and especially, if you can help it, don't ever talk about bad beats. You'll most likely just get "Why do you play the game if it angers you so much?"

• Don't watch TV poker all the time - When you're spending time together in front of the tube, it's a safe bet your partner doesn't want to watch another Phil Hellmuth tirade. I hear "Heroes" is a good show. Try it out.

• When you go to Vegas, or visit a casino, don't forget to walk around with him/her.

• I think my plan will be to play poker late at night, when Kate's in bed, and sleep in when she visits the pool. The early evenings are for her.

• Buy an occasional present for her - This may seem like a bribe. It's really not a bribe. Honest. Well, OK, it is.

• Don't obsess over it - Mumbling to yourself all the time about how that donkey played K-10 out of position isn't going to do you any favors at the dinner table when your spouse asks you about your day.

• Don't lose your temper when you play - Yelling at the computer all the time will really start to worry your spouse. Think about it. It's kind of creepy. It's OK to get mad but try not to show it too much. I recently wrote an article offering tips on when it's time to take a break and another on how to avoid going on tilt . Look at those for more advice on this.

• Do something fun with the money - Paying for your kid's college education and buying that sports car with poker money are worthy goals. It probably isn't going to happen. So do something fun with it. I'm paying for our Vegas trip with money I won playing poker. When I told Kate the trip was paid for, and how I paid for it, suddenly, instead of, "Are you playing poker again?" I got "Why aren't you playing poker?" It works every time.


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