02 April 2006

Relationships and Poker: Testimonial II

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Soccer Saturday, with the Big Guy (my ten-year old) scoring his first goal of the season. He really played well, which was nice to see. I coached his team's practice Friday which was fun (after All-in's practice, my eight-year old). We got beat 3-0, but we really played well against a superior team. 0-0 at halftime, then All-in was in goal for the three goals in the second half. Defensive lapses led to three goals, and he made some great stops (one with his neck which brought him out of the game). I got some sun. When you are an old fart (41), you aren't as young as you used to be, which I never remember. I used to bronze nicely, now I burn nicely.

I was going to hold off another day with this post but I think the thoughts below are just very, very insightful. This is from the wife of a player and blogger, and her thoughts and feelings really hit home. C

I've been thinking about this relationship issue that you asked about. After almost a year of menage a trois (him, me and poker), here is my general evaluation:
First, my general gut feelings about internet poker haven't changed. I like card games and I am, personally, quite competitive. I love to play games. But online poker is addictive and it is anti-social. This is generally speaking, of course. The blog relationships do help, but they still are not akin to a night out interacting with real people. Instinctually, I have always felt there is a kind of sickness in getting sucked into anything internet related. Although poker is far more mindful, in a way, it is like television: it draws you away from the real world
Second, I love my husband and I love the part of his personality that makes him dedicated to something. So when I think about poker, I remember when I met him, and he was really into learn to fly planes. Every minute that he wasn't at work, it seemed he was thinking about planes and when he could get another lesson in. He was studying and he was talking about it. Of course, for me, the difference is that I liked the idea of flying planes: even if it was expensive, it was a hobby that took him outside, got him interacting with other people, and it fulfilled a lifelong dream for him. Also, it was something very different from what he did all day at the office: ie. sitting at the computer, staring at a screen. It was also in line with all of the things we, together, said we wanted to do with our lives. Which leads me to the third issue.
The third and most relevant issue for me is that poker does not fit the profile of the life we designed together. I was 34 when I got married. I was very selective and didn't just want to marry anybody. Before we got married, my hubby and I talked for a long time about the kind of life we wanted together, and the way we wanted to raise our children. It involved alot of outdoor activities, priorities set for spending and making time for each other, living somewhere, eventually, where we can design our lives around the home, and around our family. It didn't involve either of us sitting and playing internet card games for hours at time. Or the vision that that might be the way we make a living. Or, when that living fell through, that instead, that would be a primary hobby.
In a way, internet poker is like having a in-law move in with you, and then never leave. I don't feel like I can talk about it to my hubby without him getting defensive about it. I just have to deal with it. I just have to work my life around it. I don't feel like I am allowed to dislike it or even say "No" to it. All of a sudden, it just IS. It's as if it never wasn't. And I get a very sick feeling that unlike the in-law, it will not die or move to a nursing home some day. It is here to stay. If I want to live with my hubby, I have to like internet poker and that is that. Period.
The funny thing about talking about this to other poker players: it's like trying to talk about a smoking ban to an understanding group of smokers. They understand, but they still light up their next cigarette. My hubby and I can try to "compromise" but the compromise will always involve internet poker, which, to me is not a compromise. I could send him "outside" to play poker, but then I (and eventually our children) will still lose all that time with him.
And for what? A little game? A little money? Sure everyone needs a distraction, but why not a home game every couple weeks? If it is every night, for a few hours, I think it is starting to look more like an obsession, or a habit, or a problem.
So no, I still am not convinced. So I just try to be understanding. And that goes in fits and starts.
Last night, I was working at the pub. I had had a great day working on my book and I left a few pages for my hubby to read when he got home. I was excited about the work I had done. I have only a couple times before let him read something from my book, so I thought he would be quite excited to read it. I called him about 10 p.m. and as usual he was in the middle of a sit-and-go. I asked how he was doing. He said he was up a little bit. Then I asked what he thought of the pages I left for him. I was really excited to hear what he thought. "Oh, I haven't read them yet. You know I don't read until I am in bed." Well, sure, but that is any other author's work. Not mine. It wasn't the whole novel or even a chapter. It was 3 and half pages.
When he gets home from work and I am at class or working, he doesn't even put his clothes away. They just drops on the floor and he is at the computer. It isn't until he is ravenous that he goes to get something to eat. How do I know? Because I come home and I can see the trail.
We have tried to set a schedule and it is working somewhat. But still it isn't much of a compromise for him. The only compromise for him, in my mind, is that he has to, occasionally, listen to me complain about it and pretend like he cares. He says he does, but the problem is action. I plan our schedule for the week, including time for his poker, an evening out with friends, lots of things. He is passive and accepts it all, instead of taking the reins and making plans as well.
I think that is the one tip I can give poker players for helping their relationship with their wife/husband/partner: They need to consciously plan something different and fun and intimate (not sex-related!) for the two of them. Poker is such a default activity for them: it is a time-space filler. My hubby comes home and if we (that is, I) haven't made any plans, then he is playing poker, or we are planted on the couch. If we are on the couch, then I am supposed to count that as "quality time" together. ARGH! It only takes a little thought and a little time to plan an evening or a weekend afternoon, even if it is just going out for burgers or going to the coffeehouse and reading the paper together, or going to listen to some jazz at a local bar. You don't have to go out for hours. Or you could stay in and play tequila-shot Monopoly together (as some friends of ours like to do). The issue is PLANNING and thought. And giving your partner some of your time, showing her you don't just want to play poker all of the time.
Of course, I have told my hubby this, and he is crap at it. I think I might need to draw him a diagram, possibly in the form of a poker table.

Something to be read and re-read (or at least I have). Putting this up Sunday as no one ever comes here on Sunday plus I'm not sure how I'll get online this week in G-Vegas. Furman's food court has been the locale of choice for me, but I'll have to see. Finally, my Monday Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, where I see where the links to my blog lead.
  • Bloody P: You always know that he's left a comment because of the dripping blood you have to clean up from your blog! His blog description is that he's a newbie resisting the urge to push all-in with AQs. Look, if you live in Minnetonka, AQ is probably the best you'll see in the Arctic, so jam.
  • Poker Champ: Some bad beats in NeverBluff's recent times, with a break-up caused in part by moving away from his never-bluff philosophy. Look, sometimes calling stations call your bluff, so you have to really pick the right time to bluff. It took me awhile to figure out cricket=darts and not cricket. One of the challenges in hitting a new blog for the first time. gl, neverbluff.
  • Gambling Blues: BG is one of the elite bloggers, although I have to confess I've never been to his site until today. Titled Random Thoughts and Thoroughbred Selections, BG is buds with Pauly and the big dawgs, having been part of the Playboy Mansion crew.
  • Steal the Blinds: I think three folks do this blog, jaxia, beck, and mike. Looks very interesting, so I'll have to come back and explore. jaxia is a big believer in the hammer and quads, so beware.
  • 21 Outs Twice: Chris Fargis is a pro from Brooklyn, home of Junior's Cheesecake. I go to his blog fairly regularly, with his triple draw stories always making me thankful I don't have a $70k bankroll and the desire to bluff guys for monster pots with a pair of threes.
  • Nord's Poker: nordberg is one of the online poker legends, a true master of the game. Any player who types "Well another good day for me. I won the WSOP $30 rebuy on Stars for another World Series seat..." has to be fairly good. Man, can you imagine typing those words? I think I'm gonna cry.
Have a great Monday. Think of me on the course.


Blogger Tony said...

Best real-life writing I've seen out there on the real grind of a poker player vis a vis family life. Keep up the fantastic writing, bud.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Klopzi said...

When my wife and I first started living together, I obsessed over video games. She thought it was nerdy and was probably a little embarrassed.

Now, my "addiction" is poker. And it's true that if we don't have plans, poker is the fallback for the evening.

Although I know it bothers her from time to time that I'm constantly thinking about poker and that I'd play poker at any point in time given the chance, we do spend time together away from the laptop.

It's tough at times, but so far so good.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Bloody P said...

Hey CC, thanks for the shout out! Your series is mucho fantistico, yo.

I'll try to clean up the bloody p on the way out. ;)

1:34 PM  
Blogger Drizztdj said...

I went from gaming to poker because it was less time consuming and I could quit when I wanted to.

I never imagined getting into this game so deeply though.

1:40 PM  
Blogger cc said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Tony. klopzi, as I've had a chance to see several thoughts from wives on this, it sounds like mixing in some pre-planned time for her is a good next step. That might mean specific nights focused on her or planned things where you are in her world (vs. fallback). drizztdj, I think the challenge for me (and maybe you) is that I really do enjoy it and want to become better at it. And that takes time over a long period of time. And therein lies the rub.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Scott Cunningham said...

The husband sounds a lot like me - probably on the slightly OCD end of the spectrum. I wonder if that's really common among poker addicts. (probalby since OCD is more or less synonymous with addictive personality)

11:43 AM  

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