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Lessons Card Games Can Teach You About Love and Dating

Photo by Flickr/ CC BYCaption: Can you feel the love?

Poker and dating? Poker and love? We know what you’re thinking; “what’s poker got to do with affairs of the heart?” And while we understand your confusion, if you sit down and think about it, poker and the mindset necessary to be successful at the game has a lot in common with dating.

Still a nonbeliever? Okay then, let’s show what we mean.

Maintaining Self-Control

Now, we’re going to skip over the actual poker skills and talk a little about the psychology of the game. And in this instance, we mean keeping your cool. We’re sure you’ve heard all about the “poker face” and how it’s one of the critical skills for success at the table. Well, this is also true in dating.

Now, we’re not for a moment suggesting that you maintain a stony expression throughout your date; perish the thought. However, not getting overexcited or letting your frustration show when discussing a thorny topic could mean the difference between a one-off date and a relationship.

Knowing When You’ve Been Dealt a Good Hand

As you are probably well aware, poker hands can vary significantly. From the once-in-a-lifetime hand to the downright risky ones, recognizing when you’ve been dealt a good one is a skill that can come in handy. Sound familiar?

Often when we enter a relationship, we find ourselves wondering “what if?” We question the merits of staying in the relationship when something better could be on the horizon. And often, we fail to see that the hand we have is already a pretty amazing one. So, like poker players understand when they are onto a good thing, so too should we be able to recognize when we have found a fantastic partner.

Reading the Signs

A poker player will look for obvious tells that will give away their opponent’s feelings or intentions. Now, you don’t need to be a relationship counselor to understand that reading your date’s body language or understanding the subtle hints they give you is priceless.

Like a poker player watches their opponent carefully, you can pay close attention to your date’s actions and try to figure out if they are interested, nervous or even bored. If you can pinpoint their mood, then you’ll be in a perfect position to adapt to the situation, which brings us to our next point.

Change Your Strategy Mid-Game

Unexpected things happen in poker. It’s expected of a game of incomplete information. So, when things take a sudden change of direction, poker players can immediately adjust tactics in the blink of an eye.

So, how does this apply to love and dating? Well, in the short-term, if your date is bored, you’ll need to mix things up in a hurry and think on your feet or face an early night at home pondering what went wrong. Likewise, if something unexpected happens to challenge the security of your relationship with a long-term partner, you may need to revise your approach by perhaps injecting a little positivity into the relationship.

Knowing When it’s Time to Fold

It’s hard to admit it, but when you know that your opponent holds all the cards and you have nothing to play, it’s time to fold. And yes, we’re talking about relationships there.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your new partner or date isn’t into the idea of a relationship as much as you are. When this becomes clear (see the section “Reading the Signs”), and changing tactics doesn’t have any effect, it’s time to cut your losses and move on. The best poker players are experts at this; and while it may look like they are losing, in the long run, they will come out on top.

As you can see, poker, dating and love do have a lot in common. They say that to succeed in love, you need to gamble, but by taking a few hints from the world of poker, you will at least put yourself in the best position to win. So, before you go on your next date, a few poker home games could be the best preparation you can get.

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