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Old 08-29-2014, 09:01 AM   #1
Rivercard007
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Husband card player

I have a question for wives of players and/or husbands who play.
I have been married for 6 years to a player; I'm 38 and he's 44. He's also a bartender, works 3-4 days a week and makes decent money, no benefits and no future there obviously. His life plan is to make a living playing pro poker. I work at a stressful job about 50 hrs a week as well as freelancing. My pay is ok for our area but doesn't leave much left for savings or vacations, etc. However, my job does provide benefits and a 401k.
I knew he played when we got together but since then, when he isn't working, he's playing online or traveling 45 min to the nearest casinos to play, constantly. The only other hobby is golf, which is at least one day a week. We have no kids.
He's an amazing person but I am becoming more and more frustrated that I am the only one doing anything to better our lives now and plan for the future. I'm sorry, but I can't depend on his big plan when making life decisions. He has no savings or large stash of money to play with. Pretty much everything he wins goes back into the game. He does give me money for bills without fail, but I can't help wondering how much better our lives would be if he spent more time doing something...else. I don't want him to give up the one thing he loves doing the most, but there are so many nights and weekends that he spends hours playing only to get knocked out and then play in cash games to make back his entry, for it all to be a wash 12 hours later. When he does win, and he does sometimes, it perpetuates the cycle-his confidence that he can do this is bolstered even more. I know that he's good and might even be able to make this work but it seems to me that if you aren't starting with a large sum this back and forth could go on forever. He argues that it's not gambling, it's strategy, and I get that, but I also get that there is quite a bit of luck involved given the amount of times he's come home after an entire weekend to tell me he got knocked out just short of the money because "some idiot sucked out at the end."
At what point is enough enough? This is his dream and I want him to have what he wants, but I'm almost 40 and working my ass off and don't feel like this is a partnership at all. I could add that all those hours don't leave time for household responsibilities either, unless you count walking the dog and doing laundry once a week.
Any thoughts are appreciated.

Last edited by ganstaman; 08-29-2014 at 11:39 PM. Reason: transfer from psychology forum
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Old 08-29-2014, 06:15 PM   #2
de4df1sh
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Re: Husband card player

Does he primarily play tournaments?

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Old 08-30-2014, 06:46 AM   #3
LektorAJ
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Re: Husband card player

If it isn't bringing in money because the wins are balanced out by losses then its primarily a hobby. If he is at least breaking even financially then it is a cheap one. Why is this more of a problem than golf, where presumably he has to pay green fees each time?

If he pays his share of the bills then it doesn't matter. Holidays are overrated anyway, how you live for the other 50 weeks of the year matters more. If he is playing golf and poker every day then he is effectively on holiday all the time (except when working in the bar), why don't you organise your life like that? What will this "better" life look like and at what age will you be living it?

Unless of course the situation matters to you. If you want someone who is less of a dreamer and more able to support you financially then that is your choice. It is entirely up to you to decide what your criteria should be in choosing or deciding to stay with a partner, but there are no society-wide norms which are relevant that he is obliged to live by. As you don't have kids, I assume you have separate finances and accounts, so as long as he pays his share of the bills then nothing here is unfair behaviour on his part that outsiders are going to confirm for you.
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:15 PM   #4
Rivercard007
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Re: Husband card player

I guess I don't think it's unfair; I believe that anybody should do what they love (without infringing on others' rights, of course.) I guess I'm just wondering if this is a realistic goal to strive for. It's not just a hobby to him. He studies the game, reading tons of books and just left to play in another tournament. Yes, he primarily plays in tournaments. I can't say for sure that the wins and losses equal one another. If they do, then it is quite a bit of time spent on something that's just a hobby. We do have separate accounts and I don't tell him what do with his money or time...I don't want to be told what to do with mine.
"Golf Day" is different to me; he actually doesn't pay green fees because his friend works there and he plays with friends that day. Even if he did have to pay I wouldn't care, it's just one day. He's outside, he's with friends, he's active-all good things.
Lately I try to look at it from another perspective, as in, what if his big plan was to become a professional musician? Or a writer? He would have to spend just as much time working at that and it may or may not pay off in the end. Is that any less/more noble? I have no moral issue with gambling or casinos or any of that.
Yes, I do think he's a dreamer but the world needs dreamers, too. And who knows, maybe he'll win big today and prove me wrong.
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:15 PM   #5
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Re: Husband card player

The chances of being consistently successful playing tournaments are wayyyy lower than if it were a cash game. Maybe tell him that you're interested in spending more time with him. Ask him if he's willing to set a schedule for when he plays rather than "I got some free time, I'm playing cards." Part of being an adult and in a relationship is knowing that you can't just do whatever you want whenever you want, like you're in your early 20s.
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:42 PM   #6
TAFFYMAN
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Re: Husband card player

If he thinks he can make money playing tournaments then he's wrong. Anyway why don't you just divorce him. Sounds like your gonna give him the ultimatum anyway, quit poker or lose you.

Last edited by venice10; 08-30-2014 at 07:27 PM. Reason: Unneccessary comment.
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:29 PM   #7
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Re: Husband card player

As a male, I can assure you that you aren't going to change him at this point in his life. The reality is that he has a gambling addiction. Almost all poker players have it, whether they admit it or not. He'll have to on his own decide whether he wants to stop. Addicts don't stop unless there is an overwhelming counter-force against it.

Some adapt by being a winning player, turning their addiction into something useful. Unfortunately, your husband has selected something that is nearly impossible be a winner in live play, which is to be a tournament player. Besides being good, you have to have lots of competition between the casinos to keep the tournament fees down. In addition, you need lots of casual participants to have a perpetual edge. If he's driving 45 minutes to play, it is unlikely that's the case.

As long as he's making enough to pay the bills and has you covering the medical, he's got no reason to change. Your choice is to accept it or get rid of him. Good luck.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:24 AM   #8
Rivercard007
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Re: Husband card player

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to respond. I know he plays in several tournaments a week and I suppose cash games in between but the only thing I know for certain is that nothing has really changed. Of course this could all be a byproduct of my working so much-something I can't really help. I'm not one for ultimatums, especially when I know I don't completely understand his side of it, but it's pretty clear that his plan is more pipe dream than anything. So I guess I have my answer. Thanks again for your help.
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Old 09-01-2014, 06:43 AM   #9
LektorAJ
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Re: Husband card player

Nobody mentioned the housework angle. This is a problem in many households and is only relevant to poker in that based on what people here have told you, poker should be thought of as a free-time activity on his part rather than a job arguably entitling him to do less if he is very busy with it. Not an expert but I have observed it works in some couples to ease men into the housework by getting them to do cooking, which women often perceive as drudgery but men perceive as an opportunity for creativity, once they reach a certain level of skill.

I am only partially in agreement with the others about tournament poker. It is highly dependent on the size of the field. I live in a small city and play tournaments with 25-30 entries with the top 4-5 getting paid. Some people enter them maybe 25 nights a month and if they are good they make a profit virtually every month - with hundreds of such tournaments behind them and 10s of finishes in each position it is possible to know if they have an edge or not. If your husband is entering tournaments with 1000s of entrants then it will never be a stable source of income, because the payouts are skewed towards the top few positions - although if he "binks", as we say on this forum, a 6-figure score then you will be able to set yourselves up (at this point you need to be firm about what gets saved and what gets reinvested into the tournament bankroll and don't forget about taxes) but it is difficult to know if he has an edge or not just by looking at past results. Even if your husband is good, binking a big tournament may never happen but it may still happen even if he is bad. That's why tournaments are so popular with amateurs and not with pros, which in theory should give your husband a big edge if he is primarily playing against people worse than him, but it makes it difficult to know if that is the case or not. I suspect your husband knows all this but it is the particular way he has decided to dream.

Whether you call it a hobby, addiction or, as I would, an obsession, it doesn't matter. People have all kinds of habitual behaviour patterns, for example my wife watches trash on TV every night, and these behaviour patterns are are assigned negative labels only in the case when it is something the rest of society either doesn't understand, finds socially unacceptable or when the thing is out and out self-harmful (such as pouring money into slot machines or taking certain drugs). If your husband is paying his share of the bills without fail and without delay then you don't have the negatives associated with self-harmful gambling addiction so this isn't of a different character to my wife's TV habit or my habit of constantly posting on this forum.

It depends where you are, but in the UK, where I am from, there are so many unpublished authors and musicians without record contracts that we don't see those people as more "noble" than wannabe poker pros. Nor do they usually get a side job and pay their share of the bills. All of this depends what you want from life, if you want a man who can bring respect from his social position and can take more of the financial strain off you then that is what you should go for. Men have plenty of politically incorrect criteria when choosing women - nobody can tell you what your criteria should or shouldn't be when choosing a man, they are for you to set alone.

If you are staying with him I think you need still plan some parts of your life separately. As I said before, holidays are overrated, but why not save the money and go on one with your best female friend if there is no chance of your husband saving up for his half of one.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:49 PM   #10
Rivercard007
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Re: Husband card player

You make good points. Most of the people we know, including family, don't understand what he does but I don't think they necessarily find it unacceptable. He presents it in such a way I think they find it kind of fascinating, and are of the opinion that if I'm ok with it then it's fine. When he wins, it's usually somewhere between $1500 and $3000. A couple of times it was around $7000 but that was years ago. He bought my engagement ring after he won. He has paid for a couple of vacations with winnings, since he had the money already and didn't exactly "save" for his share like I did. Still, at this rate, he would have to spend ALL of his time doing this to contribute equally. I know I mentioned housework, etc. but it's not so much the lack of help as it is the time spent, or wasted, however one chooses to look at it.
Most of our time is planned separately already. He works nights at his job and I work normal day hours and nights too with freelance work. Pretty much all vacations now are with my girlfriends.
I have mentioned a few things that could apply to a lot of marriages (dead-end jobs, housework, etc.) If it weren't for this "dream" he has and the ability to try and chase it, he would eventually (I think) get a better job and spend his time making a more stable future for himself and a better life for us together. As it stands now, he doesn't have to because he is working towards that dream. And yes, he considers that time "work time." My original question was, when is enough enough? Or, how long do I wait for this to happen? I will be doing what I'm doing now anyway. I guess nobody could really know if it's a realistic goal or not, or how long I should wait for it to happen. And of course I've made it very easy for him to do this forever if he wanted to. It would have to be an ultimatum on my part to change things now.
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Old 09-01-2014, 01:38 PM   #11
StructureK
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Re: Husband card player

What city do you live in? Are there multiple cansinos around town? Playing tournament s full time generally takes a large bankroll to help with the massive swings. Does he follow responsable bankroll guidelines? What is his roi? Does he know his hourly rate? These are all things a true professional should be able to answer and take seriously. Does he share the financial aspects with you?

Kinda seems like after 6 years you really dont know anything about his financial situation other than "he helps pay bills." Do you own anything together? Do you share any accounts?
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:51 PM   #12
LektorAJ
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Re: Husband card player

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivercard007 View Post
My original question was, when is enough enough? Or, how long do I wait for this to happen? I will be doing what I'm doing now anyway.
As his behaviour isn't prima facie unreasonable or wrong, only you can decide when enough is enough for you personally.

I think it makes sense to try to get him to calculate his hourly. Include gas and other expenses such as buying fast food instead of eating at home, hotels, training videos and books etc. Also include time travelling in the number of hours worked. Ideally you should do it in such a way that you can strip out a separate numbers for local or driveaway, tournaments and cash games. Initially the numbers will be meaningless but as more data goes in the numbers will start to show the truth. Either you will be surprised or he will be surprised but I hope your respective positions will be more compatible if you are basing it on the same data.

You mention you would be doing the same anyway. I am in your age group and I would recommend thinking about what life after divorce would be like, whether it would be better. Presumably you know other people our age who have gone that route. It's not the same as breaking up in your early twenties.

Last edited by LektorAJ; 09-01-2014 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 09-10-2014, 01:14 AM   #13
Chrispy21er
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Re: Husband card player

You should let your husband do what he desires but to a limit. If he is not contributing his share of financial help and is going downhill with his money than put a stop and take him out some other places to make him busy.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:47 AM   #14
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Re: Husband card player

I think you should ask him to keep track of his play on excel or something like that. He should be able to clearly see how profitable he is or isn't, how many hours he's putting in, how much time he spends driving, gas/costs etc and reevaluate. Numbers don't lie if you keep accurate track.

I was guilty of not doing this for the longest time and it definitely hindered my growth as a player not being unbiased about my own results. Since I started looking without blinders, I can be more realistic about my expectations.

I will say in his defense, pokers not the same it was before 2011 and its much harder without access to the major sites as far as online goes. Maybe that will change in the future and his expectation of earning will go up.
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:11 AM   #15
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Re: Husband card player

You should speak to an attorney. If you're going to stay with your husband you need to considering protecting your 401K via a post-marital agreement. In many states, if you divorce, he will be entitled to a portion (usually one-half) of all assets accumulated during the marriage, including your 401k. The longer you stay married, the less he contributes to your overall future, the more he will get of what you've earned while supporting his lifestyle. Or, if you're a gambler at heart, you can just gamble that someday he will have a huge tournament cash-out, but understand that your "bet" in that endeavor is likely half of your retirement savings.

Meanwhile, you haven't described a good marital partner. You both seem to lead very separate lives. He sounds like a great roommate -- he's almost never there and pays his 1/2 of the bills. But roommates don't cash in on your retirement plan down the road.
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:35 AM   #16
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Re: Husband card player

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRyno View Post
The chances of being consistently successful playing tournaments are wayyyy lower than if it were a cash game. Maybe tell him that you're interested in spending more time with him. Ask him if he's willing to set a schedule for when he plays rather than "I got some free time, I'm playing cards." Part of being an adult and in a relationship is knowing that you can't just do whatever you want whenever you want, like you're in your early 20s.
Why do you suggest is it harder to be consistently successful at tournaments than cash games. In my experience MTT's can be the softest form of poker.
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:42 AM   #17
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Re: Husband card player

This situation is impossible to judge without knowing your husbands results.

In my opinion it really comes down to if he is a winner and if so how much. Because this is ultimately is the litmus test for any poker player in terms of whether it is worth persueing to any great degree.
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:06 PM   #18
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Re: Husband card player

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omahaha View Post
Why do you suggest is it harder to be consistently successful at tournaments than cash games. In my experience MTT's can be the softest form of poker.
Because the variance of MTTs is absurdly higher than any other form of poker.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:46 AM   #19
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Re: Husband card player

Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen of No View Post
You should speak to an attorney. If you're going to stay with your husband you need to considering protecting your 401K via a post-marital agreement. In many states, if you divorce, he will be entitled to a portion (usually one-half) of all assets accumulated during the marriage, including your 401k. The longer you stay married, the less he contributes to your overall future, the more he will get of what you've earned while supporting his lifestyle. Or, if you're a gambler at heart, you can just gamble that someday he will have a huge tournament cash-out, but understand that your "bet" in that endeavor is likely half of your retirement savings.

Meanwhile, you haven't described a good marital partner. You both seem to lead very separate lives. He sounds like a great roommate -- he's almost never there and pays his 1/2 of the bills. But roommates don't cash in on your retirement plan down the road.
I think you lay too much blame on the husband as it takes two to tango in making a good marriage.

And unless the husband is earning half the income, it is unfair if he is actually paying half of the bills. Let's say that he earns a third of the total household income but does pay half of the bills. This means he is paying a greater percentage of his income toward the bills than the one earning the majority of the household income. Each partner's share of the total bills should be based on their contribution to the household income in other words.

OP, what did the husband say when you told him all you told us? You have said something to him, haven't you?

Last edited by Doc T River; 10-08-2014 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:51 AM   #20
goddangitall
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Re: Husband card player

I'd leave you if I was him.

I mean, do you love the guy? Seems to me he's pulling his weight.

Support him or you'll drive him away....maybe deep down you wouldn't mind that. In that case, get it over with. He's not gonna change..trust me, I know the type.

Does he make you laugh?Is he a kind person? Is he good in the sack/are you still attrackted to him? These are the things you should really ask yourself...

Good luck. (women are the rake in life....kiddin')
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Old 10-09-2014, 01:15 PM   #21
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Re: Husband card player

Hope you are still reading this thread, OP.

Does your employer offer free counseling? If yes, I would look into it as you need MAJOR Help and I'm not talking about from me.
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:39 PM   #22
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Re: Husband card player

a relationship advice thread in which half of the posters are clamoring for divorce, what a surprise.
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Old 10-12-2014, 11:51 AM   #23
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Re: Husband card player

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehelper View Post
Because the variance of MTTs is absurdly higher than any other form of poker.
Not true if you can find the right game/schedule.
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Old 10-12-2014, 12:23 PM   #24
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Re: Husband card player

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Originally Posted by Omahaha View Post
Not true if you can find the right game/schedule.
It absolutely is true. Look up the bankroll management strategy video from Chris Ferguson and he'll explain how much variance plays into MTTs. You don't have nearly as much control in MTTs as you do in cash games.
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Old 10-13-2014, 07:00 PM   #25
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Re: Husband card player

The variance discussion is off topic.
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