How Poker Is Like Dating


Sometimes you hold 'em and sometimes you don't.

Thanks to Kenny Rogers, we all know when to hold them, when to fold them, when to walk away, and when to run. Yes, we know when to break up with a poker game. But, what we might not necessarily know is when to get out of a bad relationship. Turns out old Kenny didn't actually cover that part.

Even so, ending a relationship with someone to whom we have remained committed can be a bit like gambling, particularly if we feel addicted to our other half.

So, how exactly does knowing when to get out of a bad relationship relate to poker? Well, consider these cards:

A pair of eights is not a strong hand: In poker, there are bad hands (having nothing), good hands (pocket rockets), and so-so hands (a pair of eights). As you look at your relationship, consider it in terms of Texas Hold 'Em: is it bad, good, or just so-so?  It is this so-so label where people most often struggle in regards to when to get out of a bad relationship. But, you can find your answer by asking yourself this: would you rather be mediocrely satisfied or would you rather be happy?

Bullies are no fun to gamble with: If you play poker long enough, you'll eventually play with a bully, the guy or girl who seems to raise every hand (especially on your big blind). They gamble boldly and never have anything until the river, when they ultimately get their flush. Yep, bullies are no fun to gamble with. Knowledge of when to get out of a bad relationship can be obtained by asking yourself if you are dating a bully, someone who dictates everything and pushes you around (though not necessarily physically). They might not be any fun to play poker with, but they are even less fun to date.  

Folding can save you lots of frustration: In a game of cards, people fold when they have no hand to play. Sometimes they regret this, but most often it saves them a lot of money. In dating, knowing when to get out of a bad relationship can save you a lot of frustration. If you feel as though your relationship cannot be mended, there is no shame in calling it quits. Doing it sooner rather than later is akin to ripping the band aid quickly off: it might hurt for a second, but then you’ll begin to heal.

Not one person should hold all the cards: If one person holds all the cards in poker, they are pretty much just playing with themselves. Perhaps the same can be said in regards to dating (unhealthy relationships don’t often involve a lot of sex), but this is more applicable because a relationship that is largely one sided has as much chance of success as a Showgirls trilogy.

Sometimes staying in pays off: Chasing a hand in poker is a major element of the game: people make their hand all the time by chasing straights and flushes. And, when they do make their hand, they usually win the pot. With relationships, some are so damaged that getting out of them is as much of a no-brainer as folding seven two off-suit. Others, however, are salvageable.

That's one of the beauties of dating — when two people are willing to work on their problems and their struggles their relationship can often persevere and, what’s more, make them extraordinarily happy. Two people willing to do anything to make their relationship flourish will take the pot pretty much every single time.

To learn more about when to get out of a bad relationship, click here.