If you can kill at a game of Texas Hold ‘Em, chances are you’re great at dating, too. Here’s why.
You’re willing to take risks.
The more hands you win, the closer you get to claiming the big ol’ pot of money. And to play a hand, you first have to “post a blind,” which is just a fancy way of saying you need to cough up some capital. Don’t play? Can’t win. So think of talking to that beautiful man in the neighboring bowling lane as an investment in the game of l-o-v-e. You don’t have a shot if you aren’t willing to risk a little something, whether that’s pride or poker chips.
You can read people.
Poker is all about psychology, and so is the mating dance. Knowing how to read signals, or “tells,” will help you land dates and do well once you’re on them. But you don’t have to possess a uncanny ability to sniff out subtle tells like Matt Damon does in this awesome scene from Rounders. Reading people outside of secret poker dens is much less complicated. Does that cute girl smile, or furrow her eyebrows, when you approach? Does the man of your dreams respond to your text messages, or leave you hanging? The answer is in the tells. Don’t ignore them.
You can play it cool.
Poker pros practice stoic expressions and sport those fashion-forward green visors to prevent competitors from reading their faces when they look at their cards. We’re not advocating that you buy a copy of The Rules, but not giving away your hand – especially in the beginning stages of a relationship – makes it less likely that you’ll scare off a promising prospect. Instead of pledging undying love after date number one, show a little patience and you might reap a big reward. (Just don’t wear sunglasses on your next dinner date. That would be weird.)
You’re a lucky bastard.
If you’ve ever spent a lazy Saturday afternoon watching the World Series of Poker on ESPN, you know that sometimes, no matter how much one pro outplays another, it can still come down to dumb luck at the final showdown. And this pertains to dating, too. We all know the blissful married couple that met on their first day of college — or in some cases, have known each other since they were little. (Jerks.) Sometimes our circumstances are dictated by the whims of the universe. Not fair, the end.
You know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.
Behold, the most important dating skill of all. In poker, a common rookie mistake is opting to play too many hands. If you want to find someone to ride off into the sunset with, it doesn’t make sense to play a hand unless you have a good chance of “winning” a relationship with that particular person. The tricky part? Knowing when to fold. Stopped seeing a guy because his breath can melt metal? Even a rookie can do that. Broke up with someone with whom you share explosive chemistry because they don’t want to get married … and you do? Much harder. But the sooner you fold a losing hand, the closer you get to being dealt a better one. And maybe even winning the game.
Jess Adamiak is a writer and editor. She lives in a shoebox in Brooklyn.