Be My Valentine: Poker's power couples in love
We are now less than a week from Valentine's Day, a time to celebrate love in its myriad forms. Moving into this season of overpriced flowers and heart-shaped candy, let's remember that the real gift is getting to watch these relationships play out like we're in our own little gossip mag. And, wouldn't you know it? Over the years Cupid has struck his arrows into the hearts of quite a few poker players, too.
PRESENT DAY LOVE AFFAIRS
Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov
If Liv Boeree wasn't already a crowd favorite on social media, she is now with her positively delightful relationship with Igor Kurganov.
They do cutesy things together like push each other off rocks, play Hide & Seek and, well, this.
And this. That water looks lovely...
Boeree started dating Kurganov back in 2014, and they are going stronger than ever today. We wish them both the very best.
David Sands and Erika (Moutinho) Sands
David Sands met Erika Moutinho in 2005 while traveling through Australia. Moutinho was a casting agent and Sands was her first introduction to poker. She quickly picked up the game, and falling in love was a good omen for the both of them. In 2011, the couple both played in the WSOP Main Event and made a memorably deep run together, with Erika finishing in 29th and David in 30th. Despite both missing the November Nine final table, they each picked up $242, 636. By this time they were also engaged - presumably those winnings meant that the price of champagne at the wedding was no issue...
The pair wed in late March of 2013, and now have a 2-year-old daughter together. When it comes to poker, Doc plays more than Moutinho does, having over $8 million in total live earnings, according to The Hendon Mob. Though he supposedly "retired" from poker in 2014, he can still be seen at some of the WPT and WSOP events each year. Moutinho has a little under $260,000 to her name as far as live earnings go.
Jason Mercier and Natasha (Barbour) Mercier
This couple is fairly under the radar when it comes to how they got together, but records put it somewhere around 2015. What they are known for, however, is the grand proposal.
Jason Mercier proposed to Natasha Barbour at the 2016 World Series of Poker $5,000 No Limit Hold'em final table on July 8, 2016. After she was eliminated in a heartbreaking third place, Jason came over to console her. He offered a hug, whispered in her ear and then dropped to one knee. The obvious next question, "Will you marry me?" was answered with yes from a stunned Barbour.
Instead of a bracelet, she walked away with a ring. What a man for romance.
Mercier and Barbour got hitched on November 20, 2016.
Jennifer Tilly and Phil Laak
This may be poker's tried and true couple for the ages. They've been together for 14 years - almost a lifetime in poker - and even have cutesy nicknames, "Unabomber" and "JtillaTheKilla." But don't worry, these pet names developed after Laak became known for his trademark hoodie at the poker table.
Jennifer Tilly and Phil Laak met at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles during the World Poker Tour's Celebrity Invitational Event in 2004 and then continued into a long he-said she-said before making anything official. Tilly got Laak's number, as the story goes, and then never called. Laak called her out on it and the rest is history.
Both have been hugely successful in tournament and cash games, witnessing each other's victories or close calls in World Series of Poker events and ringing in over $4 million in live cashes among the two of them.
William Kassouf and Stacy Matuson
When William Kassouf talked down Stacy Matuson's queens with 9-high like the boss that he is, we knew something special was going to emerge from the 2016 WSOP Main Event.
Since then, the two have been seeing a lot more of each other, mainly from opposite sides of the felt. After Matuson called Kassouf out on social media they've been heads-up twice, with Matuson taking the victory on both occasions.
Time will tell what's next for the star-crossed pair, but in the meantime, we think we've got a good idea who the #realboss is in this relationship.
Well folks, those are our favorite past, present and possible future poker love matches. We guess you could say all's fair in love and poker?