For the second installment of our questions-from-readers series, Ask the Pros, we put this question from one of our Facebook fans to our pro panel. Here are their candid answers.
Question from Rebecca Fuad: "How do you mix poker and love?"
Leo Margets: The key is being able to switch off from poker from time to time. It's a very absorbing game that takes a lot of time. At a professional level if you want to be there, you do need to think poker almost all the time, not just 9-to-5 like in another job. Because poker is so demanding, you need to be able to set your off-the-game time regularly to dedicate time to your other interests in life--love, family, friends, and whatever other things fulfill you. The good thing is that doing that is ultimately also good for your game.
Fatima Moreira de Melo: My boyfriend and I started playing at the same time, so he totally understands where I'm coming from.
Liv Boeree: There's no definitive answer to this. Do whatever you feel works for you and whomever you're fortunate enough to meet. If you fall in love, that's great. If you don't, that's fine too. The two things can mix well and can also cause problems, like almost all great things in life! Don't worry too much about it either way.
Victoria Coren: Same way you mix anything else and love. Make time for both!
Natalie Hof: In my opinion, it's very important to share some interests in a relationship. Thank goodness my boyfriend is also playing poker. But to be totally honest with you, I try to avoid talking too much with him about hand histories and strategy. We are only playing Sundays or live events together, so the rest of our time it's just a normal relationship with other activities.
I think you need a good balance to keep your love exciting. I think it's actually the same with other hobbies or jobs. You don't want to talk too much about work at home, right?
Vivian Im: I think if the person you love likes poker, too, it won't be much of a problem.
Celina Lin: Whether you're traveling for business or for a major poker tournament, it can be difficult. The Internet certainly makes it much easier now to keep in touch with my family and loved ones.
For me, I try to balance work and my personal life. When I play a poker series, I work hard and enter nearly everything I can. It's important to have a partner who understands that, during this time, you're focused on the game like a sports star would be dedicating everything to his sport during the playoffs. It's my playoffs.
I also try to play more tournaments near home and less internationally. It's a personal choice, but I feel like the tournaments in Macau and Asia are very profitable, and there's no shortage of special events. So even though I might make more money traveling the international circuit, I make the conscious decision to make time for people I care about.
So it's a two-way street. I need a person who loves me as a poker player, but I also make the time to be available outside of poker.
Thanks to all our Facebook fans for submitting these great questions, and a huge thanks to all our pros for taking the time to answer them in such great detail. The next question in our series is about those baffling "favorite hands" and whether or when you should play them.
To read more about all the pros mentioned here, see the PokerStars Women Team Pro page, and to find out more about everything going on at PokerStars Women, including upcoming events, promotions, and more, see our home page.