Online poker players are a unique breed. Ask them to make dinner and it might- quite rationally – be toast served in a bowl. Ask them what day it is and they might struggle unless it’s a Sunday. Ask them to go to the toilet every 60 minutes at 55 minutes past the hour and they’ll happily comply.
During this enforced lockdown due to the Coronavirus lockdown, however, we honour the poker widows and widowers who are abiding their poker partner at this difficult time. Here are seven ways that you, the poker player, can make their lives easier. Much easier.
1. Resist Telling Bad Beat Stories
This is easily the most important tip we can provide. No matter how much you’re tempted to do so, do NOT tell your poker spouse a bad beat story. Yes, even if it was a one-outer and cost you the 14th Anniversary Sunday Million.
Bad beat stories are best saved for round table discussions you’ll have in the future with specific guests The Pope, Tyson Fury and the ghost of Winston Churchill, that is to say for the 12th of never.
Bad beat stories don’t help you, they really don’t. They can often feel like you’ve vented at the time and letting go of stress can help. It’s like swearing when you stub your toe on a piece of Lego discarded by a child as if to land perfectly under the sole of your bare foot on the stairs as you descend them for breakfast. You curse invisible gods past and present and immediately feel a little better. But later, when you’re eating toast out of your favourite bowl, you’ll have forgotten that momentary equalisation of your temper and a bad beat story can become a crutch that’s addictive. As Fast Eddie Felson is told in The Hustler by Fats Domino after the latter beats him, ‘You were looking for an excuse to lose.’ Letting go of the ability to tell bad beat stories releases you from that crutch.
2. Stay Fresh
It goes without saying that existing is close proximity to another human being – or several – for a serious amount of time is a difficult thing to do. Humans are creatures of necessity and we invented cars, planes and bicycles to name just three commonly used methods of getting away from each other!
In lockdown, however, everything changes. Couples who normally see other for four waking hours each weekday are going to spending a lot more time together, and that can lead to several points of friction. Can you believe some people will happily eat toast out of a bowl for example?
One of the biggest annoyances you can inflict upon your better half (face facts) is not to smell your freshest. Despite what some spouses might say, online poker sessions lasting eight hours or more are hard, intensive work, they really are. Unless you’re extremely quick in the shower then you’re going to try on deodorant – and lots of it. Make sure you shower at least one side of each session and be sure to freshen up before sleep. Waking up to a poker player who’s suffered a one outer and used up all the bowls is one thing. If they smell like an old egg sandwich, it’s quite another.
3. Share the Wealth
If you are successful at the online felt, then the best thing you can do with your money is to help other people. Of course, for many people this will start at home, as their nearest and dearest may have lost jobs or are feeling the pinch of using more energy now the whole family are at home.
If you have any spare, however, there are a number of ways you can donate, with the Red Cross, International coronavirus appeals and ways to back doctors and nurses in their fight to rid the world of COVID-19 all possible causes to boost.
As the world waits for a cure, you can use your online poker winnings for massive good.
4. Spend More Time in Reality
When you’re not playing online poker, one of the most important things you can do is to engage with your family and friends in their daily life. From using your garden for exercise or connecting over a board game or playing alternative card games that others might enjoy, stay rooted in reality.
Anyone can get sucked into their phone, diving through statistics on the latest news, but you might not be helping your nearest and dearest, and may well be hindering them maintaining a mentally healthy, balanced lifestyle during the crisis. Stay engaged in reality.
5. Hand Over the Remote Control
The understandable temptation once you’ve finished a small session at the virtual felt might be to put on your favourite TV show, but be mindful of others in the house. If you have children, then they’re going to need a lot of entertaining during the enforced lockdown. They’re used to being at school and there’s very little that’s fun about home schooling, for the child or the parent.
If your other half has been donning the teacher’s hat all day, then they should probably decide whether you’re watching Prison Break or Pottery Throwdown. It just makes good sense to defer this decision at this time of crisis.
6. Ask About Them
While you’re probably still in touch with many of your friends, backers, family and others via online communication tools and video conferences, your partner might not be as comfortable with the idea of digital dealing that part of their life.
Helping them stay in touch with others is a good idea, but now is the time to step up and be the person they share a coffee with, or chat over the water purifier. You’re both going to need to be each other’s best friend, but while you still have the same outlets to communicating with others, they might not.
7. Wash Your Hands
Doesn’t seem so important when you’re just tapping away at a keyboard all day, does it? What about holding a mouse and clicking buttons, clean activity, right? Dead wrong. Keyboards and mic in general harbor germs. They’re a breeding ground for muck and dirt and you’re at them all day.
Keep those hands washed, and make sure that you do it for 20 seconds at a time. Here are some handy song lyrics to practice while you do so to make sure that you’re doing it for long enough, in honour of the late, great Kenny Rogers.
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run.
You never count your money
When you’re sitting at the table
There’ll be time enough for counting
When the dealing’s done…”