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For the Love of the Game

February 9, 2022

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February is the month of romance, and plenty of couples have found it at the poker tables! Whether in person or online, some players find their love match in the opponent across the table from them. Let’s take a look at some of poker’s most famous couples.

Professional poker players Stephanie Rivkin and her husband Jason Rivkin married in July of 2021. Soon after, she scored her first circuit ring from the Rio Monster Stack. The two met in the poker scene in 2013, at the Parx Big Stax event in Pennsylvania. After meeting, they began traveling to events together and the rest is history! The two recently announced that they’re expecting their first child. To other poker couples, they offered the following advice: Keep separate bankrolls, save the strategy discussion for post-game, and always make sure to invest in quality time together away from the tables!

Phil Laak and Jennifer Tilly are the most well-known couple in the professional poker world. Tilly was an actress before making the switch over to poker in the early 2000s, while Laak started his poker journey in 1999 at an underground club in New York City. The two met at the World Poker Tour Invitational in Los Angeles in 2004, when Tilly was just beginning to dip her toe into professional poker and Laak was at the top of his game. She approached Laak for help with improving her game. His advice consisted of a few simple phrases: “If your cards add up to 20 or more, keep betting”, “No set, no bet”, and “Never bet on the river, you’ll only get called by a hand that beats you.” The two began to see each other shortly after. They’ve been together ever since.

Dating in the poker world isn’t all sweeping romance, though! What’s the most you’ve ever bet on a game of poker? Russian poker player Andrei Karpov was so desperate to stay in the game that he bet his wife, Tatiana! Unsurprisingly, she is now his ex-wife. She left him for, you guessed it, the winner of the poker game. She and winner Sergey Brodov soon married. The split had more to do with the embarrassment of being used as a bet, but we think the winner’s dominance at poker had a little sway as well. Tatiana had this to say about the affair: “It was humiliating and I was utterly ashamed. But as soon as my ex-husband did that, I knew I had to leave him. Sergey was a very handsome, charming man and I am very happy with him, even if he did win me in a poker game.”

Have you ever met someone special at the tables, poker pals?