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DH and poker

(55 Posts)
needlesswidow Tue 11-Feb-14 00:42:40

DH plays a lot of poker. Bordering on semi-professional, he has a winning record. I know this as I see our bank statements. I see what he withdraws at the beginning of an evening and what he puts back in at the end of the evening.

We have both enjoyed a more comfortable life from some of the extra cash he has brought in, which is like a third salary.

When we were first together he played poker a lot, I assumed it was just a hobby that he played with friends, but since we moved in together and subsequently got married I realised that it is in a professional context with strangers at a card room in London. I have visited him and watched some of his games and they are quite formal with high stakes.

I have a problem dealing with it and I'm not totally sure why. Sometimes DH can spend all night playing. He can leave the house at 5pm after work, and not get back til 5am. Often he has to work the next day and becomes exhausted, moody and unavailable.

When he wins he is happy, but the occasional time that he loses he gets very angry and takes it out on everyone around him. DH is on holiday from work at the moment, but for three nights now he has been out all night playing. He suffered a loss the first night and came back at 6am very angry. He said that I had caused him stress during the day and he had not gone to poker in the right mood. He compared himself to a professional athlete and said that the spouses of professional athletes have to be careful not to upset them before a game because the stakes are so high. He also says that he needs to retain testosterone because it makes him more aggressive during the game, and so refuses to have sex when he goes.

On average he goes three times a week, but recently due to his holiday it's been quite intense.

The reason he feels I upset him was because I had complained to him about something in the house - not doing the housework - and we had a bit of bickering before he left for the card room.

But to be blamed for him losing I think is outrageous. He is a grown man making his own decisions, I have not cost him a loss by communicating with him like any other DW to her DH.

Does his anger when he loses point towards the fact he could be addicted? Whenever I bring up the possibility of an addiction he gets extremely upset and angry with me. And he reminds me how much I enjoy the life his extra earnings afford us. (He made about £70K tax free from playing poker last year and it has helped us hugely with the mortgage and looking after both of our ill parents.)

We are TTC at the moment and I have been using OPKs. According to the OPKs, tonight is the night. I've told him, but he's not coming home to DTD.

AIBU or is he BU?

What should I do?

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Tue 11-Feb-14 01:17:02

Have you talked about what he would do once you had a baby? Working an extra job with a small child is pretty tough going.

I would stop TTC until you've talked it out. It sounds like he's unlikely to stop so it's a question of whether you can live with it.

And blaming you for his losses is ridiculous BTW.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 11-Feb-14 05:29:08

You don't have to validate your feelings. Replace the poker with any other job and what you've got is someone who is very bad-tempered, self-absorbed, detached from family life, blames you for his own failings and subjects you to angry outbursts when challenged. He may or may not be addicted to gambling but bottom line is that you're describing a selfish and unreasonable bully who thinks it's OK to mistreat you. That's why you're unhappy. YANBU

Please stop TTC. Selfish bullies do not make good partners and they are lousy fathers.

ImagineJL Tue 11-Feb-14 09:39:13

I think he's addicted. What happens when you go on holiday together? Can he manage a couple of weeks without gambling?

Offred Tue 11-Feb-14 09:47:16

Agree with cog. It doesn't matter whether he's addicted or not. I suspect you would like it to be an addiction so that you could blame all his terrible behaviour on him being addicted and believe there was hope if he got help. That way madness lies.

He's not capable of a relationship. You should definitely not be TTC and I think you should leave him to his precious poker.

KissesBreakingWave Tue 11-Feb-14 10:00:07

Semi pro at his hobby and spending more time on it than you? Yeah, twat. It's an exciting game to play, lot of adrenaline, winning at anything is a rush, but being that focussed on a hobby? Yeah, you should get shut.

AnyFucker Tue 11-Feb-14 10:05:26

Have a baby with this man ?

Car crash waiting to happen

JeanSeberg Tue 11-Feb-14 10:10:29

I'd also keep your finances separate, or at least keep some money of your own on one side. I'm always sceptical about gamblers who claim they rarely lose.

Clutterbugsmum Tue 11-Feb-14 10:18:46

DH plays poker at lot (not to your DF level). But it doesn't impact on our family life.

He may get angry/upset if he loses but he doesn't let effect every one else in the house. He also wouldn't play a tournament if it will mean he may not be able to go into work the next day. Also he has a separate wallet for his poker money so apart from his initial stake all winning and loses are taken from it. If he does win a large amount of money then that's used for family/house things.

As others have said you partner sounds like he is a angry bully anyway.

Jan45 Tue 11-Feb-14 12:28:10

Sorry but he will end up losing most of it as he carries on, nobody stays on top, he's a gambler and addicted and clearly sees that as more important than his family life. You both work so this extra money is not needed, he does it out of enjoyment, not necessity. If you can be happy always coming second best then fine, but really, why should you.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 11-Feb-14 12:36:10

What do you get out of this relationship now?. I would seriously think about your future with this man because there may not actually be one.

There are some serious problems here and having a baby by him will make this already bad situation a thousand times worse. I would stop the ttc as of now, its totally unfair to bring a child into this.

What is the longest period of time he has gone without gambling?

I have never seen a poor casino or casino owner, the house always wins.

And what Cogito wrote below:-
"He may or may not be addicted to gambling but bottom line is that you're describing a selfish and unreasonable bully who thinks it's OK to mistreat you. That's why you're unhappy"

tinkertitonk Tue 11-Feb-14 13:28:59

If your DH goes out to play serious poker when he is angry he is at a massive disadvantage against the other players and will lose. Given that his winnings are like a third salary (and 70 K a year shows that he is really good at it) bickering just before he leaves is deeply damaging to your own interest, because losing will be like a negative third salary. Choose different times for discussions of his shortcomings, and believe him when he tells you his requirements for winning. You may decide to LTB anyway, but don't do so on the basis of the advice you've had so far, which does not strike me as informed.

SanityClause Tue 11-Feb-14 13:42:14

That may be true, tinkertitonk, but the OP needs to have a serious think about whether she wants to live this life, where she cannot upset her DH, in any way, lest they lose vast sums at poker.

Is the extra money worth the effort of walking on eggshells around her DH?

I don't think I could do it, but then, I haven't got the opportunity to benefit from the additional income, either.

SanityClause Tue 11-Feb-14 13:45:01

And, FWIW, needless, I think it's irrelevant whether he is addicted. You need to make your decision about whether this life is for you, whether he can't stop doing it, or simply won't stop doing it.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Tue 11-Feb-14 13:45:42

You are married to an immature bully who thinks he is special.

Do not have a baby with him until he grows up.

JeanSeberg Tue 11-Feb-14 14:01:41

Sounds like you're apologising for his behaviour tink and that the OP should keep her mouth shut. I hope I've misread that. hmm

How about if he pulled his weight around the house then she wouldn't need to speak to him in the first place?

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 11-Feb-14 14:40:20

"Choose different times for discussions of his shortcomings, and believe him when he tells you his requirements for winning"

All hail the Big Important Man ... is that it? hmm

Jan45 Tue 11-Feb-14 14:42:41

Is that 70 grand not taxable??? So he's already committing tax fraud.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 11-Feb-14 14:46:40

No it's not taxable and he must be very good to make that amount of money.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 11-Feb-14 14:52:33

This is what I would do if I was married to someone who did that job:

1. Keep full sight of finances because it's easy to fall into addiction. Agree a sum set aside for a stake - if he won 70k last year I would set aside 20k. On no account would I contribute normal job or family money to it.

2. My dh wouldn't start a heated discussion with me before work, nor would I with him. The difficulty here is that he may be working all the time if he has two jobs? Maybe there should be constraints around the time committed to the second job? Maybe he could give up his day job and only 'work' nights at poker so that it is constrained in that way?

LaurieFairyCake Tue 11-Feb-14 14:54:51

And I had to laugh at the 'testosterone' needed - not for female players obviously grin

Victoria Coren makes a lot of money from poker, fairly sure she's worried about David Mitchell taking her power to win away.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 11-Feb-14 14:55:17

not worried

Dahlen Tue 11-Feb-14 15:01:03

I thought good poker players had excellent self control because that's how they hide their tells, etc. How come he can apply it during a game but not in an argument with you? What's more important to him - poker or his relationship with you?

I think he's a bully who's relying on the sweetener of his winnings to coerce you into putting up with his bad behaviour. Whether or not he or you are aware of it, you're being groomed for an abusive relationship here.

Amethyst24 Tue 11-Feb-14 15:13:04

As others have said, if he's making that kind of money he knows his stuff, and I don't think the comments about inevitably losing/sliding into addiction are by any means true. A lot of very successful poker players do have gambling problems but they tend to play roulette/craps/bet on horses etc for their "problem" gambling. Poker at that level is a game of skill as much as luck and top players don't lose for the hell of it/because they lose control (well, they do obvs, but rarely, and it's a problem they would immediately address).

However, if it's bringing in that kind of money, it is, as others have said, a second job, and that means he needs to be calm and professional in his approach and not let "work" and his personal life affect each other adversely.

I think a full time job, playing a lot of poker and a family aren't really compatible tbh, if only because the hours are so antisocial. I'd be putting off having a baby until he's either able to play full time or decides to play a lot less.

Amethyst24 Tue 11-Feb-14 15:16:02

And I would add that if you're just viscerally uncomfortable with his poker playing, he is probably not the right person for you - it says a lot about the kind of lifestyle you want, the way you view risk etc. I wouldn't like to be in a relationship in which I was constantly worried about everything coming crashing down around my ears, or thought there was something fundamentally dodgy about where a chunk of our income was coming from, either.

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