Notes From a Significant Other

This guest post comes courtesy of Kilo, wife of a full-time advantage player (and no slouch at the tables herself)

My husband is a professional gambler, which is an obscure career choice to explain to people at parties and social events.  Most people don’t understand gambling. Most people are convinced of the idea that gambling is a quick way to lose your house and life savings. So, when I explain to people that my husband’s sole source of income comes from advantage play, I often feel like a social pariah.

Being in a relationship with a professional AP may be difficult for some. The travel, the uncertainty, the monetary swings, the odd hours, and the casino environment may be deal breakers. My husband travels out of state two to three times a month in search of new AP opportunities. Many traditional professions require travel, but AP travel is different in the sense that it may be impromptu and less structured than, for example, a planned trip to a convention.

Being the introvert that I am, I enjoy the alone time as much as I enjoy his company. I realize that travel is a necessary component of his profession that allows him the income and lifestyle that we enjoy together. His absence has not affected me adversely, however the situation may be different if our family dynamics were to change. He enjoys being an AP—the distance apart is a small price to pay for his happiness and fulfillment. I know he’d do the same for me.

If I summed up the most important concept for a successful relationship with an AP, it would have to trust. Trust, of course, is the foundation for any healthy relationship, but this is especially paramount in a relationship where one member lives such an esoteric lifestyle.

I have a mathematical background, so I understand the monetary value of a player’s edge. I understand the uncertainty of individual results, and the concept of “making money” in the long run. My husband has done an excellent job at explaining the advantage he has over the house, what a particular play is worth given the constraints, and statistically how likely the results will be. His favorite phrase is “trust the math.” 

But what if you don’t understand the math? Some skepticism is good. I’ve come to realize that many APs overestimate their edge—walking a fine line between advantage and disadvantage—especially with plays yielding lower edges and higher variance. This understanding is often even more limited for their significant other. This is where trust becomes key. If I didn’t understand the math behind what my husband was doing, I’d have to rely on his judgement. How are his financial management skills? Is he impulsive? Does he take big risks? These questions should be considered in any serious partnership. 

When you think about it, many of the elements of an AP career overlap with that of a more traditional lifestyle. Being married to an AP is akin to being in a relationship with anyone ambitious and serious about their career. We live a stable, relaxing, and fulfilling life, which is partially made possible by his choice to pursue such an unconventional line of work.