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She’s beautiful! You lock eyes for slightly longer than should be comfortable. A second feels like a lifetime and towards the end of that second you get that feeling that you ‘really might be in there.’ She waves. “Oh my god, is this for real??” She starts walking right towards you, smiling all the way. You’re about to open your mouth and then, whoosh, right past you and into the arms of Barry Greenstein. Well maybe not.

One thing is for sure: meeting girls at poker tournaments isn’t easy. But then nothing worthwhile ever is.

Get away from the table


I’ve read before that meeting girls at the table just won’t work. Everyone is game-focused and the claustrophobic nature of the seating kills your action. Whilst there’s some truth to this, it is far from the be all and end all. Take it from someone who has tried relentlessly and shamelessly in these situations, over and over again: it is possible. If there’s one thing poker has taught us, it’s that anything is possible.
Obviously, if you’re away from the table you are more likely to have the space and freedom to meet and talk to someone on your own terms.

You’ve got to gamble to win

If you see someone you like, go ahead and talk! They say you learn more from failure than from success. If thats true, then my infinite number of lessons have taught me that if you want to say hey, then go for it. Its an old cliche, but its true that you don’t have anything to lose by trying. Apart from pride and dignity.. meh. A lot of girls I have met have said that they actually like a guy who will take a chance and start a conversation.

What it boils down to for us poker players? We need to gamble.

Don’t rush


A poker metaphor serves well here; you won’t win the tournament in the first hand. The nature of this point is especially important if you find yourself seated at the table with a girl you like. Whatever your aims; passionate romance or long term companionship, you are unlikely to ‘get there’ right away. 

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Fools rush in, so take your time and enjoy making friends with her. I’ve heard people say that’s too dangerous and you’ll just end up planted firmly in the friend-zone. Well, it’s just not true. By taking a positive, friendly approach early on, you’ll probably both have more confidence in each other and avoid that awkward moment when someone realises you’re madly into it and so feels you’re too easy. Don’t bother with chat-up lines, or anything preconceived. Just relax and enjoy yourself like you would with any of your friends.

Contact details

Everything about tournament poker is unpredictable, including how long the girl will hang around. If you’re at the table, you’re both probably one sick run-out from being out of there. If you’re just around the tournament buzz in general, then you never know when the friend she’s railing might be ready to go, or she might have some other event to head to. So you need to make sure that you stay in touch. In my experience, it is better to give your info rather than ask for hers. It leaves the ball in her court, so you won’t be at risk of seeming pushy. This can work best as an imperative, rather than a question, “I have to go meet my friend, take my facebook!” or “Here’s my number, gimme a message and let me know how you get on!” You’re not asking for anything, so you’re way less likely to get shot down.

When it comes to meeting women, I’m no Rod Stewart, but after countless attempts I have noticed one similarity with live poker; that it’s not always exactly what you do, but how you do it. Smile, have fun and remember, fortune favours the brave.



It sounds quite obvious. But its a game changer. Whilst everyone has their poker face on, your smile will be a fresh and reassuring presence. How many times have you found yourself attracted to someone because of their smile? So go ahead and flash your teeth, see what happens. Chances are, if you felt it inside, she will too. You’ll no doubt appear happy and confident, a great start when meeting someone for the first time.


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Craig Fulton