Playing poker professionally and raising a family with kids? Forget it! It’s hard to find two universes that collide more. Poker with its combination of chance and skill and the everlasting pressure to do well and deal with anxiety in a stressful casino environment is a huge contrast to the calm and secure atmosphere needed when raising kids.
But poker players are humans too. They fall in love. They want to raise a family. Have kids – and not sacrifice their poker career in order to do so.
For the “old guard” – the Doyle Brunson’s of the world – it might not have been all that hard. They were men, and not supposed to change a diaper or stay at home on child’s sick day. But what about the younger generation, and the women poker players who want both a career and a family?
Jennifer Harman has been a role model for all women poker players in so many ways, and raising twin boys – since 2013 as a single mom – while she was playing the biggest games at Bobby’s Room, is truly impressive. When she was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame her kids “were running around screaming saying ‘Mommy is the Best! Mommy is the Best!’” How could you disagree?
In an interview with PokerWomenNews Esther-Taylor Brady (E-Tay), who is married and a mother of a little girl, told: “We try our hardest to keep life grounded for our daughter Kayla. She has a vey normal, activity full 5-year old life. We treat poker as a job and nothing else. For my part I play cash mixed games twice a week at Parx consistently and I’ll play the bigger NL tournaments held at Borgata or Parx”.
With online poker now in New Jersey and online poker sites such as 888poker available around the world, life might just have gotten a little more easy for female poker players with kids.
Speaking of 888poker, Kara Scott, who is an ambassador of the site, recently announced that she is pregnant and expecting a baby with her husband, poker player Giovanni Rizzo. And she posted a picture on Twitter to prove it:
Whether Kara Scott will continue traveling around the world when her child is born, we must wait and see.
Even though Natasha Mercier continued to play tournament poker last year, she and her husband, Jason Mercier, also took some time off to prepare for the arrival of their son, Marco Henry, who was born in October.
— Natasha Mercier (@natasha_mercier) March 23, 2017
On January 8th Jason Mercier announced that he was leaving PokerStars in order to spend more time with his family and not do the full-time travel schedule anymore. Even though the most successful married poker couple in the world is on maternity leave, I expect to see them both back on the felt at the WSOP.
And maybe they will be joined by more poker moms and poker dads? Back in 2015 poker pro Adrienne Rowesome said she had noticed a lot of strollers at the PCA, when she traveled with her son Carrick to play the Women’s Event. She brought her husband, poker player Ryan Carter, along for the ride, because he “has a knack for getting Carrick to sleep and is proficient at those diaper changes! It truly puts my mind at ease knowing that he is well cared for while I’m trying to scoop pots.”
Jennifer Shahade, Katie Dozier, Katie Stone, Katie Swift, Gaëlle Baumann and Victoria Coren are other prominent female players who are trying to combine scooping pots and raising families.