If Love Was a Game of Poker

I refuse to gamble my hand at the possibility of losing you.

Fayth Ong
3 min readFeb 5, 2024
Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

We’ve all heard the old-adage saying, “love is a game.”

But if love has to be played, then I refuse to participate and be a pawn in fate’s hands. In games, there will always be someone who wins — someone who’ll scream with their head held high, and with their hands pumping through the air with the overwhelming emotion of happiness, with everyone cheering for the victor. But there will also always be someone who loses. Screaming with their heads hung low, and with their hands beating the ground, lips quivering with the overwhelming emotion of defeat, while everyone stands in despair, in disappointment, and in I-told-you-sos. And I refuse to gamble my hand at the possibility of losing you.

I was told to strategize. Never allow yourself to lose. Never let all of your cards show. Never unveil your emotions. Keep a straight face, don’t let anything slip.

If love was a game of poker, I’d surely lose. How could I possibly have the upper hand? How can I memorize each card being laid down? How can I see the patterns with each move made? How could I hide behind an emotionless expression when my heartbeat betrays me? How can I try to read through the expressions of my opponent, trying to find for tells and signs, when I can barely hide my own?

Why must love be a game?

The desperate urge to show my cards, and simply say, “Let me take you out.”

Finally showing all of my tells as my cheeks blush and turn crimson, “I like you.”

Laying everything on the table, with no hidden card, with no strategy, and just asking, “What are we?”

But I’d lose this game if we did that. If I did that.

Why does every text have to be another card held up, with the move, “Let’s reply in x number of hours, so they won’t catch on.”

Why does every card laid down is another strategy, “Let’s wear something that will make him notice us?”

Why does every action lead to overanalyzing thoughts, “Does this mean he likes me too, or am I just overreading these things?”

Games are tiring. We’re not meant to play games and strategize and overanalyze, especially when it comes to love. I want love to be direct. Straight to the point. No tells, no pokers games. No hidden cards, no strategy. Why can’t love be as simple as this?

They say you have fun playing games. But then if love is a game, I’m sure I’d end up losing. How could I not? Because players having fun are players who win. They know how the game works. They know how to navigate this crazy game called love. But I end up overthinking and overanalyzing every move my opponent makes. I doubt each move, do they have any hidden cards? Is their expression as genuine as mine? My smile has left my eyes, and my mind is tired from what is happening. Love is no game. It is an exam, a data entry, filled with statistics and probabilities and possibilities. A wrong diagnosis and it might get your heart broken. A miscalculation, and the whole equation ends in shambles.

Love is tiring. And at the end of the day, someone always loses.



Fayth Ong

Teacher || Writer || Traveller || Athlete || Immortalizing moments through writing