Poker player Stephanie Rivkin took down the WSOP.com Rio Monster Stack in August, scoring her first circuit ring. This wasn’t her most memorable ring of the summer however. On July 11 Stephanie (formerly Hubbard) married poker pro Jason Rivkin.
This poker power couple had a busy summer. For some, the stress of planning a pandemic wedding that was delayed twice would be hectic enough. But this duo has been crushing major online tournaments all summer long as well.
Despite their winning ways at the tables, that has taken on a secondary role now. Jason said their focus changed after some recent big news.
“After the wedding, we enjoyed two weeks in Maui on our honeymoon trying to unwind,” he said. “Shortly after coming home, we were in for another surprise. We’ll be expecting a child in early April.
“Therefore, our poker goals have morphed into family goals. House shopping and preparing for a baby”
Both Stephanie and Jason have known each other as part of the poker scene since 2013. They first met at a Parx Big Stax event in Pennsylvania after a long day on the felt.
Philadelphia semi-pro player and good friend John Coyle officiated the wedding. During the ceremony, he referenced that night the two met at Parx.
“Regardless of the result of the tournament,” he noted of their thoughts on that initial meeting, “we both walked away winners that night,”
Hitting the poker road – together
Both players have been grinding poker since the early 2000s. After meeting at Parx, Stephanie and Jason began traveling to events together.
“One of our first dates was a road trip to Montreal to play a PokerStars event at Playground Poker in late September,” Jason said.
Jason first got into poker by playing home games in high school. During college he started grinding live and online events. After graduating from Rutgers in 2011, he started playing full time. Even though he went pro, he still earned his MBA in 2018 from Monmouth University.
He attributes much of his success to his brother and professional player Eric Rivkin. Eric has just shy of $1 million in live cashes.
Jason has 67 WSOP cashes and grabbed a WSOP Circuit ring in 2016 in St. Maarten. He also has many deep final table bracelet runs over the years. Between live and online poker, his poker resumé includes $1.5 million in tournament winnings.
Recently Jason found success online with two deep WSOP.com final table runs. That included a runner-up finish in a $1,000 bracelet event for $90,811 on July 31.
Poker power couple
After a wedding and with a baby on the way, Jason decided to work on his family’s future. He plans on taking a step back from the online grind and pursuing a career complementing poker and family.
“I want to have a more navigable lifestyle and stable income,” he said.
Stephanie already mixes a poker lifestyle and working full time. She has worked as a pharmacist since receiving her degree in 2010 from Rutgers.
Some poker on the side is also part of her routine. She originally got into the game by watching friends play online and checking out televised poker.
“I often played in home games at the Knights of Columbus during college,” Stephanie says. “I then transitioned into playing cash games and ladies tournaments in Atlantic City.”
In 2015 she landed a big payday at the Borgata. She won the Fall Open Open for $159,776 to become the first female champion. Stephanie has been consistent over the years and has several other notable cashes as well.
The couple have some advice for others juggling poker, family, and a career. The Rivkin strategy includes:
- Keeping separate bankrolls, but reward the other with a piece on big scores.
- When sweating your partner, watch and be a good listener.
- Save the strategy discussion for the post-game analysis.
- Understand the poker life and its subsequent results will have its ups and downs.
- Make sure you invest in quality time together away from the table.
This card-playing couple still have a deep passion for the game and their relationship seems like a strong hand. They bring some unique insight to the game after playing for so long.
“Neither of us has ever read a poker book, used a HUD, studied with a coach, or watched a training video,” Jason says. “Since we both got such an early start in poker, live experience and intuition has been our best and only guide.
“Also, having an accomplished partner who can support you through the daily grind doesn’t hurt.”
* Photo courtesy Stephanie and Jason Rivkin