Monday, February 20, 2006


Entering into the Sunday 750k tournament, I was focused.  I resolved to enjoy myself because I normally wouldn’t buy into such a tournament based on the current bankroll.  I only spent $22 getting into it, so even cashing would represent a decent profit and based on the early play, I didn’t feel that going deep was out of the realm of possibility.

I did misplay a hand or two, but all-in-all I still felt comfortable.  Even when the blinds began to eat at my stack, I wasn’t worried.  But my attitude did begin to deteriorate when the privacy of the room I was playing in was broken with distractions.  Sadly, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to devote my full mental capacity to playing online poker while anybody else is in the house.  It’s a realization that I finally had to make.

Playing live, it’s just me.  Whether at a casino or a home game, I am never sidetracked by anything else except table chatter.  And that’s part of the game.  But when kids or spouses burst into the room when I’m totally engrossed in the game at hand, my concentration gets shattered into a million little pieces.

Combine my rapidly deteriorating mental state with the way I went out (AK vs KQ) and the rest of my Sunday was spent in a total funk.

Disappointment set in.  In a big way.  I’ll confess that I had high expectations for this event.  This was the largest tourney I’d played in to this point in my poker career and to me, it represented another opportunity to prove to myself that I had some game in me.  Of course, the ego boost to doing well in one of these and then blogging about it also carried some weight in my motivations to do well; but I think anybody who blogs about their poker exploits who doesn’t feel that way would be lying just a little.

After the disappointment set in, on came the guilt.  The guilt stems from spending a large chunk of the weekend trying to qualify instead of spending time with the kids.  That truly weighs on me heavily any time I feel that I play too much.  Mix in to the above psychological cocktail the losses accrued in the previous few days and you have a poker player who wonders yet again why he does what he does.

Objectively, the bankroll is fine, and I am still in the black for the year.  But I’ve allowed myself to invest more than money into that single tournament entry.  I invested some self-worth and precious time into an endeavor that left me holding an empty bag.  Even after I told myself I would avoid doing just that.

On one level, I am disappointed in the results.  On another level, I’m disappointed with myself for letting myself get disappointed.  Does that make sense?  In a nutshell, it’s just another piece of evidence that I take this game way too seriously at times.  When I’m doing well, I really have nothing to show for it except a larger bankroll.  When I do poorly, I have something to show for it, and I wear it around for everyone to see – and that’s a really shitty attitude.

So I’m thinking I’m going to make a withdrawal from the poker roll.  Not a huge withdrawal, but one that will let me buy something to show for the times I did well. It will be a physical reminder that at times, I know how to play the game.  Because I’ll need it when the game reminds me that I don’t always know how to play myself.

Perhaps the success I’ve had has led me astray.  Winning makes you think that you can eventually play at any level given enough time.  I just don’t know if that’s true any longer, and I certainly don’t know if I’ll be able to give myself that elusive “enough time” based on everything else that goes along with the life I have.  I may just have to scale the pace of my progress back a little bit in order to enjoy the time I do get to spend playing poker a little bit more.

Damn, I sure wish I won that PowerBall drawing.   Seriously.

No comments: