Thursday, October 13, 2005

Escape Velocity

I’m sitting here this morning reading Pauly’s and Otis’ recap of their Pokerstars media event coverage on Tuesday night.  It’s not with a little bit of envy that I think about their profession of choice and the personal freedoms it brings.  Certainly, I know the old adage about the grass always being greener, but rarely has my life inside the cubicle been more mundane.  Not that I could be a writer, nor anything but the engineer I am for that matter; but I can’t help but wish away the 8 to 6 chain that encircles the majority of my waking hours and tightens with each passing day.

Is there an escape?  Not likely.  If the poker phenomenon had occurred ten or twelve years earlier in my life, perhaps I’d have taken some risks.  At the bare minimum, packing up and moving closer to the Mecca and becoming a dealer would have been one possibility.  Having a family to support however makes taking such chances more than foolhardy.  There’s always that miniscule chance that I’ll win the PowerBall lottery, but I’m more likely to be struck by lightning twice after being hit by a meteor.  Still, I play.

And I play poker too.  I’ll actually admit to the world (read:  tens of loyal readers) that there have been times that I thought I could eventually win enough money on a consistent basis to consider doing it full time.  Yeah, that’s right, I said it.  Or more like I typed it.  Anyone who has played and had some level of success has thought the same thing.  Maybe not for long, or not very seriously, but admit it – the thought of playing a game for a living has bounced around your brain at least once.

The sad part, for me at least, is that I’m stubborn, disciplined, and possess a general dislike for having to work with other people who aren’t very much like me.  Yes, my workplace has donkeys precisely like those at the poker table.  Unfortunately, just like the odds of hitting a 200 million dollar jackpot, my odds of becoming a “professional” are astronomical.  The only thing working in my favor is time.

Time and dedication.  Here is some more honesty for you.  I’ve been hitting the gym regularly for about 15 years now.  I’ve never taken any form of the juice, the cream or the clear.  In fact, I’m not really even that big considering how often I lift.  I’ve been at or near the same bodyweight for about 10 years.  Talk about a plateau.  So why do I still workout?  Because I’m stubborn.  As each year passes, it gets more and more difficult to even maintain what I’ve built.  Even if I’ve made any gains, they come about so slowly as to not even be noticeable.  But I continue to plod away, driven by some internal, misguided view of myself that eventually something better will come of it.  That’s either discipline or evidence that my skull is made of Neptunium, I’m not sure which.

Therein too lies my plan for poker.  Plod away.  Make gains that may not be noticeable, but when accumulated over a long enough time period, will indeed manifest themselves.  I had my best winning year last year.  Certainly to many, the sum was paltry, but it was more than I thought I could ever win.  Earlier this year, I was on pace to double last year’s win.  When that was happening, I just figured that doubling my profits each year was the ticket out.  In 5 years of doubling up, I’d be able to overtake my current salary and then the sky was the limit.

Well that didn’t happen.  I know; you’re all shocked, dismayed, chagrined even.  In the months of May through early August, I got crushed.  Doubling up seemed to be such a moronic idea.  Still, I remained profitable for the year, but I put aside that 5-year plan as a pipe dream and plodded on.  Perhaps slow and steady can win the race, but the race I was in was going to be some ultra-marathon.

So I continue to plod.

Back to where I began, here I sit pondering other things.  As soon as I figure out what they are, I’ll let you know.

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