Monday, January 21, 2008

More Disjointed Poker Thoughts From BadBlood

Lately, I've been unable to come up with much poker related material to write about, as if you couldn't already tell based on the frequency and content of the posts below. A year ago, I was playing far more than I am now. There were more stories to tell, more people to profile and more places in which to play than there are at the moment. To be fair, that's not entirely true. Much of the decline in my live play is a self-imposed restriction based on my assessment of what's best for my current life situation.

With all that said however, I look back on last year and I'm not 100% confident that I was happy where things were going.

There is a certain life style associated with a poker player. There are long hours. There is some drinking. There are the mood-altering financial swings in either direction. And each takes its toll. When you play two or three nights a week, it's not hard to fancy yourself a player. When you run good, you're one of the best. When you run bad, it's because of the luck. No matter how I ran though, far too much of my mental capacity was focused on playing poker.

I'm glad last year happened though. It taught me more about who I was than anything else ever has.

There was a time in 2006 when my game and my confidence in my game were at their peaks. I was winning regularly locally and I was winning at a decent pace online. It was a rare confluence of events. Externally, there weren't many distractions. Work life was going well, family life was too. I had devoted much of my time and intellectual capacity to bettering myself as a player and it was paying off. But that zone I was in was short-lived. There are simply too many distractions in day to day life to maintain that zen-like state. You have to dull yourself to life's stimulii in order to maintain the laser-like focus required to be your best at poker. At least I had to.

My 2006 poker year was an illusory veil of success that hid what was and what should have been truly important to me. I am not really a poker player. I am a husband and a father who really enjoys playing poker. There is actually quite a difference between the two. I suppose I have 2007 to thank for helping me realize that.

Some of you G-Vegas folks may have at one point met DealerTim. If you didn't know, he has his own blog. He's currently out there in Las Vegas chronicling his efforts to make it in that city, and to be honest, I find his story fascinating. For one thing, he's a surprisingly talented writer. And as I've told many people who'd listen, if I weren't married, if I didn't have any children, I have a hunch that I would have given the thought of moving out there with him much consideration. If I were living a solitary life, I think I would have the capacity to do well more consistently even out in the Mecca. But I'm not. So I can't.

My ego will always tell me that I have (or at least had) some of the characteristics required to be a talented poker player. But there are too many missing ingredients for me to be at my absolute best 100% of the time. The diminishing returns of my quest for excellence are too great. The cost is too high. Even now, typing this, I think to myself that I will always play, that I've put too much stock in myself as a player to ever quit. And all that is true. But I can't let success blind me and I can't let failure cripple me like I used to. I have to keep the game in its place.

And that is my goal for 2008.


BamBam said...

In all seriousness and without a shadow of a doubt, one of the finest poker posts you've written for quite some time!

BB's forever !

briangre said...

very good thought processes, BB.. and a great sense of reality helping you to maintain a solid family life. I applaud you!

Unknown said...

My goal is to write a post as good as this one.

TheTrooper97 said...

Hey, thanks for the mention in this post. I would never wish your lovely family away, but it would be cool if you came out to the Holy Land too! I also appreciate the fact that you find my writing to have talent. That's cool.