Thursday, September 21, 2006

What Does Poker Have to do With Life?

Has poker become a bigger part of my life then I wanted it to be? I’m going to look at it from two aspects before I answer the question so I can be sure to come to the correct conclusion.

To start I think I need to look at what my original reasons for playing were. The first reason would have to be competition. Competition was and still is a driving force in my life. The thrill of competing regardless of the circumstance has been part of me ever since I was a child and poker filled the void left behind by my retirement from playing competitive fastpitch softball. Another reason for playing was the mental challenge of the game. Using your intellect to out maneuver an opponent is taking competition to another level because physical ability has little to do with, other then tells, the success in the game. And finally, the combination of these two things allowed me to set goals and track my progress over time. This is a measured outcome that can be identified easily.

With my goals set, I approach the game with cautious optimism. I realized that patience was a necessity and focus was a driving force. Early on I stayed within the program and dealt with the ups and down in an analytical way. I look at correct decision making being essential to my long term growth and tried to avoid emotional reactions.

Around the time I had good control of these things I lost my job. It allowed me more time to play and concentrate on improving my game. So instead of 8-10 hours a week, I was playing 35-40 hours a week. Under the right conditions this would have been a good thing but things had changed. I started looking for the bigger score and the quick play-off. Grinding was not a viable option in my mind as I wanted to up the stacks to prove I could still provide for the family. In the end I burnt through about half of my bankroll quickly and was on the verge of continuing the chase after the losses. In some ways I was on an enormous tilt that was almost unrecognizable to me at the time. Eventually I saw my path and walked it to the point were I’m at now.

I think poker has become a bigger part of my life then I had originally planned. I’m not going through withdraw because I can’t play as much but I have become more considerate of my future in the game. I find that when I have a little time, I’ll play a micro level game just because I like to play but can’t afford getting deeply involved. I’ve also found that playing other games like razz or horse has opened up new avenues of creative learning that improves me as a player overall.

But I’m torn with the thought that I, deep down inside, would love to play this game at a higher level. A level that doesn’t care about short term loss or gain, but only longs to compete with the best.

I guess I don’t really have a clue what the answer is other then the game is there regardless of my participation and that I just want to be part of it.

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