Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Focus is one of the key ingredients that you need to be successful. I know this is not a new idea but it is fully true. All aspects of life require different levels of focus to attain the desired results you are looking for and thus worthy of a post.

When I was younger, I had a friend who was a very good dart player. He would school me whenever we played and it pissed me off. He would keep the game just close enough that I felt I had a chance and then he would slam the door shut and leave me feeling incomplete. Therefore, I went and bought a nice bristle board and a good set of darts and started to practice. Our game of choice was cricket so I would throw at a particular number; let us say 20, for 15 minutes and then move on to the next number. I did this almost every day for months until I felt that I could beat him. I did.

During my fastpitch softball career, I had the ability to raise my game when I needed to. As I look back at the glory days, I can still feel the emotions that I felt then. Coming through with a clutch base hit or making diving catch to end the hopes of the opposing team became almost routine at times. One of the main reasons I quit playing wasn’t because of the pain I played with but the fact that I couldn’t make some of the plays that I was used to making.

From 7th grade through high school, I was always a runner. I didn’t get tired or should I say I didn’t allow my self to be tired. I ran my first 10K (6.2 miles) when I was in 7th grade and finished in 38 minutes. That is a pace of 6:08 per mile. I never trained for that race other then the running I did in soccer practice and I can still remember parts of the race even though it was 26 years ago. The part I remember most is mile 4. It was between two cornfields in the middle of nowhere and I wanted to stop. I thought that each step would be my last because of the utter feeling of loneliness I was feeling. I resolved to get to the next water station and picked up my second wind and the rest is history. As I came around the last turn and headed to the finish line some 300 yards away, I picked up my pace and was at a full sprint when I crossed the finish line.

There is one thing that each of the stories has in common. It is the ability to focus on the goal at hand. The difference between success and failure is as small as a little focus at the right time. In each case, I used focus in different ways. For example, in softball I used my focus for many small periods of time. My focus was at its peak when the pitch was thrown and would return for the next pitch. During my dart exploration, I had to maintain focus for months at a time to achieve the goal I had set.

So where does poker fit into this. Poker has many layers of focus that need to be sustained depending on the goals you set. True focus cannot be attained if you don’t have goals that are both a challenge and attainable. The challenge is needed to feel fulfillment but focus will diminish if goal cannot be attained.

I find my self having to re-evaluate my goals for many reasons. A good example of this goes back to mid December. I was floundering in my game and giving away clumps of money on the tables after months of building my bankroll. I stepped back, looked at my original goals, and realized that I had lost focus of my goals. I started playing in events that were bigger then I was used to playing and quit playing the ones that I had been successful at. I readjusted my goals and have won back almost everything that I gave away.

Since that time, I’ve been playing well. I had 12 final tables in February and have 7 so far this month. But where do I go from here. The last time I was at this point I went on a terrible run and lost most of my bankroll. I don’t have a way to easily get my money off of the poker sites I play so I have to come up with a new plan. I am afraid I have reached the wall and now I need to focus to fight through the pain so I can pick up my pace on the other side.

Fear is not a good thing in poker and fear is like nervousness. Now is the time for me to put up or shut on the poker tables. When I played ball I learned to change my nervousness into focus and that is where I’m starting to struggle. I think I’m playing a little complacent right now and need to get back the focus that I had.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Thanks for the comment, much appreciated. I'm wavering on that TT. I'm probably ahead, but if he's got a hand like AJs, it's not by much. I chose to fold and to fight another day, and it was probably was the best move.

Thanks again.