I had a new blog entry planned for yesterday. In it, I was going to admit that I was in the middle of the roughest stretch of my career. I was going to admit that my self confidence had virtually evaporated. I was going to admit that I had endured a three week marathon of bad beats and lost coin flips. I was going to admit that I had reached a mental state I describe as “presumptive loss.” Whenever my chips went in, I expected the worst.
I was going to compare myself to a dog that had been kicked repeatedly. I felt that skittish about things. I think I may have actually whimpered a few times.
One redeeming aspect of all this losing was that I could finally write a blog entry with an unhappy ending. I figured that writing about how bad things were would be therapeutic. At the very least, it would have been honest. But technical difficulties got in the way.
The only thing that kept the “kicked dog” blog entry from being published was my inability to understand HTML coding. You see, in the midst of my losing streak, in an otherwise uneventful sit-n-go, I flopped a royal flush. I won almost nothing on that hand, and didn’t cash in the tournament. But flopped royal flushes don’t come around very often. So in a desperate effort to reverse my luck, I was going to close my catharctic “kicked dog” blog entry with a PokerXFactor flash animation of my royal flush. That would have shook off the bad luck. The problem is, I still don’t know what the hell i’m doing with this website, and my webmaster/mentor Jon wasn’t around to help. So “kicked dog” never made it to press.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that everything above this point was phrased in the past tense. That’s because something very good happened last night. I finally conquored the primary source of my frustration. I won a World Series of Poker satellite.
For over a month now, I have been banging my head against the WSOP wall. For a professional poker player of my stature (i.e. one that can’t afford not to think twice about plunking down $10k), qualifying for the WSOP main event through an online satellite is a formality. Well, it’s not quite a formality, but it’s something you are expected to accomplish.
The fields in the WSOP satellites are weak. These are tournaments full of dreamers who don’t bring that much skill to the table. Someone who plays for a living is expected, given enough chances, to eventually prevail. But for quite a long time, that was not happening for me, and it was creating a heavy financial and emotional drain. I was nearing the point of no return–a place where so much money has been sunk into my futile efforts to qualify that the only sensible thing to do was to give up.
But last night, just as I approached the precipice of that cliff, I entered yet another Pokerstars WSOP double shootout. This was the same tournament through which I qualified last year, but I had been struggling mightily with them this year. Four hours later, I found myself heads up with a very tricky opponent with the seat on the line. Mercifully, a couple of won coin flips (what dog!?) later, I was officially WSOP-bound.
Last year, I was positively ecstatic when I won my seat. I literally danced around, alone, for about half an hour. This year, no ecstasy. Mostly I felt relief. Relief that the “no seat” albatross had been lifted. Relief that this project wasn’t going to drain any more of my bankroll. And especially relief that I wouldn’t have to deal with the disappointment of coming in second. Finishing second in a big satellite tournament that only pays one seat is a fate I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
When my win became official with a “congrats! you’ve won the tournament” appearing on the screen, I felt only a trace of last year’s giddiness. Instead, I was suddenly cognizant of how tired I was, both physically and emotionally. I hugged Janeen, who was by my side watching, and collapsed. That was that. I guess that’s the difference between being an amateur and a pro.
And now, for good measure, here’s the instant repaly on my royal flush. I held the same hand in both my career royals. Queen-Jack of spades!
[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.pokerxfactor.com/swf/trainingApp3.swf?xmlHandID=13113&fn=1275_20060622_005801&hn=0&mh=0&sc=1″ height=”375″ width=”500″ /]
Click here to view a larger version on pokerxfactor.com (registration required).