The blog posts have come to a standstill for a reason: nothing has been going on with me. I have played maybe a couple of hours of poker since April 1st and have spent the last couple of days trying to figure out why.
I should give credit to all the folks who laughed in my face when I told them I’d still be playing 40 hours of poker per week even after I became a family man. With only a wife and a puppy this is impossible–lord help me if we ever add offspring to the mix. I am Ruthie’s daytime caretaker, and she simply cannot be left unattended for more than five minutes or mass destruction can and will ensue. She has also recently learned that whining at the top of her lungs will get her released from her crate if anyone has the gall to lock her up. She reliably wakes up sometime around 7:00 am and commences whining (and is very lucky that she is so cute). These are not ideal conditions for playing online poker tournaments (nor for sleeping in, which was once my forté).
And then of course there is Janeen, who works hard every day and expects something resembling relaxation when she gets home. Disappearing into my office to fire up a bunch of donkaments and leaving her alone with our evil puppy isn’t the nicest way of saying “hey honey, how was your day?” My window of opportunity for playing online poker is at night, after my wife and puppy have gone to bed. Imagine how pleasant Ruthie’s early morning baying sounds when your last waking activity was bubbling a $26 tournament on Full Tilt at 5:23 am. I have been told that Ruthie will at some point become a normal adult dog, which is currently hard to conceive of.
In the past month I’ve also come to grips with another reason for my inactivity: plain old complacency. I’m just not that motivated (a recurring theme in my life!). Don’t get me wrong: I love poker and I’ve worked really hard on my game. I never could have made it this far without a strong will to succeed. Still, one of the byproducts of my new friendships with other pro poker players is a fresh perspective on how I compare to them. And nearly all of them are way more into poker than me. I sometimes get tired of playing poker, many do not.
I think this is both a blessing and a curse. It certainly sucks that I have chosen (read: prefer) a lifestyle that will keep me from ever reaching my full potential. Barring anything but the most miraculous over-expectation mega-tear, I am never going to finish near the top of Cardplayer’s Player of the Year race. Also, my desire to study poker has waned. My long-held goal of learning to become expert at another form of poker will likely never happen, and I will never teach myself to effectively multitable online tournaments. In terms of learning new tricks, I’m out of gas. When a group of guys is discussing poker hands (supposedly the best way to improve your game), I usually suppress my yawns and am invariably the first one to excuse himself and go find something else to do. I am certainly driven, but I’m also cursed by the absence of an overdrive setting in my machinery. Sadly, this flaw (along with my sub-genius intellect) will keep me from becoming an all-time great.
Then again, this is also a blessing. A lot of the guys who say they’re “driven to be the best!” are actually just addicted to poker, a concept that is considerably uglier. Those who allow poker to consume their entire lives remind me of those freakshow bodybuilders you see on ESPN 2 at 3:00 in the morning. You know– those guys who smear grease all over themselves then stand on stage in a Speedo, contorting themselves into bizarre poses, with crazy muscles bulging out of every square inch of their bodies? Yeah, those weirdos. In their worlds the line between bodybuilding and real life somehow got blurry, and they ended up in an alternate reality where it’s okay for your head (and genitals?) to look like a pimple on a grapefruit.
A lot of poker players are the same way. Poker ain’t life and life ain’t poker. For a lot of guys, somewhere along the way life became 350 days a year in a casino, living out of a suitcase and spending your spare time discussing nothing but three-betting hand ranges. For how many years can someone honestly pull that off? The sick part is that a lot of the guys that live this way are not winning players. They eat, drink, sleep and shit poker but somehow are not profitable. Trust me when I tell you that there is something peculiarly pathetic about a guy who spends all his waking hours in the poker world yet still cannot figure out a way to beat the game.
To some, this probably sounds like the rant of an old guy stuck playing a young man’s game. In a way that’s true; my station in life is definitely different than many of my peers’. But (chronologically speaking) I chose poker first and domestication second. I’m where I want to be. I just need to remind myself (and now, you) of that sometimes.
Also, I don’t mean to downplay my overall drive or how competitive I am. I have a ton of pride; if you run into me with twelve players left in a live tournament, don’t expect to find me feeling less than fully committed to busting your ass. I am just saying that I have my limits.
In closing, happy six-month anniversary to my beautiful wife Janeen. I love you!