I love fall in the Northeast. There’s something worth savoring every time I step outside; something the other seasons can’t match. The crispness of the cool air on my skin, the vibrancy of the foliage surrounding me, the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my feet. The fact that it’s football season. I love it. It seems like there’s just more to see and feel at this time of year. The time between Labor Day and Thanksgiving is easily my favorite time of the year. Fall owns.
The blog’s been quiet because poker hasn’t been a part of my life for the better part of a month. Between the day the Borgata series ended in mid-September and yesterday, I played poker exactly once. It was at a home game tournament called The Ugly Tuna Challenge that runs out of Westchester. While it’s essentially a home game, it is quite professionally run by host Greg C. and his wife. They serve a delicious array of food and drink and the tournaments draw over 60 players, feature an excellent blind structure and fun rules like bounties and team side bets, and there’s even a computerized tournament clock like the ones in casino venues. It was my second time playing an Ugly Tuna tourney and with the help of some significant rungood, I won the thing and added to my small but steadily growing collection of poker trophies.
The day I won that tournament has been the only day I’ve played or even thought about poker in the last four weeks. After Borgata, I decided that I’d spend some time doing whatever I fancied rather than setting specific goals or forcing myself to work. The result has been a surprisingly complete and thorough poker hiatus. The telltale signs of a man fully devoted (or obsessed, depending on your point of view) to poker have been absent. For a month, I never opened a Pokerstars or Full Tilt table. I never visited the 2+2 forums. The thoughts that typically dominate my consciousness—like particular hands I’ve played and theoretical poker situations—have been gone. The words on my Facebook news feed—which, due to my numerous poker contacts and friendships has become a massive dumpster-sized receptacle for the boasts and rants of attention-starved poker players—may as well have been written in Sanskrit. Never in all the time since I “went pro” have I felt farther removed from my chosen profession. At no point in time during the past month have I missed poker.
Why has this happened? The answer is borne from some combination of burnout, my uncertain future in poker and especially the arrival of football season. I’ve chosen to spend my days advancing and applying the daily research I began in the National Football League’s preseason and chilling with Ruthie. Nothing about it has felt unproductive. I’m allowed to spend my time doing those things, and it’s been really nice.
I’m writing this from Foxwoods, where I’ve made my return to tournament poker in what will be my final trip before the birth of my daughter. So far I’ve played two tournaments, and nothing’s happened. I’ll keep you guys updated if things become interesting.