You can read this blog on its own, but there were two blogs that led into this one. You can read part 1 here:
And Part 2 here:
Now I feel my body, my mind, my girlfriend, her family, and just the world in general is telling me to stop chasing money so much. It’s good to have a job that pays you so well, but at what point is it an addiction? Just because you don’t take a drug doesn’t mean you aren’t an addict. I know many people who are ruining themselves because they are addicted to their work.
You can’t tell yourself you are going to start your life when you lose five pounds, when you get that one girl, or when you make X amount of money. I’ve made X amount and expected it to complete me.
I’m not taking advantage of what I’ve learned: It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve made if you have nothing else going on in your life. You’ve essentially just gone to a higher blind level in a life tournament with yourself – a life tournament with no real first prize because you can’t even recognize a mountain top.
I feel so stupid about how I squandered, lost, entrusted, or Full Tilted my money off before that I keep playing like I’m stuck. I used to make a lot more because I put in extra sessions when I was feeling good, and just hung out when I wasn’t.
It’s not even a downswing. I’ve had a hundred downswings before. It’s just I wonder if this is really what I want to do with my life. I told myself when I was deep in PCA, “wow, I wonder how much I’d really play if I won this.” I wanted to learn how to speak Spanish and start writing more often. I thought I’d pursue one of those full time because hell, I’d have proven myself at poker and taken a mil out of it.
I didn’t get to where I am today because I did something I wanted to do when the time was right for it. Coming out of high school I had to work as a commercial fisherman to pay my rent. I lived in a friend’s garage when I had to. I started playing poker then because I loved it, and that’s what I wanted to do. Somewhere along the way I turned it into “this game that owes me.”
But what hasn’t the game given me? Maybe a big win has alluded me, but I honestly believe anyone who puts conscientious study into this profession and works at it every day will have their moment in the sun. I’m not cursed, my own day will come soon I’m sure. But that could be this Sunday or that could be in five years, who knows? The creators of Angry Birds had something like 60 failed games before that one, and were near bankruptcy. Abraham Lincoln lost almost every bid he made for public office before he became the president, and had a nervous breakdown. Colonel Sanders didn’t establish KFC till he was in his 60s.
I haven’t even failed. I could sit back, work two hours a day literally, not play poker again, and probably support myself for the next couple years at the very least, and likely for much longer than that. I’m sure at some point that would dry up, but if I put in the kind of work I like to put in anyway I have no reason to believe it will. If I worked four hours a day five days a week and actually played some poker I’m pretty confident I could support myself for the rest of my life.
Isn’t that the mountain top? When I got into this I just wanted a place to sleep and my own thing to do. Seeing the guys I knew working up in Alaska showed me what real men have to do for their paychecks. Many risk their lives. When you’re grinding 50 hours a week at a shit job you risk your mind. That’s the reality for many people, and that was my reality coming out of high school with no real prospects, no money, no real home.
Even the friends I thought had it good are graduating and not finding work anywhere. It’s tough in the states. Too many people on this rotating rock and not as many resources as we’re all depending on.
In no way do I take what I have for granted, but when I grind like I’ll die if I don’t put in 60 -80 hours a week I’m not being grateful at all. So many of the kids I grew up with are graduating the last couple years, and they have zero work experience, and with the job market their not finding any. When they do get a job the lessons seems to be, “keep quiet and maybe we’ll keep you.”
Awkward Aspergian me somehow found a way to make a little business. It isn’t big, but it’s consistently paying. I found something I loved to do for the majority of my time. It’s not because I’m smarter than anyone I graduated high school with – on the contrary I was probably a great deal more immature. The only difference is I honestly worked at something I loved. I did a lot of things that didn’t pay me anything at the time, and gradually that turned into my niche. I didn’t just do what I was supposed to do. Those markets were too crowded. The work was too dull to obsess over.
The bottom line to all this is I feel I got here by studying something I was interested in, not what somebody else taught me to study. What I never anticipated is at some point my interest would wane slightly for the thing I loved most. I thought I’d either get so sick of poker I would quit and have new energy for something else, or I’d keep being obsessed about it forever. That’s how video games, boxing, and other things had worked for me.
I never knew what it was to commit your life to something you didn’t thoroughly understand
I’ve always liked taking classes or studying something away from poker, because often you can put weeks and months of your life into poker and receive nothing. You study something and know it through and through, that’s not something anyone can ever take from you.
I’ve been toying with the idea of not playing poker as full-time as I used to. I was worn out from the travel and live circuit a long time ago. I thought staying at home mostly would rekindle my love for the consistent online grind, but it hasn’t. 90% of the time I really enjoy it, but how crappy I’ve run in so many key spots and how subpar I’ve played when it mattered most really deterred me. I love it, but I’ve also realized I don’t want my happiness to depend on how I’m doing at poker at any one point. I don’t want to depend on my poker scores for whether I’m advancing or not in life.
My girlfriend has also noted that I just seem to have way more fun when I’m focused on other things and then get to play poker.
There was a time when I did have to play poker 8 hours a day nearly every day to make ends meet. I should take advantage of not being at that point anymore.
I shouldn’t feel like I’m giving up or letting anyone down. My family and girlfriend’s family support me quite a bit, and thank God my family back home seems to be doing pretty well now. I think if I just focus on what I actually want to do I will probably come out much more satisfied and successful.
So, now the obvious thing I have to ask myself is…what do I want to do?
My Plugs: Check out my vids at Pocketfives Training, hit me up for lessons at email@example.com, see other stuff I write with my friends at www.pokerheadrush.com, and follow my Twitter at TheAssassinato