Why Do I Play Poker
by jnells | Published Oct 24, 2012
While really bored in a class today I stumbled upon this old poker article which caught my attention.
Since I am still bored and still in that same class I think I will write a response to why I play poker.
The simplest answer to this question is that I enjoy playing poker, it is mentally challenging, competitive, and it is exciting. While this is a truthful answer it does not tell the whole story, a better question would be why do I play poker as often as I do. The truth is there are a number of reasons I play poker as often as I do. My above answer is still the major contributor, but other factors include making money, proving superiority, chasing a dream, addiction and meeting people who have the same mentality. I am going to elaborate on these other factors in a little more depth.
Making Money- Some people may think that making money is the primary reason I play poker and I really can't agree with this. While it is true that if I could not make money playing poker than I would not play as often as I can it is about more than making money. It has to do with making money in a way that is enjoyable. I get so anxious about going to work a 5 hour event for my catering job almost every time I go. I think about things I'd rather be doing, I envision ways I could ruin the event, I worry about letting down my bosses or looking stupid. I sometimes really dread working a short event, but the thought of driving to Foxwoods by myself, paying for a hotel room by myself, risking $600 of my own money to play in an event where I am positive that I will lose the vast majority of the time, and spending maybe 20 hours playing poker with people that I do not know sounds fine and I would be excited to do it. Even with a 100% ROI in the tournament I am making way less money by the hour making the trek out to Foxwoods, playing all day, staying over night, and driving back than I am playing at Foxwoods but it is something that I enjoy doing so it seems more worth it to me. If my primary focus was making money I'd be a bartender for as many shifts a week as I can, and my major in school would be Finance and I'd become a multi-millionaire but none of that sounds fun to me so I don't pursue it.
Proving Superiority- This makes me sounds like an incredibly obnoxious egotistical asshole but it is honest (so I guess I am one????). I play poker different than most of my typical opponents play poker, I think my way is better, they think their way is better and we play to try to figure out who is right (It would be more accurate saying who is less wrong because no one who plays at Seabrook has everything figured out) (BTW if your wondering it's me I am right)
Chasing a Dream- This is not a surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly (which may in fact be no one) but I would love to be a professional poker player. Setting your own hours, traveling around the world, winning a donkament on TV, getting a sponsorship so that your entire life becomes a fucking free roll (unless you are sponsored by FTP (old owners)) it all sounds pretty sweet to me. I have said before that it is possible I am not good enough to be a Pro, it is possible that I actually would not like the life style of being a Pro, and I think that the latter is much more likely (Since I need to live up to my obnoxious egotistical asshole label that I just gave to me) but hey that's why they call it a dream.
Addiction- I do think I have a little poker addiction in my life, and I don't necessarily think that's even a bad thing. When I don't play for a while I really want to play, I "get the bug" and i make the drive up to New Hampshire even if it means going by myself and playing a buy-in smaller than what I would normally drive up for. I'd like to say that my success in poker has contributed to this "poker bug" of mine, but I don't really know if that's it. Sure the time I made $10,000 in a day felt pretty awesome but I can't say for sure that that's it. Maybe it has to do with proving that the time I have invested into getting good at this game was worth it, maybe I will never know for sure and maybe it is impossible to fully commit yourself to the pursuit of greatness within poker without a little bit of this addiction. Note how I wrote this as poker addiction not gambling addiction, to me this is a very important distinction since poker is a game in which profit can be earned through thoughtful and logical reasoning, gambling addiction is in my opinion a whole different animal and I don't think I have any bit of gambling addiction in that sense. And if you don't believe me we can bet on it :)
Meeting people- There are plenty of people who devoted as much or more time than I have studying this game. These people can range from math-lete nerds, to larger than life personalities that go around saying "To you this is a game, for me it is my life" and "I guess if there was no luck involved I'd win every time", all the way to guys like Tony Dunst (who's blog really is what got me interested in the poker lifestyle) who realize they are lucky to have found a GAME which they can excel at to the level of make a heathy living, which supports their real passion of suit wearing, cigar smoking, woman chasing shenanigans.