Rants and Plans
by jnells | Published Jun 21, 2011
In my original blog post last week I listed some of the things that I plan on doing post Black Friday, but I neglected to mention something that I am quickly realizing is more and more important. I need a non-poker related hobby or interest. This is not an original idea as many pros have spoken and written about the importance of having other interests in life. I feel like this is MUCH more important when we are only playing live poker. Not because having a life focused around a computer screen is any healthier than one constantly in a casino or cardroom, but just because of the soul crushing nature of live poker. The pace is excruciating, the players are painfully stupid, the settings are filled with real degenerates (some of whom may have serious problems and are neglecting their families), it will invariably have shit tons of variance because of the pace and the impossibility of multitabling, there are outside expenses and higher rakes, and most of the time you are playing against non-thinking players with huge leaks (good for the bottom line, but makes for standard/non interesting strategies and makes it much more difficult to improve).
Now don’t get me wrong, I am no where near as much of a pessimistic prick as I come off in the original paragraph. I obviously don’t feel overwhelmed by the above factors most of the time (or I would not play), but these are the things that coupled with a losing streak or some bad beats with drive you to bad decisions. Theses decisions may be at the poker table or in your real life and should be something you are consciously trying avoid. Notice I said consciously, I’m sure any half decent poker player doesn’t need to be told how bad of an idea it is to chase loses in higher stakes games or to go and get shit faced while in the pit; but that hasn’t stopped most of them (myself included) from doing it in the past. Also because as I am re-reading the first paragraph and could imagine someone who is not familiar with the game reading it (lol at the thought someone actually reads my blogs) and thinking “Fuck this degenerative game and good for the DOJ for shutting down these internet punks”, I would like to take the time out to write out the reasons why poker (Even of the live variety) is a great game.
Poker is a brilliant mix of strategy, skill and luck. Now one may wonder why would I make the effort to get good at a game that will likely be decided by luck on any given night, the only reason I can give you is money. How many people do you think would play Lebron James or Kobe Bryant in 1 on 1 basketball for hundreds of thousands of dollars, NO ONE. On the other hand people will sometimes wait in line to play poker against Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey, knowing in many cases they are at a skill disadvantage but knowing that on any given night they could get the best of the pros. Poker is also a game which is a blend of mathematics and psychology, allowing each player to create their own style tailored to their strengths. Some will play a more tight game relying on the mathematical edge that they produce by playing high ranking hands and occasionally running high percentage bluffs, others will be much more active playing a weaker quality of starting hands relying people buckling under the pressure and benefits from picking up physical tells and their table image to win a lot of pots. Poker is a fun way to participate in a hobby while also making money, though there are pitfalls to focusing on the money aspect of the game. Also if you get to a level where you are making enough to make a living off of, you would be able to live a life full of freedoms with literally zero responsibilities produced from you career. It also gives you “business trips” around the world with stops from everywhere from Paris to Adelaid to Australia there are high stakes tournaments all over the world with side games following the player pools. I really could go on and on since, as anyone who knows me can attest to, I am pretty obsessed with the game and getting better. I just wanted to rant a bit about how much some elements of live poker suck.
Upon finishing the last paragraph I realize I have been completely thrown off the topic that I wanted to address, outside interests. As the two above rant filled paragraphs do a good job of illustrating, I need outside interests to stop from going bonkers. I haven’t set one apart from the pack yet but here are some of the things that I am considering doing this summer outside of owning souls at the poker table:
1) Fitness. This is something I have sucked hard at since my junior year of high school, up to that point I spent 5-7 days a week lifting weights and was in by far the best shape of my life and looked as if I could really truck a fool. Since starting college especially, it has been hard to keep up a good routine and I am hopeful that I can get back into it this summer.
2) Golf. I have more or less always played golf, my dad has played my whole life and I caddied when I was younger. I started being able to hit the ball well last year and so far this year I have been much more accurate as well. If I put in some volume I feel like I could possibly beat my dad this year if I caught him on his worst day and my best.
3) Bowling. Kind of nerdy but I got fairly serious into bowling for a bit in high school and got relatively decent (maybe 180-190 average if I was consistently practicing) and I am capable of bowling a very good game(250-260) even with months without practice, though that’d be some serious run good.
4) Traveling. I have a trip to Mississippi planed, but that is 100% a poker trip and though I’m more well traveled than most my age (wow pretentious much) I have some places I’ve never been to that are just unexcuseable. Most prevalent is the fact that I have never been to NYC despite living just a few hours away in Boston. There’s also some other trips to the mid west and camping that I’d like to get to this summer but who knows.
5) Dating. I love dating, it’s almost always a positive experience even if things don’t go well, dating teaches you something about someone else as well as yourself. The tension/ excitement is something that I really enjoy experiencing with girls and I can’t think of anyone I’ve dated in the recent past that I wouldn’t consider at least a good friend to this day. Though, given some of my other plans for this summer I would be pretty surprised to find my self in anything more serious than casual relationships for the foreseeable future. Of course one’s dating life is not something that can be calculated before meeting someone (no matter what any stupid fucking online dating site promises), and God that’s one of the best parts of it IMO (in my opinion)
6) TV. While I would hate to spend too much time inside watching TV or movies I do enjoy keeping up with various tv series that I get into. FYI How I Met Your Mother is the best show currently on TV and that is not an IMO that is simply a fact! And if you disagree I banish you from my blogosphere, if I’m allowed to do that and if not I will at least curse you CP handle with an evil eye. Yeah that’s right punk be afraid be very afraid.
7) Beaching it up. I love the beach, not the “slowly getting skin cancer sitting outside 10 hours a day 6 days a week all summer” kind of love but every so often taking a day or two to chill on the beach with some friends, food and beer while hoping none your boys notice that you are in fact working on a tan (skin cancer be damned) is quintessential to a good summer.
8) Work. I really don’t want a job at all this summer (outside of poker) but it is possible that I pick up some shifts at a bar I used to work at or caddie some rounds at the golf course I used to work at if poker goes disasterously in Mississippi and or Vegas.
Well I think that’s all for now, but LOL at me for thinking Id have nothing to write about today.