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I've Lost Interest In Poker

by Alan Schoonmaker |  Published: Oct 11, '10


A member of our discussion group wrote, ”I have a silly, yet relevant question…

“It seems I’ve lost a lot of my compulsion for playing poker lately. There’s a lot going on in my life right now personally – new job, little income, an issue of imminent death in the family, and a few other things. I’m really wondering why I’m not compelled to play poker right now, as usual. I miss it.”

It’s certainly not a silly question. I’m sure that many, perhaps even most players occasionally lose interest in poker. It’s happened to me several times.

I must also comment on the words “compulsion” and “compelled.” Compulsions are unhealthy, and reducing them is highly desirable. Unless poker an important source of necessary income, it’s primarily a game, and games should not become compulsions. In fact, compulsive players are sick people.

Your loss of interest in poker sounds healthy to me. You’ve got much more important things to think about, and they deserve your full attention.

In addition, if you have income and other pressures, you’re unlikely to play well. You may not concentrate enough, and financial pressures could severely harm your play. If you’re afraid of losing, you’ll probably play timidly and passively, that is badly.

You could then easily lose money you can’t afford which would add to the financial and other pressures you’re already under. That pressure could reduce your ability to cope with your new job, the imminent death, and other problems.

I think the smartest thing you could do is take a break. Concentrate on your more important problems, and wait until you really want to play poker. When the desire returns, the games will be waiting, and you will play better.

As always, I realize that my answer is incomplete and hope other people comment.
1. Have you had periods that you just didn’t feel like playing?
2. When and why did they occur?
3. What did you do about these feelings?
4. Do you have any recommendations?

If you have a question, please add it in any comment section, or e-mail me Before emailing, please check my first blog, “What is poker psychology coaching?”

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


11 years ago

Have you considered contact lenses? Or those new frameless glasses?


11 years ago

Have you considered that your anonymous "criticisms" aren't funny and aren't productive?

Oh, I get it, he has big glasses on in his headshot. LOOOLLLL!!! Now let's go play on the swings, whaddaya say, VOR?

Now, for something actually productive:

Alan, while your advice is good for this person, do you have any suggestions for someone who plays poker professionally? If that person loses their drive to go out and play poker -- not permanently, but for what is likely to be an extended period of time -- how can they deal with it? Obviously they can't stop playing if it's their only source of income, but they also get screwed if they play because they aren't in the right mindset. Seems like a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation...

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