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Balancing my Life Range

by Katie Dozier |  Published: Aug 08, '13


When I first left the US in order to play online poker again, I was thirstier to get back to the grind than my dog is for water after a long hike! Considering the fact that I was routinely playing over 12 hour sessions 6 days a week, one might not think me the most qualified to write on the very subject of maintaining a balanced life while playing poker online for a living. But it’s because I’ve been to the dark side that I can talk about coming to the light. [Laughs maniacally]

With all of the freedom that playing online poker allows, an outsider might think that this is ridiculous. I imagine it’s a lot harder in so many jobs— like being a lawyer and working 100 hours a week. One of the amazing perks of being poker players is that we have the ability to make our own schedules, and yet, it is that very freedom that I’ve seen prove to be crippling for so many people.

Some grind to the point of oblivion, and lose the ability to enjoy what are often the best moments in life: when no money is on the line. Some fall to the degenerate side of this profession.

And the rest of us? We’re trying to find a bit of balance in our unusual job that offers so much opportunity to enjoy life.

Here are the top five things that have helped me balance my life:

  1. Have hobbies outside of poker:  For me this means: Cooking, reading, hiking, swimming, playing pool, painting, and writing. I spent a while co-writing The Superuser and Pro Poker Strategy: The Top Skills and now I’m working on a YA novel.
  2. Enjoy opportunities to celebrate:  About a week ago, my Mom asked me what dessert I was going to have for my birthday, and I said Collin would buy me a cake. She responded, “But you love to bake and don’t really do it anymore since you eat low-carb. Make an awesome cake to celebrate!”The result was that I had a blast baking and creating my own cake, and since I don’t use a recipe when I bake, I found the whole process to be super creative and fun! 



  1. Have friends where you have more in common than poker:  It’s no surprise that most of my friends tend to be poker players. But my closest friends and I have way more in common than just that, and getting to enjoy an entire meal together without discussing a hand is sometimes a much needed escape. Here I am with Jamie Kerstetter. 

  2. Have a pet:   Now I realize that this isn’t for everyone. For one thing, my move out of the US was complicated by having pets, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to brightening your day (shout out to Mr. Ed for jumping in my lap to nuzzle me this week right as I busted the Sunday Million), a dog in particular can help you to be more active.Wilburasabee
  3. Be health conscious:  While obviously I do bake my cake and eat it too on my birthday, I’ve done a lot of searching in terms of what I think is healthy. After reading books by Gary Taubes last summer, I switched to eating low carb on the extreme majority of days. As I come up on my 1 year anniversary of making this change, I feel better than ever!

Part of my purpose of this blog is to remind myself to continue to strive for balance in my own life. I haven’t painted in a couple months, and even though I’m no Monet, it is something that ignites a different area of my brain than calculating pot odds. Sometimes it can be tough to step away from the tables, as I really love grinding.

In times like that, I remind myself that a happier and well-rounded person makes a much better poker player than one chained to his desk — likely to be even paler than I am from lack of sun. Heading to the tables in a joyful mood often results in me seeing more opportunities for creative play.

After playing around 10.5k tournaments this year, I have about 40k VPPs to go until I reach Supernova on PokerStars. My goal is not only to get there, but to be a happy, balanced poker player on the day I do. Sounds like that will be another good excuse to bake a cake!

Katie “hotjenny314” Dozier is a lead coach for Team Moshman and one of the Grindettes. An accomplished super-turbo and MTT player, she makes videos for Drag The Bar and PokerStrategy . Dozier, co-authored Pro Poker Strategy: The Top Skills and The Superuser. She posts more frequent updates on Twitter.

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
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