Competing with myself

When I first learned how to play the game of poker it was for entertainment. Making money was just a nice added benefit to playing poker. Losing money did not feel good but in those days if I lost a little money, it was not a big deal because I was there to have fun. Sometimes I played with friends or went out to a bar to play in local bar tournament. The most important thing was that I had enjoyed myself and played a good game of cards. As the years went by and my knowledge of poker grew, I focused more on winning. I still enjoyed poker as a form of entertainment, but winning started to become more important. By the time I made the decision to play poker for a living, winning was the most important factor that determined how much I enjoyed poker. I still love the game and enjoy it very much, but playing for a living has changed my perspective.

Now that I am playing full time, I think that my biggest competition is myself. When I go out to play poker, I must make sure that my head is in the game and that I am focused on everything that is happening externally and internally. The first thing that I must think about is acknowledging that I am in the mood to play poker. Sometimes I just do not want to spend hours sitting at table, looking at cards, and conversating with strangers about things that interest them. On my way to the card room, I find it helpful to think about myself winning hands, picking good spots to bet, and raking in the chips. When I finally get a seat at the table I am constantly keeping track of everyone’s chip stacks, counting bet sizes so that I can add up the pot total, and paying attention to frequencies. I must do all of this while making sure that I am playing my best game.

Financially it feels like I am always keeping myself in check to make sure that I am making the best decisions possible in the game. Because this is my source of income, there is a lot of incentive for me to think about what is going to be the most profitable game decision. In addition to all of that, I want to be able to take my family out and contribute to the household. When I lose money, it makes it less likely for these desires to become a reality. What this means for me is that I must know when its worth while for me to call or make a bet with any given hand. At any given moment I must ask myself if I am willing to take a chance with the chips that I have earned to win more or is the risk not worth it with the hand that I am holding.  

Trying to determine what amount of money is available, the value that it provides, and the risk involved are all factors that must be considered in a matter of seconds. If my mind is distracted in any way, it can make it difficult to focus on the decision that is being presented to me. Even though I started the night wanting to play poker, the circumstances can change as the time passes by. I might start to feel tired; the chair can start to get uncomfortable, I might become disinterested, or start thinking about responsibilities that I have outside of poker that I must attend to.

As a poker player sitting at the table, you will not see how any of this is affecting me. On the outside, I am still smiling and talking to others all while I appear to have a good time. Essentially, it is like I must keep my personality turned “on” and put on a good show. At the end of the night, I still have to go home and be a good husband and dad. This is the part that makes me thankful that I have a supportive wife. Because if I have a bad session, she really makes sure to just let me process it and clear my mind. Unfortunately, the kids might not recognize that I may be down, and I still must be “on” and be the father that they need.

The point I am trying to communicate to you about playing poker as my main source of income is that it is not always glamorous. There are real world implications to how I perform and if I do not take the time to make sure that I take care of my mental health, things can fall apart. Am I having fun and living the best life that I can? I think I am. I would not change anything about my life. The thing about having a good life is that it requires putting a lot of effort into it. As I continue to grow as a poker player I find that I am also learning how to deal with the thoughts and emotions that come with the territory and how I can be balance both at the poker table and at home.

Bizzy’s 2021 Gains: $685.20

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2 thoughts on “Competing with myself

  1. 42lugnut says:

    LFG!!!! The grind is paying off. You are now up almost $700 for the year! Looks like the solver work in your free time is paying off. Can’t wait to see how the next month goes. Gotta make sure you stay out of the pit though. That always gets me. Sports betting and blackjack can be very costly for a poker player. You got any tips for us lowly recreational players? I would love to become a pro some day but I dont think I have the skill nor the discipline to take it to the next level. I’m down about 20k this month and am trying hard to get it back. Any tips you have would be much appreciated! Love your blogs bro.

    1. Bizzy says:

      There is a lot more to it than just solver work. Improving in poker takes a lot of work and discipline. The first thing I would suggest is building up a poker support network. Be open to hearing criticism about your play because you will hear things that you may not want to hear. The second thing I would suggest is study game theory and concepts for poker a lot. The last thing I would suggest is bankroll management so that you can last longer and possibly move up stakes.

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