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