Gone are the days when we wanted to be a mailman, a farmer, or a pilot. Hard work and dedication no longer get you a house with a white picket fence. Instead, we monetize notoriety to get fast cash. The chase for likes motivates us to live lavishly. While the rest of us look in from the outside. Squishing our faces against the glass of success. Hoping that one day that could be us.
The perception of poker is broken. Dreams of making it big are not the same as they were in yesteryears. Now we live vicariously through a camera lens. Learning lessons of what it takes to have the mindset to torch a one-hundred-dollar bill. Taking advice from the loudest person with the most followers on how to be accomplished. Only to be left with more questions.
Yes, I consider myself to be a professional poker player but the world questions my opinion.
I question my own work ethic. Are my goals still the same? Do I still enjoy the game? I find myself telling other players that poker is a vicious unforgiving mistress. At the table I sit playing Texas Hold’em but at home I find myself thinking about 2-7 single draw. The screen names online all become a blur as I click call. I know why they are betting. Nothing else makes sense here, but what if…
My thoughts wander around the idea of what it means to be successful. As I stare through the screen to see what the camera lens is showing me, I begin to realize that no one plays poker for a living. No one plays a certain stake. It’s all the same, just one big session. Eventually they all find something and use that to fund their bankrolls. The vloggers build up their coffers with advertising money. The tournament winners sell their abandoned strategies to the masses. The personalities sell us a dream as they take our money to the bank with a smile.
All the time I have spent playing poker and making notes. Taking care to record all the little details about the hands I play. The hours spent agonizing over the decisions made. Questioning my own sanity just to ensure that my logic is sound. They all had to go through it too, right? Is this what it is supposed to be? I don’t care if I get notoriety. I don’t care if anyone ever comes to me for poker advice. All I wanted in life was a career that I cared about, something that didn’t feel like work. Looking back, I can see that life was never bluffing.
To one person it’s just a game but to another it’s their livelihood. I know it is a game, but I want to continue to increase my edge over the competition. I don’t want to be that person who still plays low stakes poker forty, twenty, ten, or five years from now. Poker is unforgiving because it isn’t easy. All those familiar strangers on the screen didn’t get there because of luck. They spent hours putting in hard work. They wanted to be in the spotlight, they wanted attention, they saw the check and said yes.
I fumble around for my phone. It’s a text message, asking me how I am doing. Followed by a little nudge letting me know that it has been over a month since I posted anything to my blog. In that moment as read this text message, deciding how I want to respond; I am snapped back to reality.
I can finally admit that I have been in a funk about poker.