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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Poker Plus - Cycles

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There are many cycles we go through as we age and go through life. First of course, we are babies, where everything is new, then toddlers where we are shaky, trying to find our way. On we go through adolescence where we learn and grow, then end up as teens, where we think we know everything there is to know. And as young adults, we plan our life path and head into full blown adulthood, arriving to find out maybe we aren’t as smart as we thought we were.

When we arrive at middle age we start to wonder what life is all about and ponder all the choices we have made. After this, someone will tag us as “seniors” and we earn the right to get discounts on our lunch. At this stage we are supposed to be seasoned, wise and all knowing. Maybe we are and this is why so many of us are deemed as grouchy or senile! We are just tired of all of life we have seen and will never understand why things are they way they are now-a-days.

Our life Poker cycles are the same as our life cycles, sharing many of the same problems and obstacles.

When we first start playing poker, we are babies, learning how to survive in a whole new world. We are full of wide eyed wonder and bewilderment, amazed and excited by everything we see.

Then we start wobbling through learning the games, toddling and stumbling along, trying to get our bearings. We try to feel comfortable in our surroundings, learning to navigate the game, without falling on our faces and losing a fortune. We are happy to let someone lead us along, and watch what other players do and how they do it.

Adolescence comes with learning what to do and not to do, how to obey the rules and not get in trouble. This is when we learn how to play, what is a good starting hand, what should be mucked. Hopefully we start to hold our own in the games, learning more each time we play.

In our teen phase, we may let success go to our heads. If we have been moderately successful we may think we know all there is to know about playing poker. This can lead us to take chances we shouldn’t and develop a cocky self confidence. If we are not careful we can get in deep trouble here and lose way more than we can afford, cutting our poker career short.

If our bankroll survives our teens, we will realize in our young adult years that we may not have been so smart back then after all. Now it is time for us to decide if we are going to be a serious poker player, or only play for fun and recreation. Either way is fine, but we need to set ourselves some guidelines for the future so we can continue to afford to play.

As adults, we should be pretty savvy poker players, having played for a few years and learning along the way. If we are serious about our game, we should be overall winners, understanding that it is one long series of games, not just the results of one session of poker. This is the period we have to set our schedules to play, to play and juggle a family, manage our finances and our time. If we don’t set boundaries here and live within them, we will have major problems. For those with no boundaries or discipline, poker may become a gambling obsession, destroying their finances, marriage, family and job.

By playing within our limits, we glide into our senior years and relish the freedom to play when we want after we retire. We also may need to adjust or create our poker budget. There are thousands of retirees that use playing poker online as their entertainment and social outlet. If they are on a fixed income, they have a strict poker budget and have to stick to it every month. Many of them play the small limits and you will see them chatting away, having a great time. The social aspect of the game is almost more important than the actual game, which is great for them to have this outlet.

If you are over 50 years old, after years of playing, you have seen enough hands, bad plays, bad players, bad beats, winners and losers, that nothing much surprises you anymore. We can take the beats and withstand the losses because we have the wins to make up for it all. This is the time we can also become grouchy, irritable, short tempered and impatient. Because of our experience, we get tired of being constantly beat by hands we would never even consider playing. Very soon we will see that there is such a thing as playing too much, and we need to take time away from poker. These much needed breaks give us a new prospective and restore our confidence, so we can come back to play fresh and ready to win.

Travelling through these life cycles we have learned a lot, and have probably converted from live play to playing online. The same pitfalls and profits can be had online, we have just had to make a lot of adjustments and learn online is not the same as live play. Probably the hardest thing for older players to learn and adjust to online is the speed. Games online are much faster, so you see twice as many hands an hour than in your local B&M poker room. This means you have to adjust and maybe tighten your play. It is almost easier for the young players starting out today, as they are learning to play online so they don’t have the same adjustments to deal with as us old converts do.

Whatever your cycle is, or game of choice, download one of the poker sites and Grab a Chair…see you there!

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