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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Bloggery With Intent To Chronicle Poker – Wasteland

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Everyone has a story to tell, especially poker players.  All stories are not bad beats and all do not have happy endings - but in reality, when you follow poker as your given path, there is no ending, it’s one long game.

I'm heading back to Las Vegas tomorrow. The holidays have been filled with a lot of good times but not much poker. I did manage to play a little .05/.10 Pot Limit Omaha at Full Tilt Poker yesterday. It was an up and down session. I started with $10 at three tables and lost $10 quickly at one table when I flopped top two and got it all in against a player with a wrap and flush draw. He was the favorite and improved. I played for another 30 minutes and managed to get almost back to even, ending the session down $1. It's still funny to me to look at poker in terms of cents and dollars rather than dollars and hundreds of dollars. Once I get back to Vegas, I plan on devoting a significant amount of time to building the bankroll up. My plan is for at least a minimum of 4 hours a day with preferably 8 hours.

2009 was an interesting year for me. Poker was still my only source of income but I played by far the least amount of poker in a year that I've played since 1999. To be honest, I'm not sure what the reason for that is. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I haven't had to play in order to make money. The writing gigs that I have managed to land have been more than enough for me. Poker became something I did merely for fun, not because I had to do it in order to pay the bills. This isn't necessarily a terrible thing I think, but I'm not sure that it is the best use of my skills or that it even is the right thing to do. The thing is, most of the writing I do is poker strategy and it's almost comical to be getting paid to write about how to play poker if I am not even playing it.

This doesn't mean I'm not observant of the shifting strategies in the game or what today's players are doing. Covering the World Series of Poker, I get to witness firsthand how people are playing and in talking with countless players I also get insight into their mindsets and what poker players are thinking about at the table. However, it's one thing to observe, talk, and write about it and another to put into effect.

I learned that the hard way when I played three tournaments at the Venetian Deep Stack series in October. While I cashed in one and broke even for the three tournaments, I didn't feel like my play was where it should be. I felt like I was missing something. Whether it be making the wrong play at the wrong time (I was one of the chip leaders in the event I cashed in, but made two terrible plays at the end to be eliminated) or against the wrong person, or failing to follow through on what my instincts tell me; it was apparent to me that poker is not like riding a bicycle. While the fundamentals of the game are easy to remember and it's not impossible to take time off and return to the game, your poker mindset is clearer when you are playing often. The tough decisions are easier. The ability to steer clear of trouble is second hand. When you take time off from the game, everything seems a little murky, as if you are driving through fog at 3 o'clock in the morning.

If there is one thing I learned this year it is that I am not as great at this game as I believe myself to be. Because I've been fortunate enough to not have to work a real job for a decade now, I've gotten this false sense that I am unstoppable... that I cannot beaten. That's simply not the case. I do, however, know that I am as good as I let myself be. When I put in the time and the effort, I am pretty damn good. When I don't... I can be as big a donkey as a player that has sat down at a poker table for the first time ever.

Here's to not releasing my inner donkey this year.

Song Of The Day – Wasteland by 10 Years

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