Poker Pain is Mutual...

In one single day I got phone calls from two good friends who have been through two of poker's most difficult wringers. They are both live players first and foremost but have had success in online poker as well. The first had a bit of "I can't leave when ahead, and most certainly can't leave when behind, so I can't leave at all." The time crunch of life has limited his poker
playing to a confined structure of weekend hours, so he's in a constant corner. The second ran into a cooler, and in effect feels like he's in a constant cooler.

These are both things most of us, okay, all us even Jesus (Ferguson) have experienced playing poker. I know I have endured both. The constant corner that can be the perpetual trap of live play is simple. Personally, as life, wife, baby, and everything else consumes me, it's harder and harder to get out there and play, even worse it's harder to get out there and play well because of the constraints of everyday life.

I'm not playing poker to have fun. I do it to supplement my income. So, I'm not there to enjoy the ups and downs of the game and "gamble." Course, if I don't get to play live poker with any regularity, there is also the motivation to play for fun because it is. If I triple up when I first sit down, I'm going to want and stay and play. Opportunity is slim so I have to take it.

Course, if the table is good I might have already maximized my earnings there and should look for a table change or go home, if the table is soft, of course I should stay. Sounds like my friend watched his winnings trickle away and couldn't pull the eject switch.

It's a mindf**k. I almost would rather start losing because it sharpens me and I play out on an ascent. Start way ahead but then lose a pot or two and you start chasing the phantom stack that used to be at the top of the pyramid of stacks in front of you. Suddenly the pyramid is a square.

Strange how perception can affect your play, but it does.

Trying to pack in a session, a winning session, that is strictly results oriented even if you know you shouldn't be, once a week can be more than arduous. You play four or five times a week, and the losses aren't so bitter, there is less importance on each hand, there is opportunity to get up and leave, because you'll be back.

My first friend is experiencing just how difficult part-time poker pro can be. It's almost something you can't do part time, unless you call it a hobby. Simple variance can last for months and months if you only play once every couple of weeks. You could be on a heater and not even know it, but if you are on a downswing you're going to know it everytime you think about poker. Your strategy is totally different than an online poker strategy

Your last loss will resonate for weeks, but the glee of a win will disipitate within a day or so. Not being able to get back up on the horse that bucked you quickly is a dangerous thing. Then you start questioning decisions, you stop protecting your hands, lose that aggressiveness because the last time you did it you lost a big pot to a fish that sucked out on you.

It festers and becomes habit and pretty soon the game you used to have, that you throttled people with on a regular basis, is a faded memory even to you. See, I know first hand what my friend is talking about. I've been there.


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