Life on the Line

As I was talking to my good friend and poker coach today because he had gotten a gift for me so I went over to hang out with him and another friend of mine who is also a poker grinder.

We started breaking down hands, lets call my coach Jay, and my friend Icy.

Jay is testing me on hypothetical hands that Icy played in Omaha last couple of sessions and I seemed to score pretty well on all of them, where Icy made several sizing mistakes throughout the hand. We joked a bit about how I’m so good in the “classroom” but how I can’t translate that success to the table.

I wish dearly I were a stoic individual, however I am quite the opposite. I am based 100% in my own “state” whether I am daygaming or playing poker. A terrible quality for both these ventures.

If I am playing well, or it’s a big tournament I give my absolute A game and I feel great.

When I am playing bad, the world is ending and I’m a total failure.

I had worked through these parts of my game in poker (it doesn’t affect me so much in game) but this downswing has caused me to lose 100% of everything I own. About 20k in 8 weeks. Yet I still have no sense or urgency that the world is ending…

When it kinda has.

So my friend asked me “How would you play, if your life was on the line?”

Well of course I would be super patient and disciplined. I can’t lose my life right!

It struck me like a hammer. This entire time I have been letting others influence me. I have kept my ego at the table, letting other’s judge me and changing myself for it.

I would berate players for being so tight and worse players paying them off. But if they make money, why would they change? I need to stop caring about ego and other’s perceptions. Check my ego at the door.

All that matters is you win.

All this time I have been impatient, in a place of scarcity, looking at how much I’ve lost, how close I came to getting out of debt and living free on my own terms.

That’s all wrong. This lack of discipline is what caused the downswing. I am in control of my destiny. I can play well, I can put in more hours. I CAN WIN. I WILL succeed. I have no choice.

Why?

My life is on the line.

Why I play Poker

So in the past 6 months I’ve learned a new game. Instead of playing Texas Hold em, which is what you see on TV, I am now playing Omaha for a living. I started out really hot and fell in love with the game. I saw the potential for making real money, and for once in my life started to believe that maybe I could get out of this prison of mediocrity.

I’ve been poor my whole life. My family was poor, we were never broke but lower middle class. I went to school with mostly asian kids who had nuclear families and both parents working professionals who owned a house, I never had the same vacations they had. Then I followed the naive advice that was given to my generation, to go school get a degree, except I didn’t scholarships, nor parents paying for my education. I racked up student loan debt in a directionless career. I never graduated, because I didn’t love any subject and didn’t have the money to continue. I dealt drugs for a bit and fell into poker through friends of friends at 25.

poker_face_by_zeromayhem

I started making a living wage early on, maybe $15/hour for the first 6 months tax free, eventually going up to about $20/hour. I got screwed by a “friend” for a huge debt, but saved enough for to travel for a couple of months. Falling into omaha 6 months ago, I saw potential for real money where I could maybe make 6 figures in a year.

This got me excited, because for once in my life I thought maybe I could escape this hell of mediocrity. Yet, in the last 3 months I have hit a downswing. I am not playing well and my confidence is low, so I am writing this to remind myself to be grateful for what I have.

I don’t have a job

I am not making money for anyone else. I don’t get taxed. I can choose my own hours, and I can sleep in when I want.

I’m paid based on performance

I get what I put in (eventually). Maybe I don’t win today, but the more I work, the more I will get out.

I love the game

I really do. I enjoy sitting there, competing against other players, trying to take their money. I couldn’t imagine working customer service or doing some inane thing over the computer. It’s fun to gamble, it’s fun to compete.

It’s never boring

The game is sick, the people are degenerate. It’s never boring. It’s not the same coworkers sharing their same stories every day. I meet new people every day and also sick degenerates who have interesting stories. I get to play against multi millionaires on a tuesday morning. Who else gets to do that?

I can travel when I want

If I wanted to go live in London tomorrow for 2 months and play poker, I could. I don’t need time off, I don’t need permission. There’s a lot of freedom.

Poker is a vehicle I am using to make money for now. I love the game and it gives me all kinds of freedom. I am grateful for my life and this game. It’s given me a lot and taught me so much about myself. I have the potential to make real money this year and I don’t know where I would be without it.

It’s been a tough downswing and my confidence is shaken. I had to write this post in an attempt to stay positive.

Fuck though, life’s not so bad. I took  daygame bootcamp with Yad, no success yet but I’m getting laid off some mediocre girls at least. I am going to the gym and getting some size. I’m a young good looking dude in a 1st world country who has no boss and the freedom to do what I want. Life’s not so bad after. Keep your chin up.

The universe provides