Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Poker Life

Life is too important to take seriously.

-Corky Siegel

Either consciously or unconsciously, we all have a priority list, in some way there are filters that we use to make all our decisions in life. For example, my family and I are moving. Since my job is now poker, my wife and I decided that being 5 hours away from any core family members was getting old and it would be nice not to have to travel every holiday. Our family is the first “filter” in this decision so we sat down and discussed it with them. I have a daughter getting ready to move into High School, so moving may have been a big deal for her. Come to find out we are all about 100% sure on the move and 50/50 on were to go! I took an idea ran it through the filter and it came out a little different. Such is life.

Each section of your life has a filtering process it goes through for decision making. In the above example, if I had a “real job”, I would have to see if moving made since on the job front before I went to the family. Just a different set of filters had to be used. The number of filters you have to go through to reach a decision depends on the ranking of importance that decision has. This is where poker comes in.

To me it was easy. Poker became a source of income for my family before I was ready. I was offered/forced a transfer at my last job and I turned it down and left. Knowing at the current bankroll I was at I couldn’t provide like I was doing, the family filter kicked in and we decided my wife would get a part time job after 12 years of being a housewife. It is working; I am paying some bills and building a bankroll as we go. So for me, poker is ranked on my priority list right there were my job used to be. I have a schedule of playing time and poker takes priority during that time. Poker is my profession and I try to improve and move up in it just like if I was trying to climb the corporate ladder. It gets talked about around my house just like it was a regular 9 to 5, with even my 7 year old son asking “How was work today dad?” There are times when poker has a higher priority over other decisions and times when it doesn’t. Poker is a big part of my life, but not my whole life. This is where I see a lot of people having trouble with poker. Where does it fit end?

I think for all of us it started out as a fun hobby, a curiosity, a way to release and if I lose “x” amount of money a month it doesn’t matter. It was cheaper than going out every week. To some it never gets over that level (Thank You!) It is a low priority with possibly 100’s of filters to go through to see if you play or not. Oh yes, the recreational players.

For a few of us, poker moves up the ladder a little and we start reading books, studying the game and we start to take an extra interest in whether we win or lose and taking steps to get better. We recognize the potential for “extra” money. We start to make time for poker and it takes priority over the late night TV show and maybe over a night out with friends.

Over time you learn, you win, you lose but overall you are coming out ahead. This is when successful poker actually becomes a problem. Life gets in the way and there is no time to do it all. At this point I would like to advise you to take a breath and step back. Consciously decide where poker fits in to the priorities in your life and act accordingly. Run the decisions through your priority filters and see where it comes out. Whether you find more time or less time for poker, be happy with that decision because:

Life is too important to take seriously.

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