I hate poker at the moment, she’s abusing me, crushing my self-esteem, breaking my heart and then laughing at me.
I’m on a painfully sick downswing and I’m playing like a wanker. These two states of being have become so intertwined I don’t know which is more prevalent, or even which came first.
I’m starting to doubt I have any ability at the game at all, even at the micros. I have every logical argument in my opinion arsenal to remind me of the truth of variance, but I’m too emotional to listen to them.
I’m miserable before I even open the poker client, I’m resigned to losing before I’ve even played a hand, I’m angry at everyone and everything before I’ve even been dealt a card.
Given this state of affairs, I know I shouldn’t be playing, I need a break.
Thankfully I still have the brains to recognise that much at least, so today’s blog will have nothing to do with poker, the evil witch, it’s about how I fill those hours when I don’t want to play a hand.
I’m seeing other activities behind poker’s back, and I doubt she’ll even care.
Not poker. When I’m in this mood, I can’t even face reading about poker, because I fight against everything anyone says anyway. The “poor me” mentality is all pervading, and even studying poker is making me sick, so I’ll study something else.
Learning new things is fantastic for the human brain and thinking about alien concepts improves the mental hardware in a way that will be invaluable when I finally calm down and am ready to play and learn poker again.
I’ve read about history, nature, politics, economics and conspiracy theories more in the last two months than in the last ten years and it’s been brilliant.
I’ve never been much for TV, mainly because I hate adverts.
Thanks to Netflix (I don’t pirate stuff because it’s morally bankrupt, nothing to do with not being technical enough to manage it) I can now watch whole series, marathon style with no adverts.
When I have watched TV in the past, I’ve mainly concentrated on comedy series, but in the last couple of months, with my newly available leisure time, I have branched out a bit.
I’ve been watching all sorts of programming, particularly stuff that I looked at and said “that’s not my sort of thing”.
With limited time, it’s easy to pigeon-hole ourselves and say “that’s who I am, and that’s what I like”. It turns out that I like a lot of different things, and my tastes may not be as fixed as I thought.
This has to help my poker game, because I will hopefully become more comfortable with making plays outside my comfort zone. All my recent losses cannot just be due to maths, I’d be losing less if I was better, so I need to stop clinging on to the type of player I think I am and focus on the type of player I need to be.
I’m a game addict, and before I discovered poker, a lot of my leisure time was taken up with playing games.
I’ve revisited some of these in recent weeks; chess, Connect4, solitaire games, strategy games, Minecraft, MarioKart, Monopoly.
I’m competitive in all games, but I don’t care about winning these games as much as I care about winning at poker, and it’s useful to remind myself that losing doesn’t always have to feel personal. I don’t always have to feel crushed and cry like a wet-arsed baby; sometimes I can just feel happy that I am privileged enough to have time to play games at all.
I really need to reconnect with the feeling of enjoying the game of poker, whatever the result.
I love to read fiction, especially long, rambling novels and have always made time for reading. I recently cashed out all the money I had on PokerStars, and I spent a chunk of it on new books.
I love the smell and feel of books, and haven’t been able to make the jump to an e-reader just yet.
I didn’t cash money off Stars because I thought it was rigged, I cashed it out because just looking at the lobby was tilting me, every sound effect (especially the gunshot noise in the PKOs) was sending me into a rage.
I will admit the cash out was a knee-jerk action, and in the long-term, maybe I’ll live to regret spunking some of my roll on paper and ink, but the money I’ve set aside as a poker bankroll has done nothing but cause me pain in the last 10 weeks or so. In the short term, spending some of that money on something tangible felt really good, and I’m bloody glad I did it.
I hate exercising. Some people say that they are able to achieve a higher state of mind when they exercise, personally, I find it really boring.
What I have noticed is that spending an hour or so doing the boring exercise makes me really desperate to focus my mind on something, and I’ve resolved that when I do return to playing my daily poker schedule, I will exercise first, because then I will be grateful for the mental stimulation.
Swimming is my favourite option, because I hate being sweaty, and I’m lucky enough to have a swimming pool within walking distance from my house.
More of my bankroll has gone towards paying a (frankly extortionate) monthly membership, but if I don’t get a grip on my mental state, my whole bankroll will dribble away into someone else’s pocket anyway, so I might as well spend it on improving my physical health.
I spent most of my 20s in a haze of drink and drugs and I’m too old for that shit now. I’m never going to enjoy exercise in the way some people do, but it’s time to admit that the machine housing my beloved brain needs regular maintenance if I’m going to live past 40.
Poker is a great excuse not to write.
I write my weekly blog, and earn some money for writing for other people, but writing for enjoyment has taken a major backseat to poker in the last couple of years.
Truth is, even at its hardest, I still find poker easier than sitting down and writing something that comes from deep within me; poker still makes me cry less.
In the last few weeks, I’ve written more words than in the last five years. Most of it will never see the light of day because it’s truly awful drivel, but that’s not the point.
I’ve revisited painful memories, created characters and forced out ideas I didn’t know I had in me. I may not be proud of all of it, but at least I had full control over it.
However well you play poker, there are always elements that are outside your control, but that’s not the case when you create the world yourself with your own words; anything can happen and you’re completely in charge.
It’s a great feeling.
Baking is an exact science, with immediate success resulting from correct procedure. In theory, poker is a science, but the results come from the long-term, the short term can be desperately frustrating.
I say baking rather than cooking, because I have a super-sweet tooth and really only want to make cakes, biscuits and puddings, but I imagine all forms of cooking will have the same therapeutic outcome: do what you’re supposed to do and you will get an instant positive result, a feeling poker can never promise.
Of course, eating a whole batch of delicious, melt-in-the-middle chocolate cookies is not going to help my weight, heart or overall health, but as mentioned above, I’ve finally started exercising, so I’m calling it a draw on that one.
I love poker, and I’ll never completely fall out with it, but like any major relationship in one’s life, when it starts to hurt more than is bearable, it’s time to take a step back and reassess.
Poker and I will definitely get back together, but at the moment, we’re on a break, and I will have passionate affairs with all these other distractions before I take her back.
I do miss poker, but until I can properly forgive her for being such a cruel bitch, I can’t return to her. Unlike other relationships, she’ll be waiting for me, whenever I’m ready and welcome me back with open, cold, unrelenting arms.
Your indifference won’t destroy me, Poker; you may be my one true love, but I don’t have to take your shit all the time, life is short and I have other options.
What do you do when you’re angry at poker, and why? I’m in the kind of mood where I’ll try anything, so share your ideas please!