I’m losing my poker mind.

You know that guy on the forum who says “Imma move up stakes to where they respect my raises”? I am becoming that guy.
Great news. Cos everyone loves that guy.

I’m not actually writing it on forums, but in my head, I’m thinking I want to play less lowstakes poker and move up to where I can respect their raises.

Before I expose myself entirely as an utter goober, I want to do two things.
Firstly I want to be clear I am a winning player at micros massive field MTT, av stake $15, so this is not a desire to get away from micro players who “are just lucky”. I’ve done enough work to best the average player at my stakes.
Secondly, I want to ask you to indulge me whilst I wax-reminiscent about the first and second time I played chess.

The first time I was young, and was messing about with another young kid, having had some basic instruction about how each of the pieces moved from a weird old Scottish dood.chess
I’m pretty sure my Dad thought we were being groomed because I remember him watching us like a hawk. At the time, I thought he was just very interested in chess; weird how adulthood colours our childhood memories with shades of shite, huh?
Anyway, the game went on for what felt like a while, because we obviously had to think for a bit about each move, it’s chess, dammit.
In the end I triumphed, don’t really remember how.

The second time I played chess was about a year later when I got Fool’s mated by a pre-pubescent smug git. At eight years old I developed a taste for getting my soul crushed at games by someone much better than me and leaving the arena defeated, but with some new ideas.

I’ve won about 8% of the games of chess I’ve ever played, I’m truly terrible.
I still love chess.

And now what of poker?
I used to just want to play poker for money, and now I want to play for the beauty of the game?

This all sounds super noble, but also, expensive.
“Oh… hello! Mid-stakes regs! I’m a micro-fucktard on a soul-search for the rhythm of the poetry of life… lalalaaa… here’s my monies…”

Despite having picked out a suitable outfit for the above scenario, I can’t really have it happen.
I have nowhere near the bankroll to move up to say, $100-$200 buyins. So that option is out.
I won enough at poker last year to bankroll myself for that, but I spent it on living life and I regret nothing.

throwing moneyWhat else can I do?

I could just play for free play chips.
However, the game will probably be less challenging than $5 tournies, and how can I play at that level for free when I know I can beat it for real money at a stake I can afford? That’s dumbfuckery of time.

My whole issue is I’m fed up with playing ABC poker at the micros and the only real gain being money.
I appreciate how whiney and annoying that sounds, but I think it’s actually true.

I have donated a couple of bullets to some higher buyins, I got mullered in important pots and enjoyed the game.
I also found the post tourney analysis much more interesting.
I’ve looked at many $5 tourneys hand by hand can honestly say “I did nothing wrong”. That’s not me saying I’m the best reg in micros, it’s me saying there are enough players who are not forcing me to make mistakes in important pots in the mid/late stages of $5 tourneys.
Even the bad regs at $200 (online) are tripping me up far more than the average micro player.

I’ve started bringing cash games into the equation, but as yet have nowhere near the sample size to comment on results there.
I find the game less interesting somehow. I’ve always liked the story in a tournament, and I really notice that absence of urgency at a cash table. I can’t seem to focus and play a cash session at all, but I’ll keep on trying because the answer could well be in that format.

A few years ago, I had a revelation about poker maths, finally getting my head around a basic and simple mathematical concept changed the whole way I thought about the game.
In the last few months, this has happened again; somewhere along the line, my relationship with poker has turned the same way as my relationship with chess; I like getting schooled if I’ve had to think.

I want to think about the game in a whole new way, but my current opponents, in the main, do not.Kids Chess

In the last few weeks, I’ve almost entirely stopped playing.
I’ve been studying other people’s games, and playing around (largely blindly) with software I barely understand; the fun never stops.

And here’s my biggest problem with all this.
I sell the dream of poker as fun. I do that for money, decent money, that good i-gaming office money, and I don’t feel shillish because I actually believe in it.

Do I still? Are charts and maths fun for a mainstream audience?
Can I really sell maths as a hobby?
I wouldn’t work in PR for chess, not because I don’t love it, but because it’s a damn hard sell.

Should I just admit that poker has become too hard to sell on its real merits?

I may have had my head in a computer/up my own arse for a bit too long; let me just take a breath before I hand in my notice and fuck off to an ashram to centre myself and do loads of planty drugs.

I’ve been playing a bit more live. Live buyins are massive, I’m not rolled for them, even €50 buyins, and don’t even bother keeping track of live results.
I love live poker when I get a good table, and people are fun, and we talk to eachother like we’re kids playing a game.

I like going weird places to play live poker, and see a bit of the world for relatively low cost. Most players I know who play online and live poker have had some good holidays without having to spend a lot of money.

I feel happy selling live poker trips, because the poker isn’t the whole game there, and grinding online at the micros to win a holiday is something I’m proud to pitch.
salesmanAs for selling poker purely as a game, to grind multiple tables online in the hopes of being a long term winner and getting maximum enjoyment from it? I’m very sure I don’t believe that can any longer be sold as a mainstream goal.

I enjoy doing boring maths on my day off, I’m in no way ashamed of that.
I’m not signing up to a career in marketing Sunday Spreadsheets, and my efforts as a recreational player are largely unimportant if there is no new blood coming in behind me.

It’s gonna be forty degrees here today, and I’m planning to study and then play an early evening session.
I can hear the people at the pool from here.

You see the problem.