Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bon Voyage

This "weekend" finds me going on another summer trip (my 4th such 4-5 day trip this summer, not counting two of the excursions to Vegas to play in the WSOP, during which minimal to zero poker will have been played), this time to Lake Havasu for 4 days of water skiing with Danielle, her father, and my friend Chris. I'm far and away the least accomplished skier in the group, but that didn't stop me from having a blast last time (2 years ago to the month, just after I started this whole "poker for a living" business).

On the one hand I'm looking forward to the trip quite a bit. My recent hot streak has allowed me to go off and enjoy myself without constantly worrying that the cost of life is going to catch up to me and that before I know it I'll be poker busto. At the same time however, I'm a little concerned about a few things. First of all, it's pretty common knowledge that you're supposed to keep playing when you're winning. There are several good reasons for this, but the most important three are 1. You're likely having fun and this is supposed to be fun and 2. If you're winning on average that means you're in a better situation (weaker opponents and better focus on your part) and 3. If you're up 3 racks you probably have a pretty solid table image and your life should be a lot easier. These three reasons are meant to apply to a specific session and are counter to the way most people play poker. You've seen the guys who lock up moderate wins in their game but will play for 15 hours straight trying to "get even" if they're stuck. Hell I know props that do this. I mean there is actually a little merit to this if you have, say, spousal pressure to report your results and may lose some play time if you come home stuck the over 50% of the time (which is what should happen to most players), but the real solution to that problem is to educate your spouse (which I realize is entering unicorn fantasy land for the players I'm talking about, since most of them don't even understand the concepts themselves). But the simply truth is that it's very important to pick up stuck very frequently if you're playing full time, and also very important to grind out a few extra hours here and there when you're already up. Just last Monday I turned a $700 win into a $1900 win by playing hours 8 and 9 of my session because damn it the game was fantastic. Anyway, the point is that these principles really should also apply over several sessions or weeks. I've been winning, so I'm having fun, I'm confident, and on average have probably been putting myself in good games (the goodness of the games is sorta cyclical), so I should play a bunch more hours.

My other main concern is that I feel like I need this break already. As I stated above I've taken a freaking ton of vacation this summer, and I am starting to wonder if I'm ever going to be able to truly sustain even 40 hour weeks. Before I started this whole shot I ran a test trial, working at Oracle and driving to either Bay 101 or Garden City 22 days in a row (that's right, every day for over 3 weeks) to play poker, to see if it would get old. It didn't, and when I wasn't able to play on day 23 I was bummed. Everyone warned me that if I treated poker like a job that it would become, well, a job, and I wouldn't enjoy it nearly as much. That has been true to some extent these past two years, but I feel like I was keeping it under control by managing the other stresses in my life well. Down here in the Southlands those other stresses (not having as many good friends, traffic, jerks at the table) have grown basically unchecked and I'm concerned that they are wilting away my passion for poker.

Anyway, I'll be gone until the middle of next week (weekend is a very generous term when you don't have a job you see), attempting to avoid heatstroke. In the mean time I leave you with roughly 100 videos I took during my trip to Yellowstone. Enjoy.


bravos1 said...

Enjoy the lake... tell Chris I said hey and remind him to glue his glasses to his I'm sure there are a lot more ways to lose them on a trip to the lake!

Alan Bostick said...

I just left on vacation too -- visiting friends with a cottage on a lake in rural Ontario. Then comes a few days in Toronto, then five days at Foxwoods (interrupting the vacation for some work) and then New York City.

I don't even bother trying to play 40 hours a week. I'm pushing it if I make it to 30.