It's been two weeks since my last post, and almost as long since I've played a hand of poker. Babar advised me not to make this as public as it's about to become, but I have always prided myself on a high level of transparency here on my blog (with just a few notable exceptions) and wouldn't feel right if I didn't give those of you reading this (some of whom, my lady points out, have been following from the very beginning) the whole story and some sense of closure.
So there it is....I'm done playing poker for a living. No I'm not quitting the game forever; it is my hope to play as a hobbyist at some point in the not terribly distant future, and perhaps at points actually in the terribly distant future. When you get right down to it I still do enjoy the game itself, which is a large part of the reason I kept playing as long as I did and why I hope to play again in the future under different, better, circumstances. Poker has turned me into a grumpy, grouchy, angry, hate-filled person. It causes me stress all the time, even when I'm playing in games I'm perfectly (even amazingly) rolled up for. When you get right down to it, I simply could not make peace with the hostile and negative environment at Commerce, which is why you saw the pattern repeated again and again of me striving to play "anywhere but there", first at Hawaiian Gardens, then The Bike, and finally even at the Hustler 25/50 game when I should have been playing just way higher. The player pool at Commerce is too hostile, the negative energy too pervasive. I have seen many good people lose their....well...goodness, I suppose....there. Eventually I was looking around the room, into the dead soulless eyes of many of the lifers, the ones who are trapped, who can't do anything else, and decided that there was simply no way I could risk that happening to me.
To be clear, there are some people who are well suited to it, some people who seem capable of handling the environment. Many of them simply have no other choices, no better options, and have forced themselves to stay committed to the course and do everything they can just to stay sane, but some really do seem to just "fucking love it". And kudos to them. I am not among their ranks, and nor will I ever be, not so long as I was grinding for a living, playing 40+ hours per week, letting my results define my own feeling of self worth (which I know is a shortcoming, but it is one I did not overcome in five years).
I am I pulling up the tent stakes and starting on the next chapter of my life. No, I am not yet sure what it will be, although the leading candidate at the moment is a software development job of some sort. I'm still qualified, I can still do the work, and even though my last trip around the block didn't go so well some introspection the last week has led me to believe that the primary flaws were not systematic, but rather in the way I approached the adversity with which I was met. I felt a sense of entitlement at the time; I felt that I had done everything I was supposed to do to get to that point, and that the Oracle job was in and of it self a great success. Then when things started to slip apart, I got angry and bitter that something so unjust could happen to me, instead of figuring out how to handle it. I felt sorry for myself, and that's really not the way to go. I was young(er) and stupid(er) than I am now. This next trip around the block, should I chose to make it, will be all sorts of different.
I'd like to thank everyone who's been here along this roller coaster ride, making it more fun, more bearable, and making me feel at least in some way important and relevant (I could argue that last part was actually just enabling me, generating a false sense of meaning in my life, but I won't bother here). I have made some good friends, ones that I hope to keep for the rest of my life. I won't list you all here, but if you think I could you're almost certainly right. And most of all I'd like to thank my true loved ones, my parents and even my partner's family (whom I think of as my own) for their support, interest, love, and friendship. Above all else, though, I need to thank my lady. She has been here with me through all of this, the intermittent good and the seemingly un-ending bad. She has endured, she has stood by me, through the nights I came home angry and upset, exhausting, and in general just not what she'd signed up for, all in the name of making money. She gave me support because she knew I needed it, but deep down just wanted me to be happy, and kept hanging on, hoping I could figure out how to be just that AND a professional poker player. Well you know what? It wasn't gonna happen, and so now...we turn the page.