"I struggle to find balance between my work life, my family life, my social life, and my poker life."
That was a statement I made to my father about 3 years ago. Today, my poker life has become my social life, and it has shown in results.
During the long ride home from Pottsville, PA last night, I was conversing with Griff, about my early days of heading to Atlantic City. When I was still in Highschool, during college, and during one job I had in the mid to late 90's.
I was a District Manager for Frito-lay and was recruited by a Regional Company who had bought up three snak food companies and need someone to run the division. They didn't have a huge budget so I catapulted from District Manager to Vice President of this new company. The guy who hired me had met in AC for the second round of interviews. We were both going to be there for a trade show, and figured we could get away privately.
During that talk we realized that we were both avid poker players. Him so much that he actually bought a condo next to the Taj because he knew he would be there almost every weekend.
We spent the next two years spending almost every other weekend down there playing. It was a separate part of my life outside of my normal scope of friends. We played higher limits mostly 20/40 and sometimes occasionaly higher.
Holdem started to pick up more and more and the 5/10 and 10/20 nl tables were ripe. Before then I rarely played above 5/10 but this guy gave me confidence. We played with the likes of pros, celebrities, and true rounders from NY, Philly, and DC
The point is I spent those years and prior years going to Ac to play poker. To play seriously. To win money. There are two parts to poker. Strategy and object. Strategy we all know and recognize, and encompasses everything from starting hands to odds to tells. The object, which escapes most people, is to make money, build a bankroll... This I admit has left my presence because of the popularity of poker and the participation with friends now moreso than "tourists"
Today, poker has really become social for me. It is probably a case of the company, the case of more and more friends playing and not playing well. We sit down every friday, saturday, or whenever it strikes us to play, socialize, and laugh.
We chop stupid pots, and play stupid games. None of this is done with any type of seriousness, and moreso done with a lot of ballyhoo, Tom Foolery, and the like.
At the casino during Eh Vegas, I told CK of a leak in my game. I got into a huge pot with a guy at the table who we both enjoyed, and sort of became friends with. I flopped or turned the nut hand, and this guy obviously liked his holdings. It was a case where I think he would have stood up to me in that hand because of the perception that I was bullying and stealing a lot of pots.
But I left him off the hook. I raised so big that he couldn't call. I did that because I liked him and didn't want his money. That would never had happened years ago. I also laid a hand down where I had the redraw to the nuts into a pot that would have stacked him about $400. I had every right to call that hand as well given the odds, and who knows if I would have hit. The point is, again, I laid down because I liked him.
The last 3-4 years or so have gone by without me really recognizing this point. I have played soft, fun, happy poker. I still win, but not nearly as much as I used to. Probably because of the limits I now play because of who we play with. Even when we make the trip to AC, we can't be down there for 118 hours anymore. We go down for 4-6 hours. I won't play higher limits for less than 12 hours, and wanting to play with the friends, who all sit down at the 1/2 and occasionally 2/5 tables, its really more for entertainment than anything else.
Going forward I dont know that much will change. I don't have the time anymore to spend 18 hours down there, and with the exception of the occasional underground games, there just isn't much around to provide any real serious poker.
I do look forward however to the future. That is the 2-3 years out when I complete a couple of deals, and have more time for serious poker. I am playing in the Main Event this year, and have no real expectations. the fields are ridiculous and I expect nothing but donkery to be in full force. Navigating through those fields will be funny, frustrating, leg numbing, and tiresome.
But if the breaks go my way, and my Aces hold up, and my draws complete, and my buffs go unchallenged, maybe, just maybe, I can have the luxury of having fun, and play some serious poker.