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Poker becomes an obsession (again)

May 3, 2017

It’s happened again. I’ve been bitten by the poker bug!

Background to this: 14 years ago, during the 2003 World Series of Poker, I fell in love with this fascinating game through the journey of amateur Chris Moneymaker, who ended up beating all the crusty poker professionals for the big main prize (2.5 million then, 8 million now!). It wasn’t that I identified with Moneymaker so much… I was actually rooting for his opponent when it got down to the final 2, the smooth, unlit cigar-chomping Sammy Farha. But the majesty of the game, the depth of the strategic thinking, the test of manhood that is bluffing, all of these drew me in like a moth to a fireball. I was hooked and it was many years before I looked up from the poker table.

But I eventually DID look up from the poker tables and left it behind a few years ago. I guess I had played too much for too long and, truth be told, I just wasn’t a very good player. I had friends who were much better and I could see that THEY had something I didn’t: the emotional fortitude to handle the inevitable swings that poker will deal you. For myself, I’ve always been poor at handling losing, as it kicks me into a depressive state which I can have trouble getting out of. The highs were good, but the downs were brutal and I jumped off the rollercoaster and concentrated on my new wife and child after 10 years at the tables.

But underneath it all, the felt still called to me. I played occasional games, even organized some (I was a steady tournament organizer when I was seriously into poker, throwing tournaments at least once a week). I’ve played live a few times over the past few years, always winning for a change, but I haven’t really played seriously for any signinficant period of time. But that motivation I’ve been lacking has come back in droves now. I am ready to take the next step, to up my game to a new level, to study the game like I never have before and to start again on the hardest way to earn an easy living.

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