Loving the Grind

OK, maybe I will never really enjoy the grind again. After a few years, and over a million hands of no-limit holdem online, it’s tough to really like playing no-limit cash games and I may never really love it again. I have admitted to being fairly burned out for the last few years, but poker is still the best job I’ve ever had and I really don’t have a tough lot in life. I’ve been to places where people have hard lives, and my house isn’t within a thousand miles of any of them so I don’t complain much.

I couldn’t get a job tomorrow that would pay me half of what poker will pay me this year. If I could just do something starting tomorrow that would pay me well, poker would go back to being a hobby, and then it would probably be a lot of fun. But I don’t have that option. I haven’t had a job in ten years, I don’t have a college degree, and my only marketable skill skill set is as a luthier (building guitars), which is not an option because of a serious allergy to a number of exotic hardwoods. Doing something else right away is not an option.

So what do I do about poker while I am working on finding something else to do at least part time?

I have been writing quite a lot in hopes of making the transition to a career as a full time writer, but I can’t make that leap until I have started making real money, which is tough as a writer. Writers don’t make a lot of money unless they are publishing best selling books or they are doing really well in e-publishing with their own stuff. I’m working on it, but I may not be there for a while. I have also been working on some web projects, but they are unpredictable and not paying the bills yet.

As for poker, I’m working on making it fun again.

The team battles at Running Aces the last few weeks really reminded how much fun poker can be and how entertaining it can be as a social game. I have been listening to books while I play, as well as some podcasts and occasional music, but that keeps me disengaged from the game, I’ll problem I’ll discuss in a paragraph or two. Avoiding interaction with other players definitely costs me money because I am not hearing them talk, learning about them, and picking up information that I can use to make more money later. I know my income suffers when I’m not at my best, especially in the tougher games in Minnesota. I can’t just sit and wait for the nuts or a big draw like I could in Vegas or California, making continuation bets and otherwise throwing my hand away if I encounter resistance without a big hand.

I have decided to start talking to my opponents. I stopped talking so much and using my ear buds more often because I was tired of the same lame ass bad beat stories and “I wish I had the nuts right here” or “Can I have my hand back” comments. Honestly I don’t know how dealers handle it. But I also miss the interesting conversations and learning about people’s lives. The poker table is one of the few places where people from all walks of life get together and talk, and that is one of the things that makes it interesting.

This summer I got to tell a convicted murderer to shut up, check raise a Methodist minister, lose a big pot to a stripper, and chop a trophy with my old mail man – all in the same tournament! The game would have been boring with headphones on. The problem is that I am so tired of no-limit holdem with the same people that it’s tough for me to grind out a living in the local games without listening to a book and checking my rss feed every five minutes.

During the team battles I had so much fun, and enjoyed the socializing so much, that I have decided to move more in that direction. Maybe I can find a way to have fun at the tables again, to laugh a little more and also be more engaged in the game so that I can make a few more dollars. Because more laughing and more money makes everything more fun.

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  1. #1 by robowolfman on September 5, 2013 - 6:07 pm

    Have the fun of poker is the people at the table. Also an added benefit of getting people to start talking and laughing, making them relax more, and be more willing to throw their money at you.Hope it will help you enjoy it more again

  2. #2 by Tristan on September 5, 2013 - 4:10 pm

    This is exactly the effect I wanted these battles to have! Poker, tournament poker especially, has so many rules in order to make it as safe as possible. Team Battles take away a little bit of that safety and security, but in return they add a big ‘fun’ aspect to the game. The game needs to be fun sometimes!

  3. #3 by PokerGeekMN on September 5, 2013 - 3:46 pm

    Excellent. One of the reasons I haven’t gone to making poker my profession is I really love it as a hobby. It might become much less enjoyable as a job. (The other reasons include that I make too much money in my day job, which I also enjoy. And I’m nowhere near good enough at this moment in time.)

    I hope to see you smiling and laughing at the tables soon. (Maybe we’ll even have another “No Complaining” prop bet.)

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