Time for a Poker Break

Sunday, August 8th, 2004, 12:39 am

I’ve been thinking about stepping away from the tables for awhile now, and tonight pretty much convinced me that now is indeed the time for a midsummer hiatus. No, I’m not through playing poker–I’ll definitely be playing in the upcoming Blogger tournament, and I may be playing in a live game or two here and there in the next few weeks. But I’m shuttering my normal online game for at least the rest of the month.

Why am I taking such a drastic step? A few reasons. First and foremost, I want to dedicate a lot more time to writing, especially trying to get some things published. I’d like to start making the occasional buck writing stuff, and playing $25 PL at Party may not be the most lucrative use of my time. Plus I’ve got a lot of things I’m working on right now, and I need to start spending my time getting these projects done and out of my head. Actually, the Sklansky thing I wrote was what really got me thinking seriously about knocking off playing for awhile. I spent three nights in a row writing, and enjoyed it, and I wondered why I didn’t do more of it. I don’t blame poker, of course, because I love playing cards as well. But I need to shift the balance far more toward the writing than the poker.

I also need a break to get my game in better shape. I started playing a lot better recently. It wasn’t just that I was on a hot streak, or that I was catching cards–I really felt I’d made a quantum leap. I was playing much more aggressively, I wasn’t just sitting back waiting for the flop to hit me on the head and trap people. I went a couple of weeks playing a much more aggressive game and it was paying off handsomely.

A big reason for my improved play was that I wasn’t worried so much about the money anymore. I’d built up my bankroll to the point where even a month-long losing streak probably wouldn’t have worried me. Freed of any concern of going broke, I started moving my chips with a lot more force. And it was working.

But while my bankroll was in good shape, I was recently laid off, and even though I’m working again I’m still looking hard for that “real” job that has so long eluded me. So when my wife and I and a gaggle of friends went to upstate New York recently for a big wine festival, I decided to take some money out of my poker winnings to allow us to buy a few pricy bottles we might otherwise have decided were outside our budget. Uh, did I say a “few”? I meant a few…cases. We bought ourselves a ton of vino. Good stuff, too. I bought one bottle that cost more than I’ve ever spent on a case of beer. It was so, sooooo good. Problem is, the folks I bought it from said I shouldn’t drink it until 2006–at least.

“Do you have 10 years to let it age?” the woman behind the counter said.

“Jeez, I hope so,” I answered. Better go get a physical. Hate to keel over six weeks before I’m ready to pop the cork.

So I ended up shifting a LOT more out of my poker account to cover this extravagance. Well worth it (I’ll especially think that around 2011 or whenever I actually drink that goddam bottle) and I still had plenty of cash in my poker account to play with.

But not so much that a really bad run couldn’t bust me. So it was time to tighten up and put on my grinding hat again. But I haven’t done very well at it. I just worked off two deposit bonuses, one at Party, one at Empire, and I barely broke even. I just didn’t play very well, and I don’t know if right now I can bring the proper focus and skill to the tables. I have too many other things I want to concentrate on, and poker is taking away from that. It’s odd–I of course play poker for recreation, but I started thinking of the nights I spent writing instead of playing as time better spent. So, why not commit to that?

I decided to play a $10 SNG tonight, and that pretty much sealed the deal for me. I was dealt AK suited in middle position and raised it up. I had 2 callers, and the flop came a 4-7-5 rainbow. The other two guys checked, so I bet the pot, around $250. The one guy called. An eight on the turn, and I said, “What the hell” and went all in. He called and turned over Q-6, giving him the straight. Why this dufus would call a big preflop raise and a $250 bet when he was drawing to an inside straight is beyond me. But I’d just lost $11 playing only 1 hand. It didn’t faze me too much, and that’s what told me that, yes, now is the time to take a break.

This does NOT mean I’m done playing poker. Far from it. I need to do some more reading, recharge the batteries, and come back a far better player. I also plan on posting here as often as I always do, if not moreso, and I’ll still be writing about poker. Just not about my own play which, let’s be honest, isn’t especially compelling. There are guys and gals writing out there who post blinds in excess of my usual weekly winnings.

So for my dedicated readers (about 100 people, my stats tracker tells me) will notice little difference, other than the fact that I may be posting more often. Or less, if I really get my act in gear and finish a few (non-poker) articles I’ve been working on. More writing, more looking for a job I might actually like (and be good at), more time to exercise.

OK, now that I’ve written this, I have to stick with it. If I find myself logging on to Party tomorrow for a quick 50 hands I can bring this post up and steel myself. For now, I’m beat, and I’m going to bed. Yes, definitely going to be. Not gonna check to see if there’s a multi about to start. No, bed.

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3 Responses to “Time for a Poker Break”

  1. NemoD Says:

    a break is always good. and if you’ll keep posting during the break, well then that’ll be great.

  2. hdouble Says:

    Oh Gene. A fine wine dents the poker bankroll? Say it ain’t so!

  3. SirFWALGMan Says:

    Good luck with the writing, I am sure Pauly would approve.

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