Poker at My Fingertips

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Whoa is me it’s happened again. A blog earthquake ripping a gaping hole between my last post and the one you are reading now. Even worse, the last post came with a cliffhanger. Your eyes which were previously grasping for a computer screen El Capitan, are long gone with no memory of written words past. If you are just reading my dream derailment post and have moved immediately to this post, let’s just say I found the discipline and the fortitude to go forward. The fear of corporate america served as the brutal whip I needed to get my fragile game into profitability submission.

But here we stand today with Covid crashing down on America’s social way of life. Live poker rooms, also, have been damaged by the wreckage. While a room here and there have started to reopen I have yet to go regularly. The mask and plexiglass precautions are just not conducive to the sociality of the game. And that, my friends, is one key component that makes the games so fascinating. And the risk of catching Covid is still abundant, even if more muted in the last few weeks. Yes I am looking forward to going back to live poker but I am biding my time. I am patiently waiting for the Coronavirus storm to dissipate even move.

And so online poker has become my most current reality. The hurdles of online poker profitability are like skyscaping high bars that require spring loaded power boots to propel yourself over. Unlike before with my live poker challenges, I have the confidence, discipline, and necessary perseverance to prevail. But having poker available 24/7 at my fingertips has led me down a path of game play absorption. And it certainly doesn’t help when there is really no place to go socialize, nowhere to go, and no place to be. Especially when the media, and rightfully so, blasts a bullhorn in our ears about the increased safety obtained by just staying at home. So here we are from March to August, my sole poker existence relegated to staring at a screen. I have been so entrenched in the game that I only just recently found the fortitude to take necessary brief breaks to be more attentive to my family and other various interests. Ok, maybe I have more work to do on this front but I am crawling like a baby down the path that ultimately winds its way to a teenager driving a car. A certainly wordy and shitty metaphor but hopefully you get the idea.

The jewel in the crown of this whole online poker situation is that I have played infinitely more hands online these last few months than I would have playing live. The speed and multi tabling aspect of the online game just allows for exponentially more hands to be played. So my game has taken a massive leap in development. I won’t say that my new found online poker self would crush my previously live pokerself. But if I was a betting man, which of course you know that I am, I would certainly slap down a few hundos on my online poker self. Especially once online poker self gets back to the proverbial live poker streets. So I stand here today very eager to get back to the physical felt. My new, freshly polished, game theory eyes are going to fatten up my wallet like a torch filled hot air balloon.

I hope you will stick around for next post, ideally to occur before we ring in the new year. We could certainly use a new calendar after the shit stained year we have lived through thus far. Until then, Smile Big and Dream Bigger.

On The Brink of Failure

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It’s strange but I have been meaning to write this blog post for quite a few weeks now. Weeks turned into two months so it feels good tapping my thumb prints onto the smooth keyboard keys.

Let’s wind back the clock a few months to August 31st of this year. It was technically the first of September but the derailment had started late in the evening of the 31st. It was now the first of a new month after a fairly regular all night poker session. The worst session of my poker life to be exact. I had a really nasty start to my cash session and was much more than 1k deep into the game. After some nasty pot holes earlier in the session I had kicked the tires back onto the smooth roads of a beautifully scenic comeback. That’s when the car was set to crash into a gigantic oak that was two very overplayed monster hands. To make the long story short I basically gave away all the money I had gained back and then some. I was felted twice in two major hands and the table fur had swallowed me like a green hole of death. But in the end it was really my play, not the felt nor the cards, that was my unraveling. I should have played two hands much safer which was totally prudent considering both game theory and logical deductions from these villain player behaviors.

In the end I found myself at home, after the biggest losing session of my life, on the brink of failure which was my professional poker career. After coming home at 6am I couldn’t sleep and felt compelled, although mentally kicking and screaming like a tantrum infused child, to search for a disgusting corporate job to slam me back into the wall of reality.

When my wife awoke and asked what I was doing my tear ducts began to flow like a steady dripping spigot. I explained what I was doing and we had a short discussion. It was brief as she was preparing to get ready for work, as she always has for years on Sunday morning. The gist of the conversation was that I was coming to the realization I just might not have the patience and discipline to make consistently what I knew were strategically proper decisions day in and day out, hand after hand. Poker, if you let it, can be like a long standing stretch in the hole of solitary confinement. Only you and your thoughts agonizing about what went wrong and wondering how you can survive each forthcoming minute, hour, day, week, and month.

Forgive me for leaving a little cliff hanger here, like buttery hands digging into a steep cliff’s crevice, but the post has already become too lengthy. You will just have to stick around and anticipate my next post which will reveal much more about how I moved forward from this fulcrum of fear.

Until next time, Smile Big and Dream Bigger!

All In or All Out!

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So maybe you are wondering where I have been. No I have not disappeared off the face of the earth like an incinerated alien. I have been working my ass off to be successful at my dream job.

When I first started officially living my dream of playing poker full time I foolishly believed I could work on other business endeavors to make money during my poker downswings. I found out the hard way that during a downswing it’s a must to double down on your efforts when things are not going your way. No we are not truly doubling down as we are talking poker not blackjack. If you want to be truly successful at any endeavor, especially one that has a certain percentage of luck, you need to be willing to work even harder to learn your craft and grow through study and practice. In other words, to move forward with your dream without backsliding down the muddy hill of adversity, you have to go All In! You have to be willing to commit every ounce of effort you have to the task at hand. You have to be willing to stick every chip you have into the center of the felt.

The task at hand for me, is my dream of supporting myself and my family through poker income. You can’t go half ass at something as difficult as the high variance career of a professional poker player. Heck, they should probably change the name to professional poker worker. Who are we kidding, this in’t playing this is working! Despite all that, this is the work I truly love. This profession is going to test you like a AP Calculus exam. You better be prepared or your plan is going to be demolished. Like the famous Mike Tyson said… “Everybody has a plan until they are punched in the face!”

My plan has taken some hair pin twist and turns but I have gone ALL IN on my efforts to becoming a successful poker pro. It’s no cruise control for me as that undoubtedly leads to failure. I have a death grip on the wheel and my palms are sweating but I’m not going to let the winding road get the best of me. I don’t want to backslide and have to go back to the corporate world with my tail between my legs. I want to be standing proud on the dream stage when they open the curtain. So it is time to end this post as I have much more poker study to do and many more hours to work on the felt. While I will try to post more often here I can’t make any guarantees. Do you want to be a success at that one thing you have been dreaming about doing? Then you have to make a choice… you can be ALL IN or ALL OUT! As for me, I think you know which one I choose. Until then, I will see you at the final dream table. Smile Big and Dream Bigger!!

Nobody Said it Would Be Easy

I am less than one month in to my journey of living out my dream. It’s great to think about how I am in complete control of what I do everyday including my schedule of when to can play poker and when to take a day off. But when it comes to playing poker, variance can flip your world upside down like a roller coaster. Variance in poker is the concept in which over a short period of time, the luck factor can lead to losses even if you are a long term winning player. This can scramble even the best player’s psyche like eggs in the morning. I knew that there would be downswings, I just didn’t plan on them right off the bat during my first month of self employment.

The key to overcoming this early barrier is to stay positive, keep working on my game off the felt, and to take care of myself outside of the my strange but fascinating office that is the my local casino. I have been meditating, absorbing a large amount of poker content, and listening to motivational videos. The one thing I need to work on is developing a gym schedule. Keeping the body healthy enhances the mind and in turn easing the hardship that congruent with difficult challenges.

I am looking forward to the end of April so I can start fresh in May. What does a new month have to do with anything? Well variance is something over the long run that can be overcome. Losing months do happen but a skilled player should have very few. I am looking forward to a winning month next month. Success is something I know is coming as I smile big and dream bigger.

I finally did it! I quit my job to pursue my dream!!

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April 2nd was my last day in corporate America. On my first day walking through the rarely traveled dream path, I posted the following on my Facebook page:

I’ve always been fond of the Latin phrase Carpe Diem. My affection for the phrase, however, for a very long time now felt mostly like this utopian idea to aspire to.
Yesterday, however, I put that idea into action. After working in Corporate America for over 20 years, I have decided to step away to pursue other endeavors I have been dreaming about for a very long time. I am extremely grateful that I was able to work for such an amazing company over the last 20 years. I learned a lot while working there and it shaped who I am today. While I will miss regularly seeing many of the friends I have made over the years in corporate America I am very excited about the opportunity before me to try working my dream job.

Some may question my choice, but I am lucky to have the love and support of my closest friends and family. My wife’s faith in me and my ideas for a future career of self-employment have been instrumental in me building up the necessary courage to move forward. Outside of her love for me and the children she gave birth to for us, it is the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. Sure, I have some fears about taking this leap of faith, but these fears are much less than the fear of future regret. Without me moving forward with this decision, my elderly self may have looked back on my life with disappointment for not taking this opportunity to try to succeed at this specific dream of mine.
For those of you who may be worried for me and my family… Don’t Be! I have been planning for yesterday’s developments for many years now and I have taken all the necessary steps to provide financial stability for me and my family as I pursue my dream.

I believe it was Wayne Gretzky who said… “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Well the time has come for me to take my shot. I feel I have developed the skills and done the necessary planning to score many goals moving forward.

My last boss was a huge fan of Steve Jobs’ quotes, so I will leave you with this… “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Carpe Diem!!

Going forward, my blog posts on this page will detail the journey of staying on the dream path, hopefully without having to u-turn back to Corporate America. I hope to post more as I share my future success in the poker world. When people ask me how I am doing, and I say… “living the dream,” I can now say it with confidence that I truly mean it. Untill the next post, Smile big and dream bigger. I know I am!!

The Last Mile of the Dream Marathon

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All the pillars are in place, the ducks are lined up, the room is set, and the band ready to roll. While I have not reached the finish line just yet, I can see the dream signpost up ahead and the finish line tape waiting for me to bust through.

I have reached my financial goal to take the leap of faith and pursue my dream. I have the cushion necessary to give myself at least one year to succeed at this dream I have patiently been waiting to plunge into. The closer I get, the more I hope to reveal through this blog. Stick around; you don’t want to miss me smiling big and dreaming bigger at the finish line.

The Dream Accelerated

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Recently, I have been setting clearer goals to try and accelerate my course towards the dream finish line. If you read my blog regularly, or as regularly as I post which is not much recently, you know that playing poker professionally is part of that dream. Goal setting is always a key component of successfully realizing your end game.

Some of the goals I have set myself include making sure I track all poker cash sessions, playing on a more regular schedule, and ensuring I have enough hours of play to validate potential future success. Right now, I am playing poker twice a week and have a very good hourly rate. I have set for myself a bankroll goal which I plan to have going into the World Series of Poker in June. And finally,I have been regularly studying various poker resources to improve my game. If you have a dream, you have to work hard to get there. I am taking a better and more efficient path by being more diligent about my work ethic.

This renewed commitment has allowed me to plug a few key leaks in my game and has accelerated my results from pace car to speed racer. At times my play has been spectacular to the point of not recognizing the poker player I have become. I am still getting comfortable with my new poker skin but it is sure starting to feel more comfy. That comfort demonstrates that I am that much closer smiling big and dreaming bigger.

The Dream Fulfillment Litmus Test

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00000-litmus-testLast night I attended the Mike Doughty living room show in Arizona. Many don’t know Mike Doughty by name alone but he got his claim to fame as the lead singer of the band Soul Coughing in the mid 90’s. In the last 15 years or so, he has had a pretty successful, although flying mostly under the radar, solo career. Last night was the second time I have seen him play at a living room show. This type of show is just as it sounds; He plays a very intimate show in somebody’s living room with no more than 30 attendees.

During his first set of living room shows in 2015 some feedback was given to him about his overly shy nature. In an intimate setting such as a living room show, it should have allowed for much more interaction with the crowd. Since Mike didn’t want to get overly involved in a conversation, as it was still a music show after all, he decided to add a question jar to his 2016 living room show tour. This was a jar in which many folks in the room could add a question to. Throughout the show, he agreed to periodically answer the jar questions from the crowd. Many of the questions were interesting, unique, and funny.

The most interesting question, at least for me, was the following… “What would you rather be doing right now?” And there it was, the question that every dreamer should be asking him or herself. Mike gave the answer that I think most individuals with a fulfilled dream should give. His answer was…. “Just This.” He did decide to incorporate a funny addition, “…and maybe a pizza right here”, pointing to the table just to the side of him.

And there you have it. The litmus test revealed. If somebody asks you what you would rather be doing and the answer is “just this,” than it is most likely that your dream has been fulfilled. Here’s hoping you will one day be able to say, “just this” and smile big while you realize there is no need, at least for now, to dream bigger.

I’m Not Giving Up

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000 never give upBlogging takes a lot of work and it’s really easy to slow down to a point where the work of a blog ultimately fades away. Have you ever stumbled across an interesting blog post and then realize you are looking at something that was posted 3 or 4 years ago? It’s surprising, at least to somebody who is motivated like me, how many of these blogs have not had a post in weeks, months, and often times years. On multiple occasions, its almost happened to me. One thing to remember, however, is that all free blogs never die. If you are using a free blogging site, it will continue to remain in the ecosphere of the web unless you purposefully take it down.

I have been watching a lot of Eric Thomas videos lately. He is a relatively well known motivational speaker but I hadn’t been exposed to him until he showed up on the Ask Gary Vee Show a week or so ago. He is very much an in your face sort of motivator but he got my attention. Just recently, I was watching his video about finishing. This video motivated me to post this blog. It has been way too long and I am not going to start a race without finishing. I am not sure what finishing a blog looks like but I do know that you can’t finish a race if you stop running. So with this post, I have decided to start running again. Maybe finishing just means smiling big and dreaming bigger.

Do You Want a Path to Happiness? Here is the Most Important PowerPoint Slide You Will Ever See!

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000000 happiness

To start, I must give credit where credit is due.  I didn’t create this slide.  The slide was created by Shawn Achor, who has a PhD from Harvard where he teaches positive psychology concepts.  He is also author of the book “The Happiness Advantage.”  His TED Talk: The Happy Secret to Better Work is one of the most entertaining and insightful talks I have ever seen.

While most of the bullet points on the slide are self-explanatory, I will give a brief description of each below.  They are, essentially, actions you should take to increase happiness.

  • 3 Gratitudes – Write down every day three things you are grateful for.
  • Journaling – Start a journal and write down on a regular basis your thoughts or feelings.
  • Exercise – Get moving… Period!
  • Meditation – Proven to decrease stress, this is a good one.  There are many helpful apps out there that provide guided meditation exercises, but this can be as simple as sitting and paying attention to your breaths for 5 to 15 minutes a day.
  • Random Acts of Kindness – Look for ways to do kind things.  Preferably ,spur of the moment things.  If you have never bought coffee for the person behind you at the Starbucks drive though.  Try it sometme.  You will be shocked at how good you feel the rest of the day.

The best part about the 5 items above, there is actually research to back them up.  So these are not just ideas, they are proven steps for increasing happiness.  Try them out for a few days and leave a comment about your experience.

This could be the clear path to Smiling Big and Dreaming Bigger.