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Smokin' Poker - The ABC of 2NL

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Cliff notes: I have some personal stuff to deal with. I quit PSO Team and plan to crush the game once I've sorted my life out.
I'd been saying to friends for a while that I needed to take a break from poker. Over the last few months, I made the mistake of allowing poker in general and PSO in particular to take over my life somewhat, to the detriment of my health (both physical and mental) and my family relationships. Poker became almost like a drug addiction and in some ways it was just as unhealthy.

Ever had the problem of not being able to sleep at night, because you're replaying hands in your head, wondering if you could have chosen a better bet size, or found the FOLD button? That was me. Every day. For six months. It was driving me insane, for lack of a better word. Something had to give, because I was close to burning out completely. I don't tilt-spew on the table, but had something akin to a "Matusow Meltdown" away from the felt. The actual moment of clarity came out of left field. I was absent-mindedly scrolling through my twitter feed when I saw TheLangolier's photos of his kids on a day out to Pumpkin Land or something crazy like that. I had a sudden (and quite obvious!) realisation that THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE THAN POKER. I don't have children of my own, but seeing Dave's photos hammered home the message that I've neglected my mother, my sisters and my newborn niece. I've allowed poker to turn me into a selfish... I don't know what, but it's not good.

In what seems like a rash decision in retrospect, I took the drastic step of resigning from my position on the PSO team, and then hopped on a train to my mother's for a week. Maybe I folded the best hand on the river, but what's done is done. I would love to say that a week at my mum's helped me to chill out, but it was actually more stressful than nursing a 5bb stack on the bubble of a big tourney. The first day I was there, my nan had a stroke, so I spent a few days sitting next to her hospital bed. I didn't even watch the WSOP ME FT, as it seemed so inconsequential when my nan was so ill. Fortunately, she recovered well, and should be home now. That was pretty scary, but things got worse for my long-suffering mother when her partner had his own trip to see the specialist. To cut a long story short, he's been diagnosed with cancer. My family runs bad at life it seems. I'm back home now, but I'll be making more trips North in the coming months, as my mum's not in great health herself. (Yes, at 42, I've finally realised that I should be looking after my mum, not the other way round!)

So where does this all leave me? Well, it's hard to get motivated about poker at the moment. I won't be playing much for at least another week, as I want to have a long think about the best way to use my time. I've been very disorganised for my whole life, but I intend to make changes. I need to enforce more structure on my daily life. It would be a waste of my skils/knowledge to just give up poker completely. I think if I put my mind to it and utilize the various tools at my disposal, I could make some money, but I'll need to work pretty hard, and working hard is anathema to a slob like me.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone on the PSO Team for making me feel so welcome in the first place. It was a pleasure and a priviledge to work alongside such a friendly and knowledgable team of people. They also made me laugh a lot. I'm going to miss the camaraderie immensely. I learned a huge amount about poker from the team, whether I was discussing hands with John, railing Joss in the Premier League, going to live training, or trying to win everyone's bounties in the homegames. Commentating on the Big Bang with Cannon and Greg was a blast, so it was surreal to be railing silently today. I'm sure they did just fine without my stupid comments though!

For the foreseeable future, I'll just be lurking in the forum and live training sessions, but I hope to be a bit more active once I've worked out a timetable that balances life and poker a bit more healthily. With a little bit of luck, I may even start CRUSHING the game. Heads up for LOLZ anyone?

I guess this is more information than anyone really needs, but I felt like I had to get it off my chest, so I that I can close one chapter of my poker-playing life, and begin a new one with a better mindset.

As always, I wish everyone good luck with poker and with life.


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