Posted 17 February 2009 - 02:58 AM
The Slackers Guide to PokerIs this article for the next superstar of poker? No. Not at all. If you're aspiring to be the next Ivey, Hellmuth, or Negreanu, you need not waste your time. Go spend more time reading, more time playing, and more time working, because this isn't going to help you become the next big thing in poker. if you're looking for flash and bling, and more importantly, if you NEED things to make you happy, you can stop reading here. This isn't for 'ballas', wannabe 'ballas, fake degens, or the materialistic. 'If you, however, enjoy poker, making money at poker, and want to learn what it really takes to make a real living while enjoying your life, then read on and I'll share with you some more lessons I have learned on what it means to be poker-rich, poker-broke, and poker-happy. My monthly goose-egg was a mere $2,500. What's a goose-egg you ask? Your goose-egg is the minimum you needed to earn each month to avoid dipping into your bankroll. Well, what's your bankroll then? Well, your poker money, right? Wrong. Your bankroll is not just your money for poker, but the amount of money you keep behind for poker that if you lost, meaning you had to dip into previous months one too many times, you should quit poker. After all, this means you are poker-broke, and if you are poker-broke, you shouldn't be playing, borrowing, or otherwise finding any ways (Craigslist. Ipod. FTW? No.) to continue playing poker. That is your end, at least in the short term, when it's time to get a real job and save future poker dreams for well...the future. Where were we? Oh yes, the goose-egg. So my goose-egg, a manageable $2,500. As long as I put in that much, I could easily survive, paying mortgage, food, expenses, and live generally very well. My wife makes a little more than that and if it came down to it, we could easily live off of $60k a year. The Slackers Guide to Poker starts with a manageable goose-egg number. Figure out what yours is and commit to memory. Not the fake kind of memory where you vow to go to the gym every day for an hour, but the real memory, where you remember to wipe your butt after pinching one off. The memory where if you fail to remember, you pay a messy price and have the evidence to prove it. My advice is to plan poker according to your LIFE, not your LIFE according to poker. If you recognize this bare-bones goose-egg number, you'll realize that your time at the tables will be simpler and easier, so that even in a weak month, you'll still likely meet your goose-egg. In the grand scheme of things, $2,500 was a pretty bad month, but it wasn't anything to get down about. I was happy. To be happy in poker (and in life), you have to minimize your stress and only use pressure as a motivator. The more manageable your goose-egg, the easier the game becomes and your poker life becomes (almost) free of all real stress. As a result, I think I have a pretty low stress level despite never having a guaranteed income. I had more stress in high school and college than I ever had playing poker! Alarm clocks, traffic, group projects, deadlines, traffic, driving, assignments, applications, did I mention traffic? But ObeyTheDog, I want to live a balla lifestyle! Isn't that what playing poker is all about? THE MONEY!! If you need money and lots of it, I tried to steer you clear in the first paragraph. But since you're still with me...you'll quite simply have to jump up the poker food chain and play much higher than 2-4NL or 15-30 limit. You'll have to do a lot more than grinding $100 sit n go's or mtt's. If you are that person though, and you know who you are, you'll never be satisfied no matter how high you play or how much money you make. You'll still be a self-loathing self-conscious unsatisfied person because the only known cure for "seekers" is "chasing", and whether you are chasing more money for more things for more people to like you for more companionship for more fake respect, more women, more alcohol, and more stuff to fill whatever it is that is lacking in your life, you are still not satisfied. The key word is MORE, in excess, and there's never enough. The only thing you want is what you don't have and the only way to feel satisfied is to have more of what you already have and more of what you don't. I can't help you. I've had experience briefly as one and plenty of experience with these people, but the slackers guide to poker will not teach you how to get more.If I can discourage this mentality in younger players who are pursuing a career in poker, I will try. The seed is likely still young and there may be hope for them yet. Show me a true balla and I'll show you an unhappy person. I haven't met one yet who is really happy. They are feeding something other than their stomach and every choice they make is more food for their douche-intestine. The problem with the douche-intestine is that it doesn't lead to an expulsion site, such as the rectum, and thus never leaves the body, only demanding more for a hunger that will never be satisfied. It is quite good at absorbing the nutrients of the balla and sending false signals to the rest of the body that life is awesome (MORE AWKWARD HIGH FIVES!) and platinum teeth look good (CHEEZE B!TCHES!). It takes and takes and takes, reaffirming the false sense of self, and when in doubt, telling the body it is starved for attention and to find new ways to force the world to look at them (CHECK OUT WHO GOT ME THESE FREE COURTSIDE TICKETS! TRY MY POKER-SWEAT WATER!). Truth is, no person who is happy on the inside and content with their lives needs to be famous or wear lots of flashy jewelry. You know some of the people I'm talking about and do you honestly think these people are happy? I bought a house about a half-hour from the strip. I have a beautiful and intelligent wife who by no coincidence is my best friend (WITH BENEFITS!). I don't live in Vegas to live in a casino and sleep in a cardroom. I like the weather (Lord help me if I had to spend another humid summer on the east coast...or a winter in the Northeast!). As you've gauged by the title of this thread, I'm a slacker by nature, and even got the idea for this thread from someone else. I like being that way. I like not having to spend my life telling a million bad beat stories or putting around cardrooms looking for recognition...or a handout. At my peak, yes I would play 250 hours a month, but that's not slacker guide territory, so I dismiss that period as my naive youthful former self. Silly child. When I was my happiest (and not coincidentally, my best), I would play maybe 70-90 hours a month tops, 10 months out of the year. This kept my winrate in line, my ego in check, my sanity at bay, and my happiness in...wherever happiness goes. Go me. I pity those who play so many hours that poker is not only a job, it's a f*cking REAL job, often worse, taking up their whole life and basing their entire existence off a game. Didn't most of us get into poker to have real lives, or to get away from a real job? The Slackers Guide to Poker teaches you this: Play fewer hands, play more in the sands. (bah, needs work.) Less hands, more sands? No, maybe, play less poker, or wind up like the Joker (Kill yourself? Too soon? Sorry Heath, you'll always be Mel Gibson's son in the Patriot to me...)Anywho, bad mantras aside, you want money, yes. You want to live and live well. Yes. You can. Don't kill yourself trying. I enjoy playing poker and wouldn't play any less than what satisfies me. I enjoy the game too much to give it up forever despite heading in a different direction with my life in teaching. I love walking into cardrooms, breathing that smell that each cardroom has (Caesars smells like buttery pretzels while venetian is more of a new york pizza. I don't know, I'm fat, so I think I just smell food a lot.) I like meeting people from different parts of the country and people from other countries. I get interesting conversations, meet a few single-serving friends (thank you Fight Club!). I have made some of my best friends in poker, people that I know will be my friends for the rest of my life regardless of how much or little money either of us has. You might think you NEED more money, but there's that word again, "but" (hehe)...I mean "more", back to feeding that douche-intestine. Money sucks for the most part. Yeah, I said it. And don't start with that "you're just saying that because you have it" crap. No, I'm really saying it. You already sit at the table a loser if you're there for the money alone, and you're already "behind" if you always need MORE of it. You're always chasing, never enjoying. If you can't see that, I'll increase the font size. Crap, how do I do that? Ah well, another soul lost. Hang on a sec, I need a snack.Ok, I'm back.Truthfully, life gets weird above a certain stake level anyway. I can't speak for the absolute highest, but somewhere in the middle to high stakes games, there's additional drama and bullsh*t that really clouds any aura of fun or purity that poker once had. Maybe it's just me, but I spent months trying to figure out what made poker so miserable up there, and perhaps it's just the degen clientele, or the attitude that those present are greater than the game itself, or that there is always some side-deal involving money, loans, history, and general scum-itude to the umpteenth degree. For those that know, please try better to explain what I'm talking about. For those that don't, just know that the world changes and it's not for the better, as you move up.I have few regrets about my poker-life and have even fewer about leaving some of it. I like poker more as an accessory to a naturally fulfilled life. It's like the cherry on the sundae (or the NUTS! Get it???), the icing on the cake, or those delicious oyster crackers on clam chowder soup. Sh*t, I better lose weight. But yeah, I liked my life then and like my life now. I am honest enough to know I have to keep making adjustments in life just as a good cardplayer will make adjustments at the table to succeed. That doesn't stop me from enjoying life, and it shouldn't stop you from finding a way to follow a dream. Just because dreams change doesn't make them any less relevant now. I know very few people with a job they truly love. I hear complaints every day, especially from other teachers, who seem to find everything in the world to complain about, from the poor pay (agreed!) to routine occurrences in the classroom. Look, if poker has taught me anything, it's that life isn't fair and complaining doesn't get you anywhere. I feel bad that people live their life in complaint and maybe some average-joe working class folk just have douche-intestines in full force (after all, we can't see them, they're inside the belly). So, I forgive the complainers as best I can (I ignore them and make fun of them on poker forums). Buried in their complaints is a Slackers Guide to Poker lesson for you: Spend less time complaining about poker, and more time enjoying it. Don't take poker or life too seriously. I don't and I'm really, really, really cool. (I have my own signature image created by a fan-friend! A friend who is a fan!)For the last five years, I've heard the same question repeatedly from friends and family who hear that I play poker professionally in Las Vegas: So what's it like gambling for a living...no benefits, no security? Well, after I take a moment to envision myself punching them in the face for calling poker gambling (DO I CALL YOUR BAKING, FOOD EXPERIMENTATION, HUH? DO I NANA!!?), I usually ask them 'isn't any job a real gamble.' Aside from wanting to be a d*ck by answering a question by asking one back, I also had a point. I mean, aside from this point in history which makes me look like a genius, proving that no job is safe and almost any profession you have is essentially a gamble with your employer (YO-ELEVEN...YO CHAPTER-ELEVEN!), you are gambling your happiness for what could be your entire life when you are at your healthiest most likely (AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT ME), working someplace that you don't want to be. I'm not saying everyone hates their job. I'm passionate about many things besides poker and have spent the last few years trying to act on that passion while it is still very much alive and well. Certainly, though, many people clearly hate their job and they spend all day, all week, all year, all life doing it because "they have to". Yuck. What an awful gamble. You're giving away a huge edge on the best years of your life for the reward of a little (false) job security, a dental plan, and a pension that you're not even sure if it will be enough to allow you to retire. Heck, will it even be there? Who's exactly gambling? I see your bullsh*t that you've been told by your parents, and raise you my lifetime of happiness (STRING RAISE!). Sorry, but I'm just not buying what you're selling. So you want to work hard all your life, grow old, and if you're lucky enough to still get it up even with a pill, and have enough energy left to travel, and have enough MONEY to do so, you retire and THEN move to Vegas and or Florida, God's waiting room, to play cards and see the world and do all the things that can make you happy THEN. Seems like it'd be a lot smarter to be happy NOW, do those things NOW. That's what I'm doing and I'll be damned if I'll let anything stop me from making an easy "gamble" here. You keep playing those benefit plan-slots, pension-roulette, and layoff-blackjack though. Plus, bonus, I could've just mooched off my wife's benefits all along. (I DO. I DO. I DO WANT DENTAL)That's all I got for now from the Slackers Guide to Poker. I hope it has served you well and this hasn't been a complete waste. You're already kind of ignoring one of my lessons by spending all this time learning. If you were a real slacker, you'd wait for someone to post cliff notes like a true hero. Alas, you all can't be me. My only real goal was to post something that would be considered the greatest single effing post in the history of full contact poker so I could get a nod for featured member of the month with the the fewest posts of all time. Since that ain't happenin, I figured I'd settle for entertaining you all with my (true) song and dance and maybe I'll somehow create a viral strain of douche-intestine AIDS to rid the poker-world of all that is wrong. If you agree, please reply, "Greatest Post Ever" somewhere in your response.Either way, gfy. I hate you all.
It's hard to choose from just one. ~Walt Disney