I had someone ask me what happened to me way back to cause me to stop playing. The answer to that was kind of a combination of things. I guess it all started when I won a large tournament about 4 years ago. I felt link I had finally accomplished what I had been working so hard to do. I had always seen poker as a way to make a lot of money so that I could invest it in other things and make more money. I had never planned on playing poker for the rest of my life. I always looked at the people who were older and still playing as a pro. Most of them are miserable with few friends and no life. That’s not what I wanted. They also get stuck with no other skills and have no other options but to play poker.
So after I won the tournament I didn’t play any poker for a few months. Most people jump up in limits and try to play larger, not me. I wanted to enjoy life away from the poker table. So when I did come back I was a little rusty but it didn’t take long for me to get back into it. Then I moved so that instead of being 15 min from the casino I was now 45 min away. I started to play a lot more online instead of live because I was able to make a lot more in a lot less time. I would only need to play a few hours a day and I was living a good bachelors life. Definitely had a little to much fun in the party scene with all the extra free time I had. Eventually every time I sat down to play I Expected to win, mostly because I always did. But what happened is was that along the way I stopped having as much fun when I was winning. I was only content, and when I was losing I was miserable. Not only did what I liked to do become work but it was a job I hated to do. So that made me start to play bad. After a few months of basically breaking even and putting a lot of hours into the game that I needed a change in something. I needed to get that spark back. That extra spring in my step on the way to a casino. The excitement from out playing people. I had lost it all. So instead of playing bad and not making any money, I just stopped playing. First for a month and that worked for about a week or two, then for a full year. I hated doing anything that had to do with poker. Back when I played my best I would go to the casino with friends play poker all day then on the way home we would take about all the mistakes we made and how others would have played the hand. Reviewing each other and getting better as a group. Now I didn’t want to talk about poker, I didn’t even want to see it on TV. I even refused to play drunken home games for a quarters.
I had not lost my bank roll, but my discipline also refused to lose it. If I was no longer going to play profitable poker why should I invest any time playing. I started to look into some other jobs and did some work with online website marketing ( I went to college for computers) and was able to make some reasonable money. I then moved back to the original town I lived in and was again only 15 min away from the casino.
So after about a year off from poker a friend asked if I wanted to go up to the casino. I had a few hundred bucks that I was willing to lose in a game and so I said yes. I won really big for the game I was in. The next day I felt that old rush again to go back. So I did. I ended up going and winning the next 11 days. I killed the game. I probably won close to 400 big bets in one week. So what did I do then? The next most logical thing I could do. Bought a ticket to Vegas leaving the next week. I had friends that had continued to play and had moved out there. I wanted to visit their new place and so I had a place to stay for free. Since then I have doubled and doubled again the limits that I play. Which brings me to where I am today.
A few months ago I found out I was not going to be able to make money the way I was in the past. Which was another reason I thought I would take a shot at poker again. I had to make it three months with out income while I trained for a new job. It didn’t help that about a year ago I spend most of my bank roll as a down payment on a new house. So I needed to be able to cover the mortgage and other bills for those three months. Luckily I have been able to do more then that and I kind of laugh because I am making more then what I expect to make in the new job. That’s ok. I can still do both. Job by day poker by night. As for family, I don’t have one yet. I am still rather young and although I have a girlfriend its not at the point where we are even getting married, let along have kids. But she is cool about it all.
One of the hardest things about coming back is sucking up my pride and playing in the lower limits. Everyone would see me in the smaller games and they probably think,, “wow he must have lost it all” I know I think that about others. But that wasn’t it. I needed to get back into the game and learn all the lessons that each limit has to offer. On top of that I needed to build up my confidence in my own game.
Another factor in my life that has really helped me is my parents. While I was going through all the rough times they always said that if I needed it they would loan me money. I never needed it but it always made me more comfortable playing knowing that I would not starve if I lost all my money. That’s why I always say that people who play poker professionally should always have a back up job. One that when they go to work they know they will come back with more money then they left with. Not everyone has parents as cool as mine, and some people don’t even have their parents around to help.
So that’s about it. That’s why I left the poker scene and why I came back. If anyone has any more questions ill try to answer them. Just don’t ask who I am, where I play, or what limit. The more anonymous I am the more honest I can be talking about poker. If you think you know who I am feel free to drop a guess in the comment box.
I would love to hear if anyone else has a similar story.