1 step forward, 3 steps back.
That sums up my general experience of poker in January. It all started so well with a run of 3 days of feeling good, playing well and looking forward to my upwards trajectory which had been evident in my last 3 months of playing.
Then it all came crashing down in a sudden bout of bad luck, bad play and excruciating downswings.
I’m not really sure what to make out of my disastrous set of results which saw me lose over $300 in the space of a few days but what I knew I needed to do was take a long break. A week’s long break as a matter of fact.
To say that was my lowest point in playing poker might be an overstatement, but what it certainly made me do was reevaluate my entire life decisions. And not just in some omg-I-can’t-do-this-sad-angry-teenage-face kind of way, but in a logical and mature adult kind of way. I really had to ask myself the most important question, and ask it very seriously indeed,
Can I really become a professional poker player?
Of course the answer is indeed yes. There are thousands of professional poker players around the world from all walks of life making their living through the beautiful game. But just answering yes to the above question just maybe isn’t enough, maybe the real question isn’t whether you can do it, the real question is whether or not it’s probable.
With the beginning of January coming to a very bleak start, not to mention my friend, and fellow poker professional wannabe, Rob was heading off to Thailand and announced that he’s looking for alternatives to poker as a sustainable income. I really had to give myself time to reflect and really think about what I want from my future and how I can best align myself to achieve the lifestyle I am looking for.
This is all painting a dark picture by design. It is the reality that most of you who are hoping to become professional poker players face. One that can’t be ignored. Is it possible that you have the work ethic, the modest monthly nut, the skill set, the emotional stability, the drive, the will, the bankroll, etc. Sure, but don’t be fooled. There are maybe 2%-5% of people that can make this lifestyle work. Less than 5% of ball players in the minor leagues will ever make the big leagues. Even less high school football players putting on weight in the hopes of an NFL career will make it. There are many careers where the odds are heavily stacked against you. There are heroes, those special people who have “it” and find a way to make it, but most will fail. This holds true in poker as well. – Daniel Negreanu
In that week I looked up all kinds of alternatives to a sustainable income that can be achieved by working online. For what I really want deep down is not to be a professional poker player, although that obviously is a goal, but I want to meet certain criteria to be satisfied in my job, they are;
- To be my own ‘boss’. Including choosing the hours I work and where I work from
- To only need a computer and a laptop. This gives me maximum flexibility and doesn’t keep me tied down to any particular place
And that really seems about it, I’m not asking for a lot am I?!?! There are of course numerous options that would fit the bill, all mainly working with computers in coding or website building, alongside writing and random jobs like transcribing.
The point in my search wasn’t to find the perfect solution and direct all my attentions to it, far from it. I’m not one to give up easily and so poker will still remain my biggest interest in the coming year. But I have decided to take a chunk of my poker time away and reinvest it into other areas that could be beneficial to my future. Writing, stocks and shares, business, coding, HTML and social media analytics will all now take up an increased amount of my time.
I am not hiding under some cloud and fooling myself that what I want to achieve will be nice and easy. I am also not fooling myself in thinking that I will have the same passion and drive that I have for poker as I will do for coding or business. But what I aim to do is just prepare myself for the possibility of failure, it would be stupid at this point not to.
And that was January in a nutshell. Totally the opposite of not only what I wanted, but what I was expecting…