Monday, July 03, 2006

Ahh, Poker

I'm not exactly sure where my head is in regards to poker, after my tiny little foray into the WSOP tournament world. I guess it's likely right in the love/hate booster seat I left it in, before the trip, but I'm not quite sure.

After shrugging off the initial disappointment of exiting Event #4 so quickly, poker was pretty much business as usual. Chopping the daily Venetian tournament obviously helped improve my mindset, but even just sitting in a NL cash game before that felt good, as far as realizing pretty quickly that I had an obvious edge over the majority of the table. And yeah, that edge translated into dollars in my pocket, on that particular occasion, but sitting down and collecting my thoughts and being forced to the realization of "Hmm, I know what I'm doing in this game and I'm better than your average monkey" was the more important part. Or, more important than even that, it was fun, to just sit down and play.

The biggest issue I wrestle with still, poker-wise, is that I'm wasting my time, in a relative sense. Yeah, I've made money, and yeah, I'll likely continue to make money. I know what I'm doing and can play well enough to be profitable. There you go. I don't really doubt that part. (Except for the times I run horribly badly and, you know, doubt that part.)

The problem is that I stay pretty busy with many other assorted things that also put dollars in my pocket. If I never played another hand of poker and instead sunk that time into my side business or other ventures, there's a very good possibility that in the long run I'd make more than I ever would playing poker. Which wasn't really an issue when I was more excited about playing poker, as I could always play the enjoyment wild card, but as the excitement dulls a bit I wrestle with that issue more and more, considering the time suck that poker tends to be.

All of which was exacerbated by the quick exit in Event #4, as far as building it up in my head as some sort of poker pinnacle, only to see the same donkey you run into online donk it up and collect a massive stack of chips, many of them mine. And paying $1500 for the privilege, without even a charitable contribution tax write-off for the donation. I mean, sure, I theoretically knew that even limit WSOP events were likely to contain their fair share of lemurs, but it took experiencing it for reals for that to really sink in.

And my initial pouty monkey reaction was to think: "What sort of weird fucked up crapshootastic hobby is this poker thing? I'd have had a better chance of making money if I'd taken that $1,500 buy-in to the blackjack tables. If all that work and study and play was leading up to this, as far as the poker pinnacle, well, fuck that."

The funny thing is that if you ignore the pouting part, all of the above is exactly true. Poker is fucked up. In any single event with a large field, you do stand a better chance of winning money at the blackjack tables. Many, many lemurs directly buy into the Main Event each and every year. Or, more simply, der.

Which brings us pretty much full circle. No grand epiphanies or conclusions. I had fun playing and it was a kickass trip and birthday in general. I think playing just a single event wasn't the best idea, as that's a recipe for disappointment, but the WSOP isn't going anywhere, and I got my feet wet and got more experience as far as what to expect in future years.

I'm probably going to back off the poker play a bit in the near future, as it does make more sense to me to focus on building up things on the business side of things. In a perfect world, ScurvyWife and I would be able to go out to Vegas during the WSOP and stay for a couple of weeks, doing the whole Whee, Vegas fun vacation thing, and I'd be able to play 4-5 events, and we wouldn't have to sweat the cash involved at all, even if I crapped out of every event. Which is still a good ways off, but not the most impossible of scenarios, especially if I get more serious with all my assorted ventures.

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