February 2008 Poker

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I won’t be playing today, so I can summarize the month now. It was a terrible month both economically, as well as from a frustration point of view.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way up front: I lost $414.94 this month. That wipes out January’s gain and a little more, leaving me down for 2008. Account is still extremely healthy, but nothing else regarding poker is at the moment.

I had a streak of incredibly bad luck this month. I am convinced that I played better this month than I have in a while. I’m proud of that, and I know that playing well doesn’t correlate into making money in any short-term. It has to always correlate in the long run, but two weeks does not a long run make… 🙁

I have altered my typical poker schedule, only slightly fueled by one horrible beat after another, by completely clueless players (it’s one thing to get beaten by a good player who was making a move, or simply had the stack to take a shot, but entirely another matter when the other person thought they had a good chance of winning the hand, and yes, you can tell the difference!).

In this post, I discussed the fact that I was rethinking my obsession with online poker. That was written on January 14th, 2008. While I definitely slowed down a bit, after my problem was resolved, I was still playing a fair amount.

Independent of the February bad streak, I decided that poker was interfering with my life more than I cared to admit to myself. There was nothing important (business or personal) that I wasn’t taking care of, but there were many things that I would have enjoyed, that I was simply deferring, over and over.

The main reason is scheduling. Once a poker tournament starts, it can take anywhere from one to five hours to complete. That’s a big time commitment. Of course, since it’s online, I’m interruptible for emergencies. I also keep up with IM and email (which doesn’t help my poker results, but that’s a trade-off I firmly committed to a long time ago!). Phone calls can be painful, but I take them too, so I don’t block out life for poker.

That said, I don’t start other projects for myself that I otherwise would. Anything that involves using the computer becomes really distracting during a poker tournament. It’s a tough problem to resolve, because I love playing poker, even when I’m losing. Still, I love many things, including tinkering with computer projects, and I was doing decidedly very little of that for too long.

So, 11 days ago, I decided to dramatically reduce the number of tournaments that I played in, at least for an experimental period. The last time I played online poker was February 18th, 2008. I only launched the poker software once since then, this morning, just to pull out my statistics for the month, to report them here, and then I quit immediately.

I had plenty of time to play last week, including being home and logged on all day last Saturday. This was the first Sunday that we were in the hotel here in VA that I didn’t launch the poker software, even though I was logged on for over six hours.

I’m not saying that I don’t intend to play any poker. I am just saying that I will actively choose to do other things at least for a while, and on occasion, I’ll play some poker.

So, what have I been doing with my new spare time? I’ve written about at least one project, namely the sprucing up of my WordPress theme, including setting up a sandbox on my laptop to experiment. In fact, I’ve written about it twice, here and here. I’ve also spent some time writing posts on politics, something I was avoiding for other reasons.

Anyway, I won’t be playing poker today or tomorrow for sure (plans are already set), but it’s possible that I will play a bit on Sunday in the hotel. Even if I do, it’s likely to be the only day that I will play in the next week!