Be careful what you wish for. It might come true
Armed with the belief, and courage, that I could achieve anything, I quit my job in the pursuit of happiness and a part of this happiness involved playing poker. There are reserves of my time that I play poker to help supplement my income, and each year when the World Series of Poker (WSOP) rolls into Las Vegas I try to live the dream and earn some money doing something that I love. Only this year my love seems to be waning.
I guess that sometimes you have to experience what you covet before understanding if you really covet it at all.
My views on poker have changed a lot throughout the past few years. Being immersed in the lifestyle is one reason that my dreams of becoming a poker player have started to fade away. To me poker is a little bit illusory. From the outside it looks as if poker players have wealth beyond your wildest-average-Joe dreams, but internally I just see a lot of worried and scared people who don’t know what to do with their lives. People who can sit down and play in a £10,000 buy-in event and yet don’t know how they are going to pay the rent the following month. If you get into the poker circus at an early age then your values around money get screwed up and you can easily get lost.
In the past five days I have woken up and headed to the casino to play poker with my friends. We have played from mid-afternoon to the next morning with regularity. Not only have I been with my friends but also I actually came out from that five days with a teeny-weeny profit. So theoretically I should have had a great five days? Instead I had a torrid time and here is why?
Is your money being spent in pursuit of your life purpose?
It is not my life purpose to become a professional poker player. Sitting at a table for 15-hours per day feels like your life is just ebbing away. I get unhappy when I lose and then the unhappiness is breached, once in a while, when I win. But I lose more hands than I win, as do most poker players. So long periods at the table are full of boredom, stress, annoyance, anger and unhappiness with a tinge of excitement and happiness thrown in once in a while.
When I lose £1,000 playing poker that is an expense. As that expense is not aligned with my life purpose then it has to be eliminated. When I am playing poker for 15-hours per day then I am not invested in activities that align with my life purpose for 15-hours per day. When I am unhappy for the large percentage of those 15-hours per day then what is the point? Why am I doing this?
Your hobby or your life?
I have been playing poker like it is my life. As a gambling addict this is the last membrane I have connecting me to a lifestyle I feel so difficult to release. There seems to be something about the burning of money that appeals to me. So I was never going to quit just because of the money. But Robin and Dominguez have very cleverly touched a nerve. Now I am worried that I am wasting my life trying to be the big man at a table of bigger men.
I now realise that poker is just a hobby. My life is this blog and providing help and inspiration for others to follow. My poker budget is being severely reduced. I am going to trial this for a few months and see how it develops. I am going to spend more time working on this blog and less time playing poker. Get back to my life and reserve my hobby for a little bit of respite. Then after a few months I will re-evaluate and who knows, maybe poker will one day end up in the rubbish tip along with drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and a nine to five job I hated?
Do you have a hobby that you feel is having an adverse effect on your life?