Monday, June 25, 2012

Ramblings On Quitting Poker!

Here is a question which is very relevant to me at the moment… since my Poker mojo has well and truly gone. I do not have a plan for this post (usually I know what I am going to write before typing a word, this will be more free-form): Why Do People Quit Playing Online Poker?

Now, most people reading this will probably not know my ‘story’ of finding myself in the poker business… if I had not quit my corporate job, travelled the world, discovered poker and blogging, been paid to write some pieces for other webmasters, realized I could make much more using the material myself …. And then made some websites – then I would have quit poker a loooong time ago.

Probably around 2007, and almost certainly by 2008.

Yet here I am in 2012 still playing now and again, keeping up with the new games and strategy adjustments…. Oh well.

I would have followed a very normal path had it not been for my business.

Discover the game, lose money.

Try and get better, study and understand.

Start winning, get seduced by the possibilities.

Add more tables, watch my bankroll grow.

See the game turn from a fascination into a grind.

Start to lose the love of the game.

Next downswing kills the passion further.

Switch games, switch strategy, switch sites… try and get that mojo back

Slowly but surely play fewer and fewer games

Even without noticing… quit.

Giving up on poker is not like giving up the booze or smoking, there is no cold turkey for most people. It is more a peak and trough of passion for the game. The funny thing is that even big winning players seem to follow this path. I have known people who crushed the $2 / $4 for a very juicy hourly rate suffer exactly the same slow and lingering death of their poker passion. In one case taking a job at way below his previous hourly rate to get his life back to a normal balance.

I have become a little jaded about the whole subject.

Most people involved (with honorable exceptions) are ugly unbalanced characters. The business is dirty and risky, and even those who keep their noses clean and mouths shut are tarnished by the reputation. 

I must have mentioned the half-life of 6 months thing many times – from a personal perspective I would have lasted 3 years, putting me 3 standard deviations away…

Of course, most people quit quickly. They lose their cash (very easy to do today with hordes of sharks just waiting for new players to sit down). They feel that online poker is rigged, usually due to misunderstanding the huge variance involved or bad bankroll management. They move up levels too fast, or just get fed up with people insulting their play in the chat and decide that other forms of entertainment are more, well, entertaining.

All very well pouring your heart out Mark, but what happens next?

Fortunately there is an end approaching for me.

Not a clean one – yet.

I’m working with a colleague to exit myself from the business by the end of the year. Delayed once already… but the pieces are definitely coming together now. Eventually I will direct and monitor my network – but the day to day running of it will be in the hands of someone who actually likes poker!

Then of course there is the decision on when to sell up. There is still more potential to be realized from my network of sites, and I really do not want to sell up and be left with the feeling that I would have got more if only I had done X Y and Z… There has to be some compromise here of course, since I am an ideas factory and there are always new X’s Z’s and Z’s coming along.

I just no longer feel the urge to log on and play poker.

Even when I have a winning session, the whole thing just depresses me.

Here is looking forward to the day when I can live my life completely poker-free!

Thanks for indulging yet another of my Plan3t Gong rants… quite enjoying using the blog where I started writing about poker to get stuff off of my chest concerning the end.

GL at the tables, Mark

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