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Letting go of a Poker Dream?

February 10th, 2009 5 comments

Over the last week or so, I’ve come to realize that poker is not really something that I’m ever going to excel in. I’ve never thought of myself as an elite poker player. I’ve always enjoyed the game itself, and I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie with the players that I’ve fellowshipped with throughout my 3 plus years of playing the game.

But lately, I’ve been taking poker too seriously I guess. It’s ceased becoming a fun game, and become more of a business venture of sorts, and a losing one at that. I’ve started to look a the statistics of how my play fares from a financial standpoint, and it’s losing it’s fun qualities for me.

I started tracking my progress on Full Tilt, and began with a $71 bankroll. I was happy after my cash in the TPT and had some success at the $.05/.10 tables on Tilt. But the cash games just weren’t as fun for me. I played in a little under 2000 hands of poker only to be down, and now, I’ve charted 3200 hands of poker to a losing total of more than $46. I’d say it’s a rut, and there would be some truth in that, but really I’m just getting beat a lot. In looking at my 24 sessions of cash game play, I’ve had 10 losing sessions, and 14 winning sessions. Yet, I tend to lose a lot more than I win. Not sure exactly why, but I think it’s because I chase my cash when I’m losing instead of walking away. I’ve had 4 double digit dollar losses, and only 1 double digit gain. Meh.

I guess in all this ranting what I’m feeling is that cash games are just less fun than playing in tournaments. So I stepped away from the cash scene and played in some of the 90 person Knockout Sit and Go’s. It’s a $3.30 buy in, and $.50 goes for your knockout, and the other $2.50 into the tourney pot. The final table gets paid, and your collect $.50 each time you knock someone out of the tournament. And lo and behold, I’ve found myself having fun again. I cashed in 9th place in one of the tourney’s and felt happy about it. And in the tourney’s where I lost, I didn’t walk away carrying that sinking feeling of donking off chips on some ridiculous hand.

Over on the Stars side of things, I’ve played in more of the lower buy in tourney’s and enjoyed those a great deal too. But the cash games always tend to leave me frustrated with my losing as well. And while pleased with the small wins that I do get, it leaves me with a thirst for something more.

I’m a big time competitor. I love sports, and I love conclusions. It’s probably why I’d like to see a playoff instead of the BCS mess that they currently have. And I think that it’s this belief that lends me to have more fun at the tourney’s than at the cash games. I like that there is an end goal. I want an eventual winner, rather than an open ended financial goal which seems to be virtually unattainable, and also completely unknown to the other players. How am I supposed to know what the other player’s financial goals are at a cash game? I see so many people come in for one hand, play it, win/lose, and leave again. Was that for fun? It bothers me. At least at a tournament, everyone’s goal is to at least finish in the money, if not to win the whole enchilada.

I’d love some feedback as to whether anyone feels the same way. But I’m thinking about giving up on the cash games all together. What do you think? Can you play poker in a setting where you have no real motivation?

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