Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Focused Drive in Poker, What really drives Me

My daughter of all people, is driving me to succeed. Inspiring me to put in more time than I thought I was capable of. Sure, if I was on my own schedule, could work 36 hours straight, then sleep as long as I need to, and then continue, I could certainly put in some Supernova Elite hours! But try to do that with a 9 to 5 job and a long commute. IMPOSSIBLE! .. or is it?

You see, my wonderful daughter, wants something more than a present for Christmas. She wants to see me on her birthday! (end of January) I'm so proud of her. It will be her 8th birthday (my son is 9). My children live in Indiana with their new family, and have another brother and sister now, so there are 4 kids.
I have had to come to California for a job, and it's not ideal, but it was necessary at the time. I've had health problems to deal with, so it was fortunate I was able to get insurance in the nick of time and make it through a dark hour.

Now that things are clear for a career push, I have been focusing on "getting somewhere". Not just succeeding at a chosen career (peace of mind) but making enough at it that I can deal with the distance between myself and my children. Either making enough to visit them often enough and take them on vacation, or being able to afford to live closer. I hope to do both.

I have wanted to play poker professionally, for years. One of the main reasons was the freedom it would allow me to work on my own schedule, to write and record music, and work on my books that I have yet to write. And a few other interests including some inventions.
But, there is an underlying desire, that no matter what I do, at whatever level, that I do what I can to make the world a better place. Writing songs, writing books, just living my life by example, whatever I do, I hope I make a positive impact. Even if I do not, I will not have any regrets about trying. And I hope my children fully understand this and remember it long after I am gone.

That being said, I am driven right now. I am LIVING poker. I work, then I play poker, and get a few hours sleep, and repeat for most of the work week, and catch up on sleep about once a week. This is not too healthy nor recommended, but it's better to spend such time on something that motivates you, than squander it on something that just kills time and leaves you unsatisfied with where you spent your time. ;)

I'm surprised no one has come along and expressed concern that I might have a gambling problem (don't gamble, it's -EV and not worth the reward in the long run) or I am spending too much time trying to get where I want to go. It IS good advice to enjoy the ride, you only live once, and ESPECIALLY enjoy your children, they are only young once. But since I communicate well with those close to me, I think they understand. In fact, some are pleased and excited for me, and following my progress closely, cheering me on, even helping out with secretarial duties! ;) (You know who you are!)

To be quite honest, I simply do not have enough income from my job to go see my children for Christmas, or even by my daughters birthday. So I have to figure some other way. I can make more money than I make from my current job (or any previous job in fact) playing poker. And I have been on this path for years, and am just now getting to where I can actually realize my goals. But it is NOT as easy as one might thing. Not even close! But, for me, this is by far the best way to accomplish my goals. Other opportunities may present themselves, and I will have to evaluate each one wisely, but for now, with current conditions, this is my best bet.

Poker players are a LOT better than they were 10 years ago. There are a lot more of us in general, but the average level of the game is MUCH higher than it was years ago. It reminds me of trying to make it to the top in professional sports or the music business. The better everyone gets, the higher you need to be in the percentages to make it there. And we are talking about the top 99.99% in the choice careers. For every .01% that make it to the top, 99.99% don't. This just an example but gets you thinking on the right track.

So who does make it? Anyone CAN make it. I'm a firm believer that you can do whatever you set your mind to, and if you do what you love to do, you are 10 times more likely to succeed.
To quote Daniel Negreanu and many other top players.. the ones who make it are the ones who are willing to put in the time. And that's where I find myself while writing this, putting in the time. It's 3:30am, and I'm researching my chose craft, blogging about it, and setting aside the next 3 hours to grind, and hone that necessary discipline to make it to the top. I have had 3 hours sleep tonight, 2 hours last night, and don't expect much more in about another 16 hours before I can think about sleeping again. Is poker really that hard? Well, no, it doesn't need to be. But for the road and time schedule I am on, it needs to be, for now. If I was near my kids and could spend more time with them, I certainly would be choosing wisely what time I spent on my career, because they are my priority, especially in their formative years. (I was Mr Mom for 5 years, and went from making $70k/year doing what I love to having next to nothing, but I wouldn't trade the quality time I got to spend with my children for anything in the world.)

I'm posting this, in part to share, and in part to remind myself, why I am sticking to my discipline, why I have discipline and patience written down as part of my poker goals. I have squandered my time in the past. I have squandered careers trying to change for other people (never again!). I have squandered a couple bankrolls by not being discplined, playing when sick, not knowing my tilt limitations, etc... (still less than $1,000 total).
But I have a good reason not to squander my time. My daughter had me in tears because she wants to see for her Birthday more than she wants a present. And that makes me feel like I've done a good job as a parent. That motivates me.

That's why I play poker!
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