Musings Poker

I’m Angry

That I haven’t put out another article before now is probably a tip off as to how the last couple of months have been: chaotic, to say the least.

 

I’ve known this for a long time now: if I’m to ever make my tennis dream happen, and realise my potential and what I view to be my purpose in life, there’ll come a defining day that represents a flick of a switch. A day when I wake up completely unrestrained, ready to empty my entire well of resources into making it a reality.

 Well, that day still hasn’t quite arrived, and really for the first time, I’m properly pissed off about it.

 

Previously, that day had always felt so far away. I had to wait for my gut to get better after surgery. Then I had to figure out what the hell was actually wrong with my body. Then I had to eliminate heavy metals, which could take years. Then I had to overcome my issues with anxiety, to start becoming the person I wanted to be. Then I had to actually build up a halfway reasonable fitness level, so I wasn’t exhausted round the clock. You get the idea.

 And now? Well, now the only thing truly tying my hands is a background stressor that’s elongated this entire process tremendously: money! Yes, the dreaded M-word, the thing that can’t buy happiness, that isn’t what life’s about, that leads to global corruption and the derailment of many a good person.

 

In a video I made for RunItOnce, titled “Are You Really a Great Competitor?”, I identified a variable I feel is key in being able to make transformative change – and indeed, as it related to that video, to bettering one’s self as a competitor. That is: getting angry.

 I imagine that a chronic smoker doesn’t successfully quit without something of a furnace of anger stoking their commitment to change. Similarly, someone who continuously ‘chokes’ under pressure had better get truly mad enough with themselves at some point, to drive them to find whatever it might take to undermine their sabotaging habits.

 

When it comes to aiming for lofty goals, I’m a big believer in stacking the odds maximally in your favour. In my case, I see no option other than to first reach a very significant amount of savings, before I can commit every fiber of my body to the cause. Coming from where I am, if I’m to attempt to battle my way up on a small or even what others would consider a reasonable budget, it’s not going to work out. My body will break down, stress will compromise my performance (as regrettably happens to so many), I’ll not get enough reps in and I’ll run out of time. Psychologically, it’s also important that when I put poker and betting properly aside, I can know that the exhaustive battle that those activities have represented throughout my adult life have given me tremendous opportunity for what lies ahead.

 Certainly, a lot can be achieved in both lanes concurrently, but given the mental intensity needed to succeed in both poker and betting, necessary preservation of brain power is a limiting variable in the equation.

 

The last several years have felt like a constant balancing act for me. With minimal energy reserves, there’s been juxtaposing premiums placed on both preserving energy (necessary to make money) and healing the body and mind (energetically and financially draining). I’ve typically prioritised the healing side of things over the journey, which has meant some may describe my efforts, when it comes to both poker and sports betting, as lazy. I’m more forgiving of myself, knowing I’ve had little more to give, and feel it’s been the right side on which to err – and that my passion always lay elsewhere meant it was that much more difficult to operate differently.

 

When it comes to betting, the carrot of this impending ‘flick of a switch’ day has proved impenetrably alluring. My patience has been constantly put to the fiercest of tests, and it’s received so many failing grades that it's become clear, to both teacher and student, it will not be graduating. I’ve now enough ‘what could have been’ stories to fill a memoir, from which anger has certainly been simmering. Is it directed toward the accumulation of stinging moments of misfortune, or simply all at myself for my suspect decision making? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it’s channeled for good. For change, not for dwelling. Your relationship with anger may be your most important one of all. Right now, I’m (healthily!) codependent with anger.

 

With poker, though I’ve managed to maintain continued success with some ‘lazy’ habits as my mind has become clearer, nothing lazy is going to cut it anymore. This year’s WSOP marks crunch time. I’ve now more to give, and it must be given. I’ll be coming in more prepared than ever before; only the cards will be left to chance. There’s too much on the line for anything other than a meticulously ran marathon. I don’t know what my schedule will look like yet, whether cash games will be involved etc., but every day I’ll be playing knowing there is something much bigger than I can yet conceive at stake.

 It will be thrilling; I won’t be there with a permanently furrowed brow. But when it’s done, I’d best be doubled over, panting wildly on the floors of the Rio.

____

So, I’m angry, but why now exactly? Well, after the WSOP last year, sports season was mostly winding down across the board, and I was living in the moment, focused on improving everything in my life that I needed to. Once the AFL season kicked off this year, on top of tennis and golf seasons being in high gear, betting became all consuming. So much has been going so well: fitness breakthroughs of late have been remarkable, as has been the improvement to my tennis game, and I’ve been blessed to meet and spend time with some amazing people. Yet this three-headed monster called Variance is still dragging me out of the present moment and sucking hormones out of me like a Dementor. I’m pissed off that I’m not appreciating all the beauty that’s coming into my life to the fullest extent that I could be. It’s time to do something about that.

 

I’ve decided on a mantra by which to live the rest of my life: Hell hath no fury like an Obst running bad. The WSOP is just a few weeks away, and you can bet I’ll be ready. Expect to see some more posts as it approaches.

 

 

Signing off,
James

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