Musings Poker Tennis

WSOP Post-Mortem

Jeez, it’s been a while. Well, let’s cut straight to it: My previous article indeed proved prophetic – This year’s WSOP was, results wise, a balls-up.

 

It sucked. Really sucked. Lots of close calls, but no cigar in the end. We grinded harder this year than in any previous, and left Sin City again with nothing in the tank... so yes, I do now identify as a eunuch (metaphorically speaking, for new readers 😏), and I’m proud of how that’s come to be.

 

Going in, the Series felt like all or nothing for me... possibly a life-defining two months. Typically, you find that when people care ‘too much’; try ‘too hard’, their performance suffers. For me though, when it comes to poker, that’s almost all I know. I feel that’s almost a state I’m required to be in, because truthfully? The WSOP is great; to me it’s the pinnacle of poker. I’m blessed to be able to participate, but still, I don’t exactly long to be there. It’s a tough environment. For every table mate that enriches your experience, there are two who make you wish you were elsewhere. Without the vision that my life path will be altered by the outcome, I don’t know how I could keep showing up and concentrating when my heart is tugging me to the tennis court.

 

So, the upshot seemed at first to be all negative: two months of fitness decline, a lighter wallet, and a whole lot of opportunity cost lost. Fortunately, the WSOP offers an excellent rakeback deal in the form of life experience, which is always worth a lot. Aside from some really enjoyable personal experiences, being there to see friends succeed was a highlight of the trip that I wouldn’t have gotten by staying home.

 

I’ve never really believed in the axiom that everything happens for a reason... I don’t think it quite holds up under the intense scrutiny of logic, but my mind does wander in that direction quite often. When I got home, it was time to find a new plan. Paying an inordinate amount of rent for a home with a tennis court wasn’t sustainable any longer.

 

Had the WSOP been more successful, I doubt I’d have had the gumption to leave... Moving out of a home really sucks! Particularly one you’re so fond of. The truth is, though, it needed to happen. As I write this article, I’ve just picked up keys for my new centrally located apartment after a month of Airbnbing, waiting for the previous tenants to move out.

 Living out of town on an excessively big property had served its purpose for me perfectly: free from the air pollution, EMF hell and other issues of city living, my state of health is now unrecognizable to when I moved in 2-3 years ago. As well, the time I’ve had to navigate my way back to playing good tennis after so long out of the game – on my own, without the pressure to defer to someone else’s views on technique – has been priceless.

 

Still, being so far from the action, there was a nagging sense that I was operating at too slow of a pace. Precious time was being wasted as I struggled with external stressors and a general dissatisfaction that comes with that sense, as well as a lack of social fulfillment. This move changes everything.

 

Tennis wise, I’ve been 80% happy with how I’ve been playing since I got back, but there were still some shots that I couldn’t seem to dial in, which are keys to my game – running forehands especially, too erratic. I just wasn’t getting around the outside of the ball as much as I needed to, and it became obvious that I needed to be able get the head further in front of the handle at impact – to do that I’d have to make the racket more head-light. On the second of two recent hits where I tinkered with adding weight to the racket, as I was hitting my jaw was on the floor at where all of my shots were going. After so long experimenting and fixating over technique, I’d gotten things ‘perfect’. The way the racket swings just feels unbelievable. So. Damn. Exciting.
 Poker’s not the easiest discipline to draw this comparison with, but sometimes instead of desperately searching within for what must be wrong with you that can explain your lack of success – so often it’s something simpler, an external factor you aren’t fully appreciating. I’d scarcely changed my technique at all from recent previous hits, but the results were so dramatically improved.

 

So, it’s all systems go now – poker is still a part of things for me at the moment, and it feels good to say that happily. As I’m more and more fulfilled in other areas of life, my relationship with the game keeps mending, and I intend for it to exclusively represent a compliment to my journey now, as opposed to the hyper-stressful, destablising force it proved at times to be previously.

 Although not always accessible amid the fatigue of recovery days, there’s an underlying euphoria in my every day at the moment. I’m going to get a shot at my dream, I can scarcely believe how well placed I feel to tackle it, and I don’t feel like it’s too late. I only wish you all could be half as blessed as I’ve been to have support through the hard times, and to find something in your life that makes you feel this alive. It’s time to go make it happen.

 

Signing off,
James

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