I have been playing live poker recreationally for over 25 years. I am a winning live player over time and one of the most frequent questions I get is why I don’t I play poker professionally. Normally, I just respond with some off the cuff remark like “Too much pressure” or “I am too old for that” but the reality is I have given it a lot of thought and the answer is much more complicated. Here are some of my reasons why I never became a professional poker player.
I Want The Game to Remain Fun
I love playing poker. At the end of every trip I wish I could stay longer and I always hate going home. I believe that going home is what keeps the game fun. I go home and get to be a mom, an entrepreneur and a community member among many other roles. When I play poker I leave all that behind and I get to just play. No responsibilities, no commitments. Just fun (and sometimes frustration if I am playing badly or losing).
I am not sure I would feel that way about poker if I had all my responsibilities along with the daily grind. When I am playing poker I have the luxury of focusing on poker. If I was a professional then my other responsibilities would invade my poker space and could very well effect my play and take the fun out of the game. In the end, I am very happy to keep my poker persona and my real life persona separate.
I Like to Make Correct Decisions
I always take a set amount of money with me on my poker trips. This money doesn’t come from the kid’s college funds, our mortgage account or will prevent me from buying groceries if I lose it. This money is designated for poker and it gives me great freedom when I play. I don’t have the responsibility of my poker money funding my life, so I can make correct decisions not safe ones. It allows me to play aggressively, take chances, try new things and “go” with my gut.
If I were playing professionally, I would also play with the intention of making correct decisions but how realistic is that when my poker playing is responsible for a certain amount of income? I realize plenty of people do it and do it successfully. If the truth be known that seems like a lot of pressure that I don’t really need or necessarily want.
I Use My Gut
I feel more confident making decisions based on my gut feeling when I can afford to be wrong – because sometimes I am. I would be hesitant to play that way if my life’s bankroll was on the line. The truth is I do use the math too but sometimes I know I should go against what the math is telling me. This of course is only an issue in big pots. Pots that can swing a winning session into a losing one in a single hand. If I was playing to earn income instead of just some extra money to buy my next handbag, I would be less likely to use my gut in those big pot decisions even though it's those decisions that make me a winning player.
I Like the Social Aspects of the Game
I hope the fact that I play poker for fun is coming through in this post. Part of the fun is chatting and socializing at the table. This helps me in building player profiles and understanding the kind of player I am up against. Socializing at the table also puts me in a great frame of mind for making good decisions. I play better when I am positive and having fun. I know that will sound stupid to some but looking back on my logs, where I jot down things like table dynamic and my mood, it has proven to be a factor.
If I was playing professionally, then I would want to treat it as a profession. I think it would change my table personality and as a result could affect my play and my ability to have fun.
I Value Money
I work hard for my money. I am afraid if I played professionally, I would settle for moderate gains to avoid risking a big loss. As it is now, as a recreational player, I take money that I expect to lose. I let my play and the players at the table determine whether I stay, not the amount of money I have won or lost. I know over time if I am making correct decisions I will win. But the variance that occurs will be more unsettling as a professional and the value I place on money could be detrimental to my play.
It is pretty obvious that I am not meant to be a full-time poker professional. Could I be? I think so but I would have to work on changing my mindset. Right now I am happy with the way things are. Well, I would be happier if I was closer to Vegas but you get the point.
Asia is perhaps too colossal in its expanse and diversity to be understood as a travel destination. However, it does some offer of the most exotic sights that are perfect for visiting to seek recreational gratification and enlighten your senses with an unrivaled aura and magnificence. In addition, you can visit the famous casinos in Macau and play online casino games in your hotel.
Some of the most recommended places in Asia that should be a part of any Asia travel plan include:
Angkor in Cambodia - this place is recommended for those who seek pleasures in exploring the grandeur of ancient historical sites. The expanse of the Angkor Wat is mind-boggling and so is its creation with five soaring stone towers. However, it is a general misconception that the Angkor Wat is single-entity travel destination. The Wat is just one UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located in the proximity of some of the most impressive historical creations found in Asia. Angkor represents one of the largest historical temple ruin complexes in the world and there is even an archaeological park here that helps you understand the creation of these massive temple structures.
Other structures in vicinity of the Angkor Wat include:
- Angkor Thom (ruins of the sole surviving ancient Khmer City)
- Bakong (one of the earliest Angkor ruins with a typical pyramid temple shape)
- Bayon (the most famous and puzzling Angkor creation with the Temple of Stone Faces)
- Terrace of the Elephants (an ancient monument displaying rows of marching elephants)
Bangkok, Thailand - any Asian travel itinerary cannot be complete without a visit to its most reputed commercial centre, Bangkok. It is the capital of Thailand and offers a rare blend of a historic city at total ease with its bustling pace and ever-growing demand for financial growth. Those who want to be acquainted with the history of the city should visit Rattanakosin - the Old Royal City. Other historical sites that line Bangkok include the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
Bangkok has an amazing appetite for catering to tourist demands and it offers travel packages and accommodations options across the most unbelievable range. This is where you can see an authentic and perhaps the first-ever 'Chinatown'. The Bangkok Chinatown gives you an idea of how ancient cultures and modern lifestyles merge and co-exist. Another world-famous feature about Bangkok is the Floating Markets like that of Damnoen Saduak. This is something endemic to Bangkok as nowhere else will you find an so many boatmen vending goods in small make-shift boats.
Plain of Jars, Laos - if you have an appetite for traveling to the unknown and slightly mysterious places, they this is where you should be headed. Located in the remote locations of Laos, this is the remnant of a civilization about which nothing much has been discovered so far. The place is still being brought the attention of the world, so the entire tour could be quite economical. The Plain of Jars is famous for these gigantic stone creations, which are hard to decode and their relevance for religious ceremonies is still being investigated. In addition to the mystifying jars-shaped structure, you can also visit the nearby town of Phonsavan which offers the best site to get your hands on some locally-made handicrafts and other such items that are otherwise difficult to find in major cities.
I find the whole Spinach/E.Coli event telling and yet at the same time, utterly frustrating. In my opinion, the series of events surrounding the outbreak are a perfect microcosm of the larger food industry.
You have a crop coming from an industry which has been suspected in 20 outbreaks over the last decade. For whatever reason, there's little to no national press coverage surrounding these outbreaks - most likely because the number of people affected is not statistically significant. As a result of these 20 outbreaks, the FDA shows concerns and offers suggestions, and little else.
When the most recent outbreak get national attention, there's little traceability in place to determine where (and how) the outbreak occurred. The end result is that the FDA doesn't just shut down the culpable farms, but shuts down the entire Spinach industry.
One of two basic scenarios that are going to play out in the coming weeks. Either:
1) The FDA and other State officials will find one farm or processing facility the root cause of this outbreak.
2) The FDA and other State officials will find several farms and/or processing facilities as distributors of this outbreak.
Neither result should leave us feeling comfortable. If it's the first option, then we have a food safety process in place that requires the shut down of an entire industry in order to prevent roughly 200 people (out of a population 296,000,000) from getting sick and/or dying.
If it's the second option, then the some members of the leafy-vegetable agribusiness farming considers the twice yearly E.Coli outbreaks as "acceptable risks".
About a dozen or so years ago, there was a commercial where a mechanic looked at the camera and said "You can pay me now." At this point he would pause and turn to a garbage heap of a car that had been towed into his garage, and then turned solemnly back towards the camera and finished his point by saying "- or you can pay me later". The message was clear. Invest a little money now, and you'll save yourself a larger bill later on down the road.
Someone, somewhere, didn't make the proper investment in safety. I can promise you, that investment is a fraction of the cost that's being paid today.