i think we should see other people

There are a few things going on in my life currently, that are forcing me to put poker in perspective. Family concerns and responsibilities, financial issues, relationship demands, personal aspirations, etc. And I guess, in the final analysis, I am reminded that poker is a game, a diversion, an amusement. And online poker is almost less than that.

If I was to imagine a visitor from another planet watching me while I played poker on my computer, what exactly would he witness? He would see a person sitting in front of an electronic device, looking at a glowing screen with colored pixels, blips and shapes. He would see a person punching keys and manipulating some sort of pointing tool. And if he was watching me, he would probably see me shake my fist at the screen and make loud, angry utterances with notable frequency.

What I’m saying is that online poker, really online or digital anything, lacks a certain realness… that it isn’t real. By definition, when you work with computers, you are working within a manmade construct, a synthetic reality. That in itself isn’t bad. I just have to remember that computers and the internet and online poker should be seen and used as tools. And a tool is something I use to accomplish something. It is something I control. It is not something to which I should become enslaved. It is not something which should control me. And, most importantly, it is not something which should cloud my perception of reality.

I know that I normally write about what site I played last or how much money I won or lost, but other ideas are on my mind right now. I think for a while, I was really dazzled by online poker, specifically. By all the information, the opportunities to play, the various ways to win (or lose), the software one could find to improve his play, the strategies, and on and on and on. On any given day, I often would be multi-tabling, browsing a poker website, listening to a poker podcast, and checking the live statistics on my poker analysis software, all at the same time. Now, please, don’t misunderstand me, information is power and many of these things I just mentioned are useful, and I have found them personally useful. However, more than anything, one must have balance. At the end of the day, at least for me and considering the level at which I was playing, a hand of poker and its outcome just wasn’t that important. Whether I lost 50 bucks or won $1000, the manner in which I pursued poker just wasn’t worth the cost.

Today I have the beginning glimmers of balance. I’m not speaking strictly of time management. I’m talking about an attitude; I’m talking about a position and a perspective. So now, the time that I do play, I am more focused. I enjoy myself more, and I don’t feel guilty or feel like I am neglecting some other aspect of my life. And I don’t feel a compulsion to play. This may sound weird, but there were days when I would fall asleep after losing a battle to stay awake in front of the computer only to rush right back to my laptop the next morning before I had even wiped the crust out of my eyes.

Today I have enough discipline to at least splash some water on my face before I start splashing the digital pot.

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