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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

March 3, 2009


by Otis

You wouldn't know it by reading here, but I am enjoying poker right now more than I have at any point in the past three years. I look forward to it. I play at every chance I give myself. I read poker blogs every day. I think about strategy and record every session in a nifty little iPhone app. My hourly rate is fantastic. In fact, I can look at my phone and see I have played 59 hours and 46 minutes since January 1.

Why so little?

I haven't played a hand of online poker since 2008.

It seems odd, doesn't it? I'm a guy who has made his living largely off the online poker industry for more than four years. I should be shouting from the rooftops and telling everyone how great online poker is. And you know what? Online poker is great. It's a fantastic way to spend time and an even better way to make money if you're any good. I admire the people who have the time, talent, and determination it now takes to put in the required volume. I even respect the people who can play every once in a while and enjoy it.


Well, I started paying some attention to my playing habits last year. I realized that, while I was working a lot, I also had a couple hours everyday in which I was doing nothing. Guess what I did with those hours? Right on. I played online poker.

Now, this would all be well and good, except for the fact that's what I did with every unused moment. If I wasn't playing with my family or working for the man, I was playing online poker. It wasn't time to play tournaments, but it was time to put in some hours playing Razz. In short, I was killing time and paying rake for it. I also wasn't winning anymore. After four winning years, I couldn't put anything together. I was unfocused and generally not enjoying myself anymore. I had become a losing player and it was embarrassing.

Worst of all, I wasn't accomplishing anything. That was the biggest crime of all. I was losing 15-30 hours per week in an act of gambling masturbation that I wasn't even really enjoying anymore. I wasn't writing. I wasn't getting healthy. I wasn't working on a bunch of undone projects. I wasn't doing anything because I thought, "I don't have time."

And so I quit.

Not permanently, mind you. I love the game and online poker enough that I don't want to give it up forever. Thing is, when I play, I want to play for a reason. I want it to be fun or profitable or a lifestyle or something. I just want it to mean something. I want it to be worth something. Even if it's only recreational, I need it to be worthwhile.

So, my rule was this: until I finish two undone writing projects, I won't play one hand of online poker.

It's pretty amazing what the extra 15-30 hours a week can feel like. I have actually put a lot of work into both projects and accomplished a lot of other stuff I didn't even know I wanted to get done.

Even better, I'm playing live and loving it. I play a weekly game on Monday nights, an occasional home game when out-of-town bloggers come in, and when I'm on the road in South and Central America.

Yes, it's hard not to play online. I miss playing on Sundays and late nights after the wife is asleep. I've been sorely tempted a few times. So far, I've stayed true to my word.

What is going to happen? Who knows. For now, it's working and so am I. That's all I care about for now.

| Online Poker , | Otis' Thoughts