Posted by Dr Fro 5:14 PM
I have many issues with the new version of Blogger, one of which is that the comments I make to posts get lost and never posted. So, I will respond to Mark's post in a new post of my own:
Mark, I thought that was brilliant. I could relate to that post well. Each sentence sent off a wave of thoughts, each worthy of an uber-post in itself. I will limit my comment to the overall theme: a chronology of events that come to a peak but ultimately lead to a a tragic fall. Perhaps your story could be made into a classic Greek tragedy. If so, what would be your fatal flaw?
My story is not too different from yours. I started playing "real" poker a few years earlier, and though my stakes rose, I happily plateau-ed at $1/$2 and $2/$5 NL. The $5-$10 games you often played were out of my league.
Other than that, I also made a sickening amount of money in the early post-Moneymaker years. And for the same reasons you described, that all turned around. Fortunately, at $1/$2, I can lose every night and still pay the mortgage. There certainly aren't any $12,000 pots.
About a year ago, I gave up on the thought that my long stretch of success would continue, that I could keep stepping it up in stakes and someday be a Chip Reese or Doyle Brunson. I figured out that I was good enough to keep it as a hobby and maybe break even or maybe win, or maybe I would lose, but it wouldn't kill me.
I learned to walk away from games when losing (even the juicy ones) just to avoid too devastating of a loss. I am still learning how to walk away with a monster stack to avoid dumping my winnings back into the pot.
I stopped trying to swing for the fence. Three things that always struck me as massively cool and no doubt affected my approach to the game:
The famous email from Greer Kid where he stated that his goal was not to win money from his bookie; the goal was for his bookie to go bust.
A quote in a Caro book about not trying to get up a winner, but trying to break the table in half and have all the chips flow into your pockets
The scene in Rounders where Mike D. wins all the money back plus enough to play in the WSOP
These both described and shaped my approach to gambling: go for it all. Any other approach was for losers.
I learned that actually the "going for it all" approach is the one for losers.
So, I play for fun. I may gamble a lot more than others would call recreational, but for me it is. And guess what? I started to win.
So, I say you are making the right decision. Keep it a hobby, keep the stakes low, have fun with it. Just don't quit.