When times are bad, let poker soothe

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By Matthew Gregoire

My life has included a lot of turmoil recently. During these times, it’s difficult to want to put in the volume needed to make a decent living. At the same time, it’s also beneficial to not just put in hours if your heart isn’t into it.

When we are faced with these dilemmas, sometimes it’s best to think of poker as something other than your job. If you allow personal stress to seep its way into your poker game it can be disastrous.

I have been playing for a living for a long time and this always has been one of the toughest lessons to learn. You want something in your day that distracts you from your stress and how much easier can it be than to just turn on your computer and start playing.

Luckily I have really built up my will power so I can resist these temptations. I choose to use a physical activity of some type to clear my head.

When we allow our decisions to be altered by outside sources usually we’re playing for the wrong reason. I still really enjoy playing poker and when I begin to play a session, it’s because I’m mentally, physically and emotionally prepared to do something entertaining and profitable.

If you take a trip to Las Vegas or wherever, there are regular poker games you’ll always find a few people who are permanently in misery.

At some point in these people’s lives they allowed themselves to be consumed by poker and eventually it has become the only thing in life they have.

If you’re unwilling to understand that everyone around you isn’t into poker like you are, then problems will arise.

Some people will decide to alter their life to make it more comfortable for family/friends and others will choose to detach themselves all together. It’s a fine line because when this is what you do for a living the more quality hours you can put in the better.

The problem with it becomes a matter of when you’re choosing to play and for what periods of time.

Social circles require you put in the time for them to work and if your schedule doesn’t coincide with your social atmosphere then someone is going to be short on luck, most likely you.

I was lucky in my situation since my girlfriend was a poker player as well. We both liked playing the same games so any time we were in the mood to play it would work perfectly.

Both of us being there had many advantages and overall it was fun. Sometimes you need more than just fun for things to work out, which I guess is a bit hard for me to understand since every day for me is just playing a game I love.

— Matthew Gregoire is a pro poker player. You can email him at editor@anteupmagazine.com.