Is it in you?
Know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It's 25 hits. 25 hits in 500 at bats is 50 points, okay? There's 6 months in a season, that's about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week -- just one -- a gorp ... you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes... you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week... and you're in Yankee Stadium.
You just haven't earned it yet, baby
You just haven't earned it, son
You just haven't earned it yet, baby
You must suffer and cry for a longer time
I recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone
I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth anytime - feel free
Throw it down (the caution blocks you from the wind), hold it up
You wait and see when the smoke clears
So when I was lying face down on the carpet of the Emory Game when it was being robbed, I had an improbable thought: that I could be shot.
Yet at that moment I knew I was fine with my choice. I believe in the game of poker and it is my life. I felt like at that very second I had tested myself and had answered a question I'd always wondered. Would I really be willing to die for something I believed in?
Don't get me wrong. I also thought it would suck to be found dead in some random apartment in some part of Atlanta, my mom finding out the news. Although I've traveled like Qui Gon Jinn throughout the world, it's always been a concern, ever since I was little and stood on the beach in Hawaii where explorer Capt. James Cook was killed after the Hawaiians learned he was not a god. There's a certain chill to unexpectedly meet your death abroad, far from home. It tempers even the most intrepid of explorers.
As always, Scurvy has written one of the most heartfelt columns on poker I have read, this time he's examining how serious of a poker player he is, given his ability to stomach swings.
"The wins are bigger, but so are the losses," I recently IMed Mark after my ups and downs after hitting $10,000.
Poker is not for everybody and being a professional player, even being a winning player, may not be in the cards. Everyone reaches this crossroads at some point. Just think of what it took for you to embark on this pursuit. For me, had I not had some big cashouts early in home games where I didn't know what I was doing, I likely wouldn't have continued.
Even now, I think about that quote by Crash Davis in Bull Durham on how fine of a line it is between being a MLB player and not making the cut. It's the same for winrate in poker. Winning in poker could be as fine as not cold calling one or two times a week or not betting into a raised pot with A high or not calling on the river when you know you're beat but the odds say for you to call.
It's a game where the results of bet after bet after bet (or fold after fold after fold) are compounded at the end of the day. You could go on a winning streak that could set up your bankroll for life. Or you could have a downturn early, an economic Pearl Harbor that would end it all before it even began.
I think we bloggers put too much emphasis on winning. It's sick, but I think to continue forward you have to love losing. Having it all on the line when it comes down to the last shot and having the ball rim out. Years of living in Chicago and watching Michael Jordan play makes me appreciate the gamble in him. When he misses that last shot, he looks disappointed. But now I realize that he also loves it. He had it all on the line and wasn't afraid to shoot. He wasn't afraid to die in that moment.
I rarely feel sick after losing. It's kind of exhilirating for me. When you're down a grand one evening in Las Vegas, you start to learn more about yourself and the city than if you won Quartermania with your first pull ever from a slot. You're participating in the eons-old drama of gain and loss. This is your stage. Live in the moment.
I totally understand the supposed quote from Nick "the Greek" Dandalos -- "It's action, isn't it?" when he was found playing low-limit stud after playing some of the highest games in the world. Years ago, at a writer's conference in Maui, Barbara Kingsolver told us that to be a writer, you have to want to write so badly that you would do it with your own blood if you had to.
Yeah, that's kind of gory, but that puts you in her mindset. She would write without the prospect of money, she would do it to her last breath. She's been to The Show and this is what is in her.
I kind of feel like Neo's last comments in The Matrix: "I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end." I might be in the minor leagues for the rest of my life. A minor-league poker player. A minor-league journalist. A minor-league friend.
But I can tell you, when it was all on the line, all the times I thought I'm finally having a brush with death, all the times I was all-in as the dog, all the times I had tried to bring someone like the goddess into my life, I can tell you I wasn't afraid to take the shot. Everything else since has been bliss.