Time for a Break

After suffering yet another SNG loss last night, I went over my log book. I wasn't surprised to discover that, since November of last year, I'm deeply in the red. In fact, "deeply" doesn't begin to describe it. "Dangerously" is more like it.

I examined my plays, reviewed my histories and fliped through the books and blog posts that have helped me get control over, and gain confidence in my game. I came to the conclusion that, yes, I don't suck at poker. I also came to the conclusion that, yes, we want bad players to make bad calls, but I'm also losing more money from bad players who are suckng out on me than I win when they miss. Other than winning an FPP satellite for the $750 Guarantee at PokerStars last month, I am a total loser right now. Have you ever felt like a total loser? Have you ever felt like the flop of life just keeps on missing you, and that your draws never get there? That's me, man, and it sucks.

I used to say that acting is like tournament poker: you have to outlast a huge field to get close to the money, and once you get that close, you have to get incredibly lucky to survive the bubble. It doesn't matter how good you are, it doesn't matter how well you play, if you make one mistake, or take one bad beat, you can be out. At least in tournament poker, more than one person makes the money. Poker is an incredible metaphor for all sorts of things in life, and right now it's a perfect metaphor for so many things in my life, it's scary, and the auditions are the least of it. I'm sick and tired of losing, but more importantly, I'm sick and tired of feeling like a loser, in too many ways to count.

When I get all the money in as a dominating favorite (AK vs. AQ, JJ vs TT, or my personal favorite KK vs T6o. Nice hand sir, good call) I am a consistent loser. More often than not, I've found myself blowing up at my computer, walking around my block to settle down, and wondering the whole time why I even bothered to put the time and effort into learning how to play, when all of my apparently "correct" decisions continue to fail to pay off. I fold Q6o to a raise and a re-raise? Of course the flop comes A66. I fold 55 to a raise and a push? Of course the raiser has AT, the pusher has 33, and there's a 5 on the flop. I push on a king-high flop with aces, you know the guy with KJ is calling me, so he can turn a jack and bust me. Every. Single. Fucking. TIme. I know that I should be happy with making correct plays, based upon incomplete information. Well, last time I checked, you couldn't buy into games with happy points, and you can't cash them out, either.

Yes, I know that these idiots should be EV for us, but I can't afford to keep giving them the chance. My bankroll has dropped by almost 75% since this seemingly never-ending slide began, and while I'll eventually be able to get that money back one way or another, something even more serious is weighing on my game: I'm starting to hate poker because it isn't fun. I know we tell our kids that playing games should be done for the fun of playing, and that winning isn't all that important, but let's be honest: if you lost every single game you played in, and it was costing you money every time, wouldn't you want to spend your money on something that at least made you happy?

I'll continue to host and play in the WWdN weekly tourneys at PokerStars, because the social interaction with people who I consider kindred spirits and friends is completely worth the buy-in, but I'm walking away from everything else, for at least the near future. I'm going to read (non-poker) books, and play some regular games, like Talisman and Dungeon with my kids. I'm going to walk my dogs, train for the San Diego Marathon, and finish my next book. I may even get around to redesigning and repairing my blog.

Update: I understand that this post has been linked (without my consultation) with the outstanding headline "Star Trek Actor Keeps Losing At Poker." That's awesome. I'd like to thank the copywriting genius who came up with that, and congratulate him or her on moving up from Entertainment Weekly. I appreciate you referring to me as "Star Trek Actor," as if I hadn't done anything else with my life since 1987, because there's nothing quite as awesome as being misrepresented to a huge audience like AOL's, especially when it's the introduction. What a great first impression this is!

Please take a look at this post I wrote at my own blog, which should put the contents of this post into the proper perspective. This post isn't about a bad run of cards, and it's not about taking my football and going home. It's about how the frustrations that come with life in the acting world can be magnified and by, and compared to, tough luck in poker. I can understand how the fantastic headline "Star Trek Actor Keeps Losing At Poker" could confuse some readers, though. So here's a brief snip from my own blog: I play tournament-style poker, which means that most of the time, I'm going to work very hard to get there, miss the money, and have nothing to show for my efforts. When I made that connection, I understood why I was getting so irrationally angry when I took a bad beat, or finished in 19th when 18 places paid.

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