Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Life Support

Let’s face it. This is pretty much a dead poker blog.

When I started this blog, it was for a couple of reasons. Three stick out in particular.

1. I wanted to become a better player and hoped my blog would be a place to discuss poker with others

2. I discovered the blogging community and wanted in

3. I hoped to document my progress on the arbitrary goal of making it to the WSOP this year

I haven’t written for quite some time because I’m no longer nearly as passionate about those three things as I was almost 5 years ago.

So what do I have to offer at this point?


Through my blog, I certainly became a better player, but that’s probably more of a statement about how bad I was before I started blogging. I never became nearly as successful as I dreamed I could, but over the past 4+ years, I’ve been able to improve my skill to the point where I’ve been a profitable player each year. Yeah, I dreamed of becoming the next Greg Raymer, or maybe more accurately, the next Steve Dannenberg, but I can say with a straight face that I improve my ability as a poker player by sharing my thoughts on this blog.

However, I hit a point a long time ago where my improvement as a poker player became stagnant for a multitude of reasons, the most important of which is that I was unwilling to increase the time or effort I needed to if I wanted to continue improving. My posts became less about poker strategy and more about poker outcomes or just creative and/or whimsical writing. Add to that the fact that I became less passionate about writing in general and you end up with the current state of my blog.


I’m certainly not the only one in this boat. I’ve lost count of how many blogs in this community have died, whether it’s long-time A-listers or one of the handful that pop up for a couple of months then disappear. The community is still there, but in my opinion, it’s no longer about being a community of poker bloggers, it’s a community of people who wrote (or still do write) poker blogs that became friends.

I never really wedged my way into the community in the manner as many of you. There’s still a group of people that I keep in touch with regularly, and I’ve still got mostly all of you on my Google reader (I’ve dropped the more long-winded, pompous ones from my RSS feed ), but it’s hard to call any of you a friend in the sense that many of you call each other friends. I’ve still never even been to a winter gathering (and won’t be able to attend this year as well) and, at this point, I’m wondering if I ever will even attend. It kind of seems too late for me, if that makes sense.

I mean, who even knows who I am anymore? (not meant to be an emo-type statement, just a legitimate question)

I’m happy with the relationships I’ve established and I know it would probably be a hell of a time to end up in Vegas one day and meet so many of you whose blogs I’ve frequently read and infrequently commented on. But at the same time, if I never do, I’m less bummed out about it each year.


Speaking of Vegas…

I’ve written at least once or twice that the whole goal of getting to the WSOP was really more of a financial goal of being able to afford the buyin (If I’ve established any kind of identity with my blog, it’s probably “the broke guy who used to write about grinding micro-stakes SNGs all the time”). For years now, I’ve been in the situation of essentially living paycheck to paycheck while I try to work on paying down my massive amount of credit card debt while simultaneously trying to become better with managing money.

As you can imagine, a hobby like poker was sometimes a solution to that situation, other times a contributor to the problem. When I was unemployed, I was able to provide myself with an extra 2-3 months of income from playing poker; the flip-side is that when I ran out and was living off of unemployment checks and increased support from my girlfriend, I was still depositing a couple bucks here and there and finding ways to play. I’d never say that I had a gambling problem, but I’ve definitely had (have) a money management problem. So being able to play the WSOP in 2010 (note that winning or making money wasn’t part of my original goal) was really more about getting out of debt than it was about becoming a better player.

As of today, I’m actually closer to that goal than ever before. I’ve reduced my debt significantly over the course of the past year, and I’m on a plan to have all of my debt (excluding student loans) paid off in the next 12-18 months. I’m actually positioned to possibly play in 2011 if I wanted to delay my debt reduction for a couple of months, but like most other aspects of my poker hobby, the desire to play the WSOP is not nearly as strong. It’s certainly not as strong as my desire to be more secure financially. For this reason, and for the reasons stated above, you can get why my blog had dried up.


Here’s the thing – I’m not ready to call this a dead blog yet.

For starters, poker is still one of my biggest hobbies. PokerStars kicked me out since I’m a Washington resident, but I’m still finding ways to play. I’m getting out to home games more and I’ve played more live tournaments this year than probably in all prior years combined. I’m still watching the WSOP on ESPN each week, and I’m still keeping up to speed with most of the same bloggers as well, however mundane your posts are these days. I’ve expanded my relationship with some of you to become Facebook friends, which is pretty much the same thing as real-life friends, right? I’ve had bloggers over to my place for parties where we explained to one of my friends the history of poker blogging. I’ve even done dial-a-shots with Schaubs.

Hell, on a whim, I just cranked out a pretty long, fairly well-written post – not bad for a nearly dead blog, eh?

So yeah, poker is still a huge part of my life. Maybe not as huge, definitely a part of my life in different ways, but it’s still there. And as long as that’s the case, I can’t call this blog fully dead.

Have fun next month in Vegas, everyone. Perhaps I’ll see you there one day.

(I don’t normally sign my posts – just wanted to remind everyone of my name)


At November 10, 2010 at 2:22 PM, Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Well, you popped up in my google reader - good!

I’ve reduced my debt significantly over the course of the past year, and I’m on a plan to have all of my debt (excluding student loans) paid off in the next 12-18 months.


Don't feel the blog is an obligation -- just write when you feel like it.

At November 10, 2010 at 2:34 PM, Blogger Schaubs said...

I remember that dial a shot very well. Let's make it a tradition!

Great post Matt, very honest and sincere.

Well done, eh.

At November 10, 2010 at 9:20 PM, Blogger OhCaptain said...

I agree with Mojo. It's your blog, write when you want. Many of us have you in Reader so you'll pop up when you post.

At November 22, 2010 at 6:01 AM, Blogger jamyhawk said...

welcome back...


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