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Nature of the Beast

Until last night, I'd played poker on twenty-one straight evenings. Doesn't sound like much but still pretty impressive given my familial responsibilities. Of course, I really haven't played much poker in terms of hands. I've only put in about 1,000 hands total this month: 700 hands of PLO and 300 hands of Omaha/8. My most impressive achievement has been my ability to drop three times the value of the Full Tilt Take 2 bonus amount ($50) over the course of those thousand hands. I think my poker game needs help.

This is normally where I'd resolve to become a better player. Or I'd set myself some goal like "I'm going to play X hands before then end of the month".

Or perhaps "I'm going to force myself to play until I break even on the month".

Or "I'm going to put aside PLO and Omaha/8 and focus on NLHE because that's what I'm good at".

None of these goals or plans are necessary. I'm going to continue bouncing around from PLO to NLHE to Omaha/8 until I manage to win something. I've only had a few winning sessions this month. This has done a real number on my desire to focus and play my best. I've been tired. I've been distracted by my plans to increase my weekly dose of exercise. And I've been enthralled by the lasting appeal of role-playing games (e.g. Final Fantasy XII) and, much to my wife's dismay, Japanese-flavoured RPGs in particular.

I'm a man of many tastes. I'm never happy with what I have and always looking for the next best thing. Do I have some form of mental illness? Or is that just the nature of the beast when it comes to my obsessive qualifying of every minute of free time that I find over the course of my day-to-day life? Is it normal to go shopping online, fill up my cart with stuff that I'd like to buy, and then cancel my order either before or immediately after payment due to constant feelings of buyer's remorse? More strange is that I do not feel any regret at buying things for others and enjoy buying gifts for my family. I don't even mind paying ludicrous amounts of money to have contractors perform questionably-vital improvements to my home. But when it comes time to flop down $10 for a comic book or $50 for a brand new video game (which I only do once or twice a year), I feel ridiculous for having wasted my money.

I think these feelings extend to poker when my game is not going well. Did I really have to pay that one bet to see the flop when I new my hand did not have the greatest nut-nut potential? Should I have raised JTs UTG when I was sure that I'd get heads-up with the donkey in the BB but was forced to fold when the TAG in the CO 3-bet me? Should I have even bothered firing up a couple tables of micro-stakes PLO knowing that I was tired and was sure that I'd just waste money on my "stupid hobby" instead of getting a bit more sleep or spending more time with my wife?

Am I the only person who thinks of these things daily? Does anyone else try to figure out a way to keep everyone happy without also giving up on their own selfish pursuits? Does anyone else feel the need to justify every action they take on both a spiritual and monetary basis to their family, friends, and (in my case) readers? Am I just setting myself up for some form of mental breakdown?

Will I still be able to play video games, play poker, play with my kids, and spend time with my wife if I collapse mentally? Or will I have to eventually disappoint everyone?

More importantly - do I have to write posts like these whenever I have a little too much time and no hand histories to post?

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