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A Betting Man

I'm taking my return to the world of online gaming pretty slowly. I typically get quite excited to play poker when I'm at work. But the bus ride home and four to five hours of time spent with my family is killing my desire to gamble. By the time 10 o'clock rolls around, I'd rather sit back and relax.

The major change taking place in my daily routine is the re-introduction of reading into my life. I was spending the bulk of my time watching video game trailers or movies on my PSP Go. I'm now doing my best to read up on backgammon and poker during my commute. It's my hope that a steady focus on game strategy and critical thinking will finally flick that switch in my head. If you're a regular poker player, you'll know the feeling I'm talking about. It's that insatiable desire to play as much poker as you can, review hand histories, and read any poker books you can get your hands on.

I played a bit of backgammon last night at PartyGammon. Free play, of course. I just don't have very much money online. I'm hoping that Party will throw me a bone at some point and allow me to play a few games on their dime.

Backgammon is fun, fast-paced and intense. I'm terrible at it but I'm learning. Backgammon feels the way poker did back in 2004 before poker became popular and before I lost my poker innocence. I'm hoping to hang on to this feeling as long as I can. I am hoping that continued study and regular backgammon play will improve my game to the point where I might stand a chance in a freeroll tournament.

As for poker, I did a quick check of online traffic last night. There are a lot of games running but nowhere near the record numbers of early 2006. Party Poker had about 9 tables of $25 NLHE running and a good number of limit hold'em games as well. Thankfully, the competition at the micro-stakes seems as bad as always. There may be hope for me yet.

I'm thinking of taking part in one of PokerSource's instant bankroll promotions to help me build up my online presence more quickly. A quick influx of $100 or more could get me back on pace to playing small stakes poker again sometime in the next year.

No matter what happens over the next little while, I'm approaching my re-introduction to poker (and backgammon) as a true learning experience. I lost the drive to play poker well. I stopped caring about the game and focused only on the money. And when you're playing small stakes poker, money is not a good motivator for someone with a full-time job.

If I were a betting man, I wouldn't wager a substantial sum on my return to online poker in the next week. But that time is coming fast. I only hope that I'm making the right decision in resurrecting poker's role in my life. I'm always up for a good challenge but I don't savour the reality of spending hours folding hands while losing my 'roll to rake, unlucky rivers, and poor play.

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