04 November 2005

Delicate Post: Depression

This post will be a bit unusual and may disturb some people, but I write it as I write most of this journal--for me. I'd like to talk about my Wednesday session, where I made a major error in judgement, playing poker in what can only be described as a state of depression.

I won't bore you with the details of how I came into this state of depression. Suffice it to say that there are several usual suspects: a failing business which I now have come to the conclusion I need to close and pursue employment, physical ailment (discussed before), and overall stress. I made the what can only be termed irrational decision to move up to $30/60 and distributed $800 to the others at the table. I won't go into hands played (as I played many more hands and the wrong ones) or unfortunate circumstances (QQ vs AA). I would rather document where I was, where I am, and any lessons learned.

Poker is a release for me, especially live. I'm not sure where I fall in my motivation to play. Part of it is the competition, part is the anonymity or being with people I normally would not be with, part is detaching mentally from life challenges, part is being successful. The money has not been a motivator, although I've never consistently played nor won enough where the funds have been material to our lives. I am a relative newbie to gambling in general, having started with blackjack in 2002 from a client who frequented Vegas and would play min hands of $100 often. Blackjack was much more financially dangerous due to the large swings and general -EV. I've been bankroll positive with poker for at least the last two years, although I don't play live very often at all as our client base has dwindled significantly.

My psyche has fluctuated near the bottom curve for the last nine-fifteen months, but the last couple of months have been particularly bad. I've been moodier at times, more insular (if that is possible, as I really have limited daily interaction wtih anyone other than my wife). I've always been active in the church that we've attended as we've moved around the country, but the one we attend has been a struggle for me. My only real areas of comfort have been my boys, the soccer team that I coach, and poker. I don't drink at all (as in I've never had a drink), so I don't have other self-destructive releases that I assume others may have.

I do feel that I have a problem as my general malaise has increased and lengthened. All of the above isn't meant as a pity plea, but more to bring us back to the purpose of this blog, the Closet Poker Player. And the core questions are:
  • How do I identify when I am in a bad state?
  • What should my rules be about poker?
I'll give some initial thoughts for the second question. First, I would say that I need to avoid playing during these times. I think it sets up a bad pattern, where I start to retreat into poker rather than being focused and prepared to play my best. I think it sets up a reward system where I would be rewarded for a negative situation, which is not good training. I'm not sure if I need to read much into my action of moving up to $30/60. I don't know if it was to feel something, to have action. There wasnt' really a decision, as it was more that I was suddenly clicking the open seat and posting the bb.

Being a Closet Poker Player may also be contributing to all of this, I'm not sure. Again, for anyone who actually reads this, I didn't mean for this to be a big downer, but I thought it was important to stay candid not only in my decisions to play Ax but also what I'm really going through. As a prologue (if that's the right word), I jumped back into $15/30 yesterday and ended up +$600 or so, which included twice getting raised on the turn when KTo caught 2nd pair and I had AJ and AQ respectively and had paired board. I'll continue to keep you posted, but if there is anyone who would like to put their thoughts or experiences, I'd be open to reading them.


Blogger WillWonka said...

First off, my thoughts and prayers are with you as you work through these difficult times.

It seems, to me, that you are OK on the poker front as you know what you are doing and I agree that it can be a release...

Away from poker, it can be tough when things aren't going our way. Church and/or God is always a great place to start and if the current church isn't meeting your needs, then try some others. I recently did this myself.

You probably don't want to hear this; but I do believe that everything does happen for a reason and God will NOT try you past what you are capable of handling. Put your trust in Him and your family and make some conscience efforts to do some "different" things to bring a little excitement or challenge or whatever back into your life.

Again, my thoughts are with you.

PS.. also thanks for your comments and making me look at my last month. It definitely helped.

9:41 AM  
Blogger cc said...

Thanks, Will. I've felt richest spiritually when I can use my gifts, so that has been the challenge with our church (a mammoth PCA church). I am an INTP on Myers-Briggs, which means that my default is an avoider and am generally introverted and analytical.

I like your thoughts of "different" things, and I'll keep you posted on what those are. Thanks for taking the time and giving your ideas.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Luke Kim said...

Cheer up.

7:40 PM  

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