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Daniel - Poker Journal

Highs and Lows

26 Dec 2004

I hesitated for a long time whether or not I should enter this journal. Iíve been pretty honest with you all up to this point so I figure, ďWhy stop now?Ē

Over the last seven years or so Iíve won over thirty tournaments. Winning a tournament is a natural high that actually sucks a lot of energy out of you. Winning this last tournament in the fashion that I did, and in the circumstances that I did, made that high even higher than normal.

Now Iím no psychologist by any means, but there is a common feeling that I deal with shortly after the euphoria wears off. Iíve never done a drug in my life (not an illegal drug anyway) but I imagine that the feelings are similar.

Cocaine or ecstasy give you an intense high followed by a deep low. I wouldnít go so far as to say winning a poker tournament is followed up by depression- thatís a little too extreme. The period after that euphoria though does lend itself to a ďlowĒ- at least for me.

In my earlier twenties Iíd been through minor bouts with depression as Iím sure we all have at one time or another. Since I met Lori, that stable presence in my life has helped me look on the bright side of things and realize that depression truly is a wasted emotion.

Still though, I canít help but feel restless as of late. I have tons of things to catch up on while Iím on a little break here but absolutely no interest in getting any of those things done.

Living in Las Vegas with a mentality like that is a dangerous combination. There are all sorts of ways to ďfind troubleĒ in this city if you look hard enough. It brings me back to this one CD I listened to years go, one of those Anthony Robbins deals.

In it, he talks about the seven human needs. The first human need is CERTAINTY. The feeling and knowledge that everything is going to be ok. Security, safeness, stability. Ironically, he goes on to explain that the second human need is UNCERTAINTY!

How can that be? It doesnít seem to make any senseÖ actually it makes perfect sense. Ladies, ever been with a guy who has a good job, treats you nice, is always responsible, never any unexpected surprises? You dumped him didnít you, LOL.

You thought that you wanted a ďbad boyĒ. Someone ďdangerousĒ or ďmysteriousĒ. Someone passionate that made you feel alive. So you dump the ďnice guyĒ only to find that the ďbad boyĒ is a real jerk! LOL. I have seen it a million times.

Well there is another analogy that relates directly to poker. Adversity. Gamblers crave it, and when they donít have it they often donít feel ďsatisfiedĒ. Without naming any names, I canít tell you how many great young poker players I know who have worked really hard, built up a huge bankroll, and then dumped it all on the dice table or on a drug habit. Why would they do that? No one knows for sure, but I like to think itís so that they feel they have a purpose in life again, a new goal to reach. If they are broke, they have to go play poker, itís a ďnewĒ adventure that unfortunately can quickly get old. When I see some of my friends in their late forties still going through that same cycle it breaks my heart.

Iím glad I was able to recognize that cycle young enough to do something about it. Nowadays when Iím feeling destructive I have a solid group of friends to depend on, and a stronger sense of faith that helps me through those times where I just donít care much about anything.

Thatís kind of where Iím at right now. I went from being in a rut before the big tournament started, to a massive high, and then back to where I was before- in a rut. This rut is a little different though than the one I was in before. My last rut was totally poker related, while this one deals with a lack of motivation. Maybe Iím just tired. Hopefully it will just pass.

You see now why I have battled with myself wondering if I should go ahead and enter this journal. Iím really not looking for any sympathy here, in fact Iím embarrassed to some degree that Iím sharing this with you at all. I fear that it comes off a little bit too much like, ďWhatís this whiny little brat got to whine about? You want something to whine about, come take a look at my life!Ē

The intention of this journal wasnít to whine or seek pity. Itís just me being honest about how I feel right now, whether thatís rational or not. Iím sure Iíll be fine by tomorrow or the day after, but in the meantime Iím headed towards my X-BOX to see if my Clippers can win their first round match against the Golden State Warriors. Iím down 0-1 but Iíve been in worse spots before