Feels like…the metaphoric rolling over of seasons?
Still dont know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets and
Every time I thought Id got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But Ive never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
Im much too fast to take that test
(turn and face the strain)
Dont want to be a richer man
(turn and face the strain)
Changes, David Bowie, Hunky Dory, 1971
I dunno why but I woke up this morning with the strongest feeling that today is either a beginning or an end of some phase of my life. I don’t know if this is a good change or a bad change, but somehow, something in the cosmos is changing for me today. I woke up early, got to work early, and plan to leave early to go watch Ruth win the 1000 dollar buy-in NL tourney at the river rock this afternoon. Well, she won’t win it today, she’ll just make the money today and win it tomorrow. I have a vested interest in it; I won the seat in a satellite and gave it to her so I wouldn’t have to take a day off work. Of course, when she wins big she’ll return the favour and buy us both into the 2700$ main event. I hope.
But that’s not the great change, I’m pretty sure of it. As I said, it feels like an era is going to end, and I don’t think her winning a tournament will end any era’s…it will just give us a cushion. So I don’t think it’s that. I can take stock a bit in some of the changes i’ve made in my life the last couple years, and wonder if it has anything to do with that, but I don’t see how. See these changes have been made, over time, and it’s still a work in progress. I quit smoking, I changed my diet, I’ve relaxed my attitude about things, I live on cash, not credit. I still need to get more disciplined, more fire, and more clean, but as I said it’s a work in progress. And these are gradual changes (with the exception of the smoking, which by nature was an abrubt change), so they don’t necessarily mark ‘the end of an era’.
I was speaking with a co-worker this morning about poker a bit, and the real key differences between a top pro and a good player who isn’t a noted pro. I believe it comes down to two things, really. See, poker is a pretty straight forward game, all in all…general poker theory is general poker theory, and once you learn it and internalize it, it really doesn’t change much. Don’t get me wrong, u still need to constantly study the game and increase your knowlege of said theory (i own plenty of well known poker books and am always looking for more), but overall it’s a fairly firm set of rules. Yes, some people have a little better reading skills than others, but all in all at senior levels all the players can read people like books. But what makes a Phil Ivey or Daniel Negreneau different is more than just theory and root skill.
These guys, first of all, have a strong ability to stay emotionless in the game. Focus is so necessary in poker, and the ability to not dwell on a bad hand or a bad beat is of utmost importance to being a winning player. This is hard for most people, myself included. I have my methods of controlling it; I often take a little walkafter a bad play, even if I didn’t lose on it. But I’m weak with this, and it’s a huge leak in my game. I feel like I get better with this every time I play, and felt like I crossed a chasm one night recently when I ran incredibly bad card wise but still felt that I didn’t tilt. I have a long ways to go, personally.
The other thing the elite have is they all seem to have a burning desire to win. The competitive spirit is sooo important at high levels of any field (sports, games, work…whatever) and the cream of the crop always have that extra bit of fight in them, that never say die attitude. This is possibly a hard thing to learn, I don’t know. I’ve never had this…I didn’t do sports much as a kid, and when we played family games I was more into having fun than destroying the competition. So I struggle with this, with occasional “Eureka!” moments that always turn out well. The satellite I won to get the ticket into the tournament, I had that attitude. But it’s rare for me. I would think that a guy like Phil Ivey always goes into every single hand knowing he’s going to win, and with a hunger to beat his opponent or opponents. This is important cuz it gives you an added boost of confidence that’s required.
But I don’t know if that’s the big imminent change or not. Maybe this isn’t even something that directly affects me; maybe it’s a change in something in society or something. I dunno. Or maybe I just woke up differently today and it’s all just a desire for change that I’m not making myself. Ahh who knows… as the song says, time may change me, but I can’t trace time.