For about the last 3 months now I’ve been on the worst slide of my poker career yet.  I say “yet” not because I expect it to continue,  but to help emphasize that this is something that happens in poker and it’s not the end of the world.  With that said, staying positive during these dark times is never easy… not for anyone… but it’s very key to remaining successful.

Anyway, it was really getting to me and I had a lot of my poker buddies recently asking me “Are you alright dude?”.  I think when a slump gets to a certain point you won’t need to tell your close poker buddies how you are feeling and they’ll just know (they’ve been there too).  So, that was cool in the sense that I know I have guys looking out for me (as I’m always trying to do for them too).  Ultimately tho, as I’ve told many of my friends and myself, “there is nothing you can do but keep staying positive and keep doing what you can to set yourself up for success”.  Be sure I was told this back by a few of my buddies, and I’m thankful for that. 😉

With all that said, I still reach my point where I can feel the tilt meter filling up and just know I need to take a break… (+ev IMO)

I was fortunate to get to spend some time away visiting family in PA this last week.  I did tweet thursday that I played my last game until next week, but ended up not sleeping thursday night/friday night because of the long drive and played a couple, haha.  Starting saturday afternoon though I didn’t play at all and spent Saturday night (cinco de mayo – another reason to drink) getting drunk watching a local KISS cover band.  They were cool but I really just love seeing bands in general, so If it was someone else I would have been probably just as happy 🙂  Then from Sunday-Tuesday I just ate my face off and chilled out with my family.  It was a great little break that definitely helped me forget about poker for awhile.

So now as I write this, I’ve recently just finished the 10 hr drive back to NC and sleeping for about 6 hrs.  All I can say is that I’m feeling GREAT.  I’ve heard lots of good runs by the BOD boys, which is super inspiring to me and has me ready to grind.  I’ve pretty much forgotten how bad I was running and am excited to play again, and being excited to play I think is how you should be.

I’ve been reminded in the past 3 months of a few things:

It’s important to have a network of poker friends.  – Having a support system of people who understand what you are going thru can help make the dark times easier to handle.  You don’t have to let it eat you apart inside, talk to someone.

It’s important to stay sharp and do your work off the felt.  – I’ve found it’s easier to deal with variance if you are confident you are playing well and studying off the felt to make sure your mind is sharp.  Basically can you look back at a bad run and go “I did EVERYTHING in my power to ensure I was given the best shot to be successful”?  I think if you can say this then you can confidently point your finger at the word Variance.

The True test of a Poker Players character is not how they handle themselves when they are winning, but more so how they handle themselves when they are losing.  – Poker is about winning AND losing, there is no 100% winning.  So if you can be at peace with both and remain positive throughout then you are: reducing time spent bitching on skype to your friends (I don’t mind listening as I may have done this in the past, but realistically noone wants to be in the middle of a session and have a bunch of negative shit thrown at them), reducing time you spend feeling sorry for yourself (allows you to focus more on improving your game), ect… I mean I can go on forever about this one, but will save you the read.  😉