As most of you probably know, I fancy myself a rather skilled player. Not that if you call me one at the table, I won’t deny it so hard that you’ll think I just dove into an Egyptian river. Really at this point, even if I’m frank with myself I believe I have the technical aspects down enough to succeed at micro stakes Texas Hold’em. If and when I iron out the psychological aspects of my game (as I’ve said before, I’m my own worst enemy, especially at the poker tables) I believe I actually could pass for a pro.
However, there’s one thing I will never be, and that’s not just in poker, but in anything else.
I will never be a champion. Not even if I luck into a Main Event win someday. And if you’re reading this, I can already tell that as things are, you’re not capable of becoming a champion either. So I figure I’ll dispense a little advice for coping with that situation.
Why it’s Okay Not to be a Champion
You know that saying, “there’s always someone cooler than you?” Well you have now, and it’s true. Someone out there is better than you at poker. It used to be we knew these people’s names–Phil Ivey, Stu Ungar, Doyle Brunson, just to put out some more obvious ones. People on that level of ridiculous skill are still out there, and not just the ones that used to be in the limelight. These people shun the limelight. There’s a reason I said that even with just the knowledge that you, right now, are reading this article, is sufficient evidence to state that you are not one of these people.
That reason being, they are completely, totally, utterly, single-minded.
It’s the same reason people like Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Roger Federer, Garry Kasparov, and even Tiger Woods for a time were talked about with the phrase “mere mortals” used to refer to people who are not them. We are mere mortals because we are not, like they are, at all capable of throwing ourselves in every waking moment and probably most of our sleeping ones too into one single thing. That is what it takes to be the best in the world. And not having this capacity is nothing to be ashamed of, or even to envy them for! I can’t imagine what the life of a totally single-minded person could be like, and for once I’m grateful that my imagination is finite!
Even if you have aspirations of becoming a professional poker player, you don’t need to eat, sleep, breathe, dream, and crap poker to do it. You do need to be prepared to play a whole lot, but you can have time for other things, even if it’s not, say, as much as your bog-standard nine-to-fiver would have. That isn’t to say there aren’t these single minded people in the field of poker. They’re in every field, even ones no one gets trophies for. And in the long run, you will not out-earn them. But what you can’t do doesn’t matter. What you can do does. And if you take a good, hard enough look at yourself, I guarantee you’ll find some things in the latter category that you thought were in the former.