There are so many high and low emotional swings in poker, specifically no-limit Texas hold em; you gotta have a screw lose or be a glutton for punishment-to play this game. First off, no hand is safe. You could have pocket aces vs. 2-7 and after the flop, if you try to slow play ’em or sim4ply don’t bet enough to get rid of the riff raft, you could be talking to yourself-on your way to your car, going home. Poker players know exactly what i’m saying here. You limp in with the aces because you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to capitalize on the best possible starting hand, so you get cute and just call the big blind and everyone behind you follows suit and calls as well; and then the flop comes out 2-7-10 rainbow. Now you go from first to worst in a blink, or in a flop. This is just a single scenario that can take place in a hold ’em tournament or cash game. This is why hold ’em is so wildly popular around the world (NEWS FLASH: The recent Bad Beat record jackpot that reached nearly $800,000 just got hit last night at one of the Harrah’s properties in Atlantic City, NJ ) .
In poker, the best player doesn’t always win, in fact he/she rarely does. Anyone can win any given pot or tournament. There are so many situations that you encounter over the course of a tournament and you must correctly navigate through almost all of these, to end up with all of the chips at the end. The mental and physical fatigue is grueling and very underrated. I know after a 6-7 hour tournament all I want to do is sleep and sometimes say “I will take a week off” to recuperate from these stressful periods; but after a good nights sleep that feeling of “taking a break” usually subsides.
It’s the competition and the head to head psychological warfare; making them believe what you want them to believe, or do what they don’t want to do, that’s a great feeling. That’s why we play the game, in addition to playing for the money and trophies. It’s where a kid from the streets can battle a Harvard graduate on the poker table for millions of dollars and not be looked down upon, just because of his social status or lack thereof, what a beautiful thought, huh? It’s where a “no name” can go head to head verses Phil Hellmuth and frustrate the crap out of him, catching some cards in the mean time; to take down the world famous “poker brat”. That’s the lure of this game, anyone can be a world champion; unlike boxing, tennis or golf, which usually takes a lifetime to perfect and dominate. Poker champs can be fat, bucktooth ugly guys, that never excelled at anything in life before. The Heartland poker tour has proven that, and i’m all for the underdog. The broke blue-collar dish washer, that doesn’t speak a word of English can become a household name (ie. Scotty Ngugen). Maybe even this 41 year old sports fanatic, that seems to get rivered on a daily basis; but keeps coming back for more, because I love playing this game. I love all the dynamics and personalities that go along with this great game as well. Good luck to all and keep on chasing your dreams, God bless.