The most successful poker players I know work incredibly hard to stay at the top of their game. I think that might actually be the biggest misconception that I run across, when it comes to people who play the game professionally. There is this idea that because poker is a ‘game’ that it’s not really work.
Wow, is that not true.
Being great at something certainly takes a generous amount of natural talent, but if you don’t follow that up with hard work and commitment, it usually doesn’t go anywhere. Professional athletes are physically talented individuals with faster reflexes than you or I could ever hope to have, but they still train like mad to stay at the peak of their fitness & readiness to play. Success normally takes hard work and that’s one of the reasons that I have a lot of respect for the people who’ve managed to carve out a living playing poker professionally for years. It ain’t easy!
Poker also tends to demand a different mode of living. For live players, this may mean being on the road all the time; travelling the tournament circuit, rarely seeing friends and family and constantly missing out on things at home. It may be worth it but it’s still a sacrifice and things are given up in the pursuit of a career. For online players, it may mean living a vampire’s schedule – staying up until 7 or 8am most mornings and then sleeping until many people are on their way home from work. It can be an awkward way to live and people don’t often understand it.
This is actually one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to misconceptions that people have about poker players. Number one on that list is the idea that poker equals gambling in the same way that roulette and craps do. This annoys me to no end. A close second is the notion that waking up early and working during the day is somehow morally better than pulling night shifts while playing ‘a game’ for money.
Snide comments about ‘sleeping in late’ as though eight hours of rest done during the day is somehow less valid or less defensible, makes me want to pull my hair out. When someone regularly works until the wee hours of the morning, their normal schedule will be skewed away from the norm, that’s true. That doesn’t make it wrong though. It’s hardly akin to a teenager going to bed at a normal time and then sleeping all through the afternoon. It’s not sloth, it’s just sleep. The fact that some people genuinely have a problem with this is bizarre to me. Okay, yeah that’s a particular pet peeve for me, I admit it.
I’m really fortunate in that because of my TV and writing work, I get to live a semi-poker lifestyle without having to rely solely on playing poker for my living. Honestly, I’m not sure I could make a good living just playing poker – I don’t know if I have the commitment and work ethic for it! I’m certainly not willing to put in the thousands of hours to give it a try – respect to those of you who do.
The Pokerfest Championship Returns to partypoker
On Sunday 19 October, the next chapter of the Pokerfest Championship begins with the first of 76 action-packed poker tournaments to be played over a 15-day period. By the time Pokerfest comes to a thrilling conclusion, we will have awarded more than $2 million in prizes to our players, hopefully a large chunk of that huge sum will be nestled in your partypoker account!