Well as many of you know I recently quit poker in pursuit of a "real" job. Basically I have broken even since June and even had my first losing month EVER as well in July. It was a culmination of stress, aggravation and almost knowing the inevitability that quitting poker was coming.
At first I was pretty much full of every negative emotion that one could think of. Starting around July I began to isolate myself with "last ditch" attempts to save an essentially doomed career, given my current state of mind and life situation. I hated myself for "failing" to attain certain goals set for myself when I first started playing for a living. I looked at myself as a failure at not only poker but life in general. I was just in a very bad spot in life with bills piling up and no real way to pay them.
I started shipping out resumes in September and received job offers nearly right away. I declined numerous insurance jobs due to already doing it before and absolutely despising it. I also turned down a couple office jobs that started out with a decent hourly despite me not having/finishing my college degree. This was also a regret of mine during the process as I could have finished a couple of times in the past and didn't see the value you it at the time. Life lesson learned and when I get the chance to finish I am going to.
Eventually I found a job after about a month of searching that is a second shift factory job in the medical industry. I snap took the job as I know people who work there and its a clean and good environment for a factory. I never once thought I would ever work in a factory but it has honestly been a great experience for me. Considering most of my problems were financially related and relatively easy to fix, I learned and heard what real life problems are from my co-workers. It has shown me a new appreciation for people and society in general.
When you play poker for a living all you do is play, think, eat and sleep poker. To paraphrase a quote from a recent article about a high stakes pro Zugwat, All your happiness is tied to winning or losing when you play poker for a living. That's literally all you really care about in life, is whether you won or lost money that day. Then you get up the next day to do it all over again. And for many of us who play poker seriously, its not just a 9-5, 5 day a week job, its a 10+ hour 7 day a week job month after month and to become good at it it essentially has to become an obsession and way of life.
It took me awhile to accept it, despite knowing and realizing this for some time. I can now look back and realize that playing poker for a living online is an awful way to spend ones life. I have no regrets playing for a couple years and making a living from poker but I realize now how negative it was for my overall life goals and overall happiness.
I do feel fortunate to have been able to chase my "dream" at playing poker for a living and doing it for a couple years. I feel good to know that I accomplished some of the things I set out for, got to live and experience many great things I would not have had I continued down my path in Indianapolis at that point in my life.
I only have one regret with poker and that was starting with the massive debt load that I did. It was ultimately my undoing a couple years later but it has all worked out for the best I think. I am the happiest I have been on a daily basis in at least a year. I actually look forward and kind of appreciate having an actual job to go to every day. I stay pretty active, I'm not stuck behind a desk, I socialize with some people that are great characters. None of which would have happened had I continued to grind out poker.
I have also re-discovered my love for the outdoors. I grew up fishing and have gotten back into that as well as discovered my love for bowhunting. It's hard to describe the feeling I get sitting in the woods and a deer, racoon, turkey etc walk by and have on clue you are there. Ted Nugent said it best "Hunting is the last 100% pure sport in the world". I realized this when watching a doe and her fawn come through the woods without too many cares in the world. All the while I was trying to get a good shot at the doe but still.
Six months ago I couldn't had said that I would be a much happier person quitting poker and getting a normal job but here I am. I feel refreshed and almost like a new person being "re-introduced" to society and becoming a contributing member once again. I have a new appreciation for many things I once took for granted. I feel good about doing something I loved for a couple years, which is something most people never have the luxury of doing, when it comes to a job. While I have begun playing poker occassionally again, it will most likely be a couple of months until I attempt to play 40-50k hands a month again. For one, deer season goes until January 2nd (I think) and there are just more important things in life than sitting in front of two computer monitors with my headphones on clicking away on my mouse. I have played a little bit as the graph above shows my rebuilding of a bankroll at 10nl so far this month.
In short I'm back to living, loving and experiencing life with no regrets as I go. I wish all my friends in the poker world the best in their own pursuits with poker and hope they find their own happiness with poker and life. I look forward to staying in contact with many of you and its cool to have become friends with so many great people around the world. It is very difficult to find a harmony with poker and life but its ultimately a personal choice, acceptance and realization that one has to make on his/her own.
Cheers to the sick "real" life!!