"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." - Bruce LeeI've lost 16 pounds since the Binge at the Boathouse. Not only was my birthday included in that four day bender, but also I managed to eat high off the hog at posh eateries such as the Palm in Manhattan or Bobby Flay's new steakhouse at the Borgata. With a three week bender scheduled for the end of October that will take me to the Left Coast and to Europe, I decided I needed to sober up, lose some weight, and get much needed exercise.
I weighed a career high 205 pounds shortly after the Boathouse and now I'm a lean and mean 189. The first sixteen pounds were easy to lose. It's the next ten that will be tough. I cut back on some of my favorite high-carb foods such as bagels and pasta and added exercise to my daily routine. Before most of you arrived at work, I already jogged three miles and completed a two hour free write.
And in case you were wondering, I'm not trying to win a prop bet or anything like that. My decision to lose weight and exercise was not influenced by my degenerate gambling habits. Over the past month, I've been honing my skills as a writer and wanted to added a three prong approach towards self-improvement. Not only am I working on my novel Jack Tripper Stole My Dog, but I've also been dedicating my time to improve my mental status and physical well being.
Craft. Mind. Body.
Those have been my three essentials as my time in NYC ends shortly. Being an insomniac and not having a team to root for in the MLB playoffs frees up huge chunks of time. And after the first few days of exercising, I realized that the time helped clear my head which was an added bonus. I look at working out as walking meditation. I have a bad knee thanks to a hockey injury from college. As the story goes, on a head full of liquid sunshine, I fell down a flight a stairs in my fraternity house chasing around a half-naked sorority girl.
When I first started exercising after the Boathouse, I opted to walk briskly every morning. However, in the last two days I started jogging again. I start my mornings by walking for a mile, then I jog three miles before I cool off by walking the last mile. When I was a freshman in high school, I ran cross country track and every morning before classes started, I ran the trail around the Central Park Reservoir. That was 1.5 miles long. Twenty years later I'm way out of shape and pushing myself to run twice as long through the hills of Riverdale, Fieldston, and Van Cortlandt Park.
This morning during my run, I came to the conclusion that there's a correlation between winning poker players and successful dieters. If you are not disciplined and don't exercise, you're going to fail.
The main reason that diets fail is not due to the structure of the diet. It's because at the core, humans are weak and lack discipline. We live in a world of distractions and are bombarded by the media's psychological mind-fucks. It's not the diet that doesn't work... it's the dieter. It doesn't matter if you utilize NutriSystem or Jenny Craig or the Sonoma Diet, unless you're willing to stay disciplined and stick to the diet, you'll never achieve your target weight. Same goes for poker.
If you lack discipline at the tables and don't stick to your plan of attack, you'll lose every time. That's why poker books sell, not because they have any earth shattering strategy that no one has never heard of. Ever since Texas Dolly leaked his playing strategy to the masses in the first edition of Super System, there has not been any shocking revelations on how to play Texas Hold'em. But why do these books sell? Because losing poker players lack discipline and they think that the next book they pick up is going to shed some light on how to win. These folks donk off thousands of dollars at the tables, of course they'd be willing to fork over $20 to figure out a short cut to winning.
By the way here's a plug... if you haven't read Scott Gallant's book "Pressure Poker", then what are you waiting for?
There are no shortcuts to becoming a winning poker player. You have to play frequently, make solid decisions, learn from your mistakes, and be willing to get your ass kicked from time to time especially when you did everything right.
Like I said before, any diet will work if you're disciplined and any poker strategy will work over the long haul if you are patient and disciplined. The key ingredient to weight loss is diet and exercise. And the key to becoming winning poker is discipline and exercise. You have to play frequently if you want to be a better player. That doesn't mean playing twelve hours a day seven days a week, but it does mean that you need to see a fair amount of flops every week if you want to stay fresh and remain in sync with your game.
The hardest times for me to play poker are the first few days after a long layoff from the tables, particularly after covering the WSOP for two months straight. Although I've absorbed tournament poker 24/7 for eight weeks straight, I didn't log any meaningful hours at the tables and my game faltered. It took me a few sessions before I got my groove back and the next thing I realized... I was in the hole.
Party Poker closing its doors to American players is similar to having the gym in your neighborhood shut down. I'm not going to have my favorite gym to work out at anymore. No matter where I've been on the road over the last two years, whether if it was in an airport terminal waiting for a delayed flight or sitting in a hotel room at 4am, I always found time to fire up Party Poker to keep my poker pipes clean. Online poker gave players who do not live near casinos or legal card rooms the opportunity to hone their skills on a daily basis. And I wonder what the drop off level in skill is going to be for some of those players?
I also had a weird thought about playing good cards is like eating healthy. And sometimes you can eat bad foods and play junk hands... but only when those circumstances are right. But I can't carve any more than a sentence out of that thought, so I'll end it right now.
I've been spending the last week or so playing 15/30 on Party Poker with hit and runs at the $500 and $1000 PLO tables. I'm padding my bankroll, but man I'm sure going to miss the fishy waters on Party Poker.
By the way, my affiliate account by Party Poker was frozen by the freaked out suits over there. They won't pay me my September affiliate revenues while they investigate my account... for fraud. They are scrutinizing every player I signed up over the last six months.
As someone who's has sent them over a hundred players in the last two years without any problems (especially during the high peak traffic season during the WSOP), I took the move as an insult especially because they never bothered to tell me up front what was going on. I found out the hard way. I called them to figure out why I couldn't access my account and my rep withheld important information and gave me a vague reason why I'm being investigated. Luckily, I knew someone on the inside who took a look at my account for me to tell me the truth about what's going on.
Bad PR move on their part. I pulled all my affiliate links and I've already written off my September revenue from Party Poker as a loss. I will think twice about doing business with them in the future. Hey, in the end it's really their loss... they lost a loyal ally.
As is, if you are going to close your Party Poker account this week, I suggest that you sign up for Poker Stars or Full Tilt. Both have hefty sign up bonuses and that's where I'll be playing over the next few months while the river of shit we're wading in gets cleaned up.