Poker is a wicked game. I am not going to sit here and say that it is a sport. I feel, obviously, that the game is more mental than physical, therefore it is more of a game than a sport. Anyway, I am not interested in arguing over definitions or anything of such. I am here to say that for the month of January I played this game like absolute shit. In the first 10 days of February alone, I lost 15+ buy ins. Add that to the somewhat small loss, saved by a nice weekend online, from January and I needed a change. On the 10th, after another poor showing in the 6 max at Northville, I was looking into taking an extended break.

It wasn’t that I have run out of dinero, or anything like that, but having to go deeper into the bankroll than I have in a while, was unacceptable to me, as I am trying to cut down to on the amount I’ve been playing. I have not taken off more than 3 consecutive days without discussing something about poker and no more than 7 days without playing in over 30 months. One might think that is crazy, which it is, but I really do love playing poker. Huge fan of the challenge the game provides, as well as the monetary benefits from being a winning player.

As I was doing a lap around Northville Downs thinking about sitting down in a cash game, I started to think (novel idea when you’re thinking about putting $200+ on the table). I started to think that I should take a break, quit, for an indeterminate amount of time. I enrolled in some classes that, to that point, had gone really well, but were going to take more of my time. The great thing about being properly bankrolled for poker (read any number of my articles to discern what that is… or comment, I’ll respond) is that I don’t have to play unless I want to. There is no need for me to go, to have to force myself to sit at the table, to put the hours in, just to try to make money. So, knowing this, it made the next part of this blog considerably easier.

I made mention of taking a break to my friend. He scoffs, since he know that I don’t take breaks, it’s just not in my nature, or so he says. So, we came up with a wager. It starts off simply enough, no live poker for 30 days, at even money. He laughs at me because, based on where I moved, it is more of a hassle to play live than it might be worth, especially on a weekday. I now live 35 minutes from my closest card room. This sucks, but I get to keep a keen eye on my studies. For a large enough bet, I could easily make more money not playing poker than I could realistically win playing.

Well, this was instantaneously rejected. It was deemed that it was too easy for me to do for enough money, and if there wasn’t enough money on the table, it wouldn’t be worth it for me. So, we moved on. We haggled on stakes, and terms for about 10 minutes when we reached a breakthrough. Our initial bets were too easy, too hard, or just utterly ridiculous. So, we settled on something that was ridiculous, but doable.

Here was the bet that we settled on:
No gambling, of any kind. No use of the internet, other than for pertinent or school related stuff. No internet gambling. No social media, including from my phone. No twitter, no Facebook, no 2+2, nothing. Length: 30 days. Odds: I’m getting 3:1. Amount: My $335 to his $1000.69

It was a tough first week. The not going to my phone and scrolling through my twitter feed, the not logging on to Facebook other than when I needed to retrieve information, the not trolling the forums; it was all hard. Past that, it was more of a hassle not to inadvertently break the rules by due to boredom or habit.

The not playing poker thing ended up being great after skipping the first weekend of play. Past that, it was awesome to take an extended break. Cut out a bunch of stress, even it is ‘simple’ stress, where I don’t carry much of it past the front door of whatever establishment I am playing at. It was nice to acquaint myself with a new area of the state. There was a different way of doing things, as well as different expectations than what I was used to living in Ann Arbor.

So, 22 days in, we started talking deals, because, well, I wasn’t going to lose. It was easy, once we got past the first 10 days. On the 23rd day, we reached a deal. He bought out for $800.69. We haggled more over the fact that I wanted the $.69 than almost anything. He was upset at losing, as I would have been. He told me he was going to pay me in singles, which was funny, but I didn’t like that. I told him I needed casino chips or large bills. He chuckled, and then obliged. In the end I got paid in ten $10 rolls of quarters (kind of awesome because I need quarters for laundry and can never remember to get change), a $500 Motor City chip, 100 $1 Greektown chips, a $100 MGM chip, and 69 pennies.

So, in the end, I really liked taking the break. Not only did I make $800, but I was able to remove myself from the poker world, completely, and focus on education, social scenes not associated with poker, and fun stuff like that. It’s been a fun ride. I was happy to get back into playing poker again. There have been a few changes, which, I feel, are great for me in terms of my poker playing. I can attribute these positive changes directly to my break from poker.  I will write about those at another time.