End-of-year reflection leads me to ask whether I've reached life's mid-game with the blinds and antes climbing, knowing that if the dealer doesn't slide me some major mojo soon that I'll be taking a stand under suboptimal conditions while left wondering whether the real opportunity occurred much earlier but I lacked brains, ability and chutzpah to recognize its existence.
(How's this for an example: You're in for 5 buy-ins with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first hour of an $8 donkfest and see three all-ins in front of you while holding pocket 10s. You know there's got to be at least one overpair among the three and that you'd be gamboooling in a major way if you make the call for your last 2,800. You don't, of course, the 10 flops and you flame out a couple of minutes later with pocket 9s vs K-Q. Point of this interlude? IT'S A FREAKIN' REBUY, DUMBASS. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO GAMBLE.)
Ah, the bountiful poker-life analogies. Screw it. Life's been pretty good. I've gotten plenty of breaks. My timing has usually been pretty good. But I can't help but wonder whether I've wrung all the value I should have out of the hands I've been dealt.
I am a better poker player than a year ago. There are more pages in the playbook. There is discernible improvement in both my tournament (more aggressive) and NL cash (probably too loose/aggressive) games.
My enthusiasm for poker has only deepened. I've even become addicted to a new poker drug -- 2-7 TD. I've played thousands of hands since Stars introduced the game and have enthusiastically set about learning the game's complexities.
Triple draw, in fact, will be a good test for my resolve to improve. Learning is best done systematically, although accident and happenstance impart their own sometimes painful lessons. Learning to learn better represents a formidable but achievable challenge. And the biggest step toward becoming a better player -- laying down more hands -- doesn't take a Ph.d. to master.
This is the first anniversary of this blog. While not well read, it has served as an adequate journal of my poker progress. That's good enough for now.