No, not that horrid thing you look at in the morning while giving your body the once over and wishing you hadn't eaten the extra side of twice baked potatoes, spare ribs, and yummy hot fudge sundae (with or without sprinkles). Its reflection upon the things that you've done, not things you wish you've done. I took time to reflect on a few things last night with a certain diminutive poker scribe. And during the conversation a question every serious/semi-serious poker player should ask himself/herself came up.
What place does this poker have in your life?
Are you studying the game to become the next WSOP champion? Are you enjoying the fact the MikeMcD420 at Stars is on tilt after you dropped the hammer on his aces? Are you grinding out bonus money as a second (or possibly primary) income? Do you play to sedate your problem solving side that you don't get to use at work? Do you want to become the "rocks and rings" guy? Do you wish to have twice confirmed huge junk? Hell, I'd settle for just plain ol' single confirmed huge junk.
Personally when I started playing online last year, I thought the reason I played poker was to make money only. Now, I realize its something different. Granted, the money is a nice but since the only thing I've bought with poker money is the iPod mini leads to believe that I play poker for a different reason.
There's always been a part of me growing up looking to be challenged. Whether it be playing sports or solving math questions. I would beat myself silly if I couldn't solve a math problem, almost to the point of tears. If I didn't make the local traveling team, I'd spend the winter up at the rink skating and shooting to get better for the next season.
Poker is no different of a challenge. It combines two of greatest loves I have in my life. Gambling and problem solving. I play for the action and solving the mystery behind my opponent's hole cards. I'm more upset when I don't "read" an opponent correctly then when that two-outer hits. I realize now more then in the past that Poker is indeed gambling (thanks to Felicia for that). When you "play correctly" you're just giving yourself a better CHANCE to win (I've probably stated this in past posts, and I certain its in one of five billion poker books).
Knowledge of the premium hands, how to slowplay that set correctly, and how combat tilt after TeddyKGB6969 sucked out on your Kings is just part of the poker puzzle. Corner pieces if you will, in a never ending puzzle that will constantly change in size and shape. Is it the perfect puzzle? I'd like to think so, because its a puzzle that cannot be solved completely. Quite possibly its the underlying reason why so many people have recently flocked to playing poker. Without knowing it new/old players are being challenged in a way that isn't found in a game of monopoly or paracheesi. Yet, the social and randomness side of poker makes it a game that can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys card games.
My question to my dear reader or two. Why do you play poker besides the money? What motivates you to comes back after winning that SnG or losing to a runner-runner flush?
Thanks for dropping by, now go here to read about a little league team deemed "too good" to play (found on Fark.com). 2 1/2 hours a day, 4 days a week for practice? Sheesh, I don't think my high school baseball team practiced that much. Maybe this team will finally give the Chinese Taipai team a run for their money in the Little League World Series.