Walking: away from online poker, towards the fambly

Posted on Sun 18 June 2006 in Gaming

I'm sure it has nothing to do with Amber, but my brain has faded into pure fuzziness the past couple of weeks. I'm missing appointments (both work and personal) and frequently wander from one room to the other wondering why I left the other room in the first place. Hell, I often sit down at the computer and wonder what it was I planned to look up / blog about / game I wanted to play.

Warning: some sappy content ahead...

So today is a prime example. I had two activities on my agenda, total, today: hang out with Lynn and Amber a whole lot, and play in the world poker blogger tournament this afternoon. For some reason I got it in my head that the tournament kicked off at 6:30 pm EST. I had an awesome day of leisure:

  • home roasted coffee (Ethiopian, deep into second crack)
  • reading the weekend paper in bed with the whole family (Spook included)
  • walking to the local beach to take turns swimming & minding Amber
  • quickly mowing of the back lawn before the rain storm hit
  • viewing assorted PVRed football matches in fast-forward with Lynn and Amber hanging out on the couch next to me

So at 6:00 I decided to log on to PokerStars just to make sure that the blogger tournament didn't actually start at 6:00. Hmm, well that's interesting: it doesn't show up at all on my radar. I step back, follow the link to the Web page, and damn... it started at 4:00. I probably finished blinding out around 5:30, in 1224th place. Yep, I ended up being one of those bastards that just sat out the entire game.

But that's okay, because I wouldn't take any of it back to sit and play two hours of online poker by myself. And that fits with my decision a few weeks back to cash out. I started playing online poker for real cash back in October 2005, entirely due to Wil's charity tournament for Hurricane Katrina relief, and stuck around because it was a lot of fun. After earning my frequent play bonus for my initial deposit, I was down around $30; but then I started to place in the money pretty consistently. All at the $1.50 turbo SNG level, mind you. After popping back over the break-even point, I pumped another $100 in to qualify for another cash bonus, and pretty quickly surged towards the +$100 level. Then my brother enticed me in to higher buy-in SNGs, and my account varied a little wider. Still, all was overall pretty well.

I began playing and live-blogging the WWdN Tuesday blogger tourneys, and had a hell of a time. Somewhere in there I cashed out around > $100, twice, and my balance was still $200. So I had been winning and was now bankrolled for free. One more 20% deposit bonus enticed me to buy back in one more time, this time for $300. I figured I was playing enough that I might as well earn a bonus while I was at it.

Right around then, I switched jobs, and we were in the end game for Amber's arrival. Suddenly, my time was becoming a lot more precious: painting the house and preparing for the new baby was a far higher priority than poker. Still, Tuesday nights at the WWdN were sacrosanct and a whole lot of fun--and I actually spent more time talking with my brother Dave through the WWdN than I had for most of the past ten years, otherwise. However, clearing that deposit bonus was starting to look like more of a chore than a reward, and playing poker at other times was less "fun" and the money was becoming a little more important: the new job pays less than the old one (but makes up for that in many other soul-satisfying ways), the vehicle insurance and property taxes and utility bills all hit at once, and there seemed to be so much stuff to buy for Amber that suddenly our bank account was a little on the low side.

I had funneled around $350 to Dave to pick up a kick-ass stroller, and after playing around ten SNGs in a row where every one of my tight tourney lives ended in a horrendous bad beat, I cashed out completely. Cousin Jason witnessed the historic event: a cheque for $347 was requested at around 2:30 am, and after all was said and done, counting up all the deposits, withdrawals, and transfers, my hours of online poker over nine months netted me about $400 in earnings. No complaints here: it's a pittance compared to some of my blogger peers, but without a doubt wildly above normal for most online players, and it's definitely appreciated at home.

I miss the WWdNs already, but I don't miss the rest of the online poker. I had hoped to enjoy the blogger tourney today, but screwed that up by completely blowing the start time. However, I did get to railbird a few of my fellow WWdN comrades: Jules, Rico, Dave, and Frank got shout-outs. I guess if there's anything ghey-er than blogging, or more girly than chat-things, it's being resigned to pure railbird mode. But that's cool with me, because kicking it at home with Amber and Lynn beats a royal flush any day.

Yep, it's quite fitting that it happens to be father's day...