Considering Coming Out Of Poker Retirement
There was a time when all I thought about, night and day, was logging into one of my online poker sites and playing some poker.
I loved the game and wanted to become the best player I could possibly be. There were times when I’d create a spreadsheet with dozens of different cash game win rates and possible tournament ROIs so I could figure out how much poker I’d need to play in order to jack in my day job and play poker full time.
Becoming a poker pro never happened; in fact it never actually came close. What actually happened was I managed to get a job working in the poker industry. Back in the day, when every man and his dog kept a poker blog, a guy called Dave Allan messaged me and asked if I would be interested in writing a blog on Betfair’s poker page. The pay was minimal, yet I took him up on his offer because I was going to be writing a blog anyway so why not get paid for it?
The start of a new poker career
Little did I know that this would be the catalyst for me becoming a full-time writer. Betfair asked me to write some basic strategy articles and then some news-related pieces and they went down well. Money was coming in and I was still playing a lot of poker.
A year or so later, Barry Carter, who was then the Editor for the UK arm of PokerNews, the world’s largest poker news outlet, contacted me and said PokerNews were looking for some new bloggers for their live reporting team. After a brief trial at the European Poker Tour London Main Event, the one that David Vamplew won, I became part of the team.
Live reporting was amazing. There I was flying to places such as Barcelona, Berlin, Prague, and even Las Vegas watching the best of the best play in massive tournaments in front of my very eyes.
Not long after being a live reporter, Barry Carter told me he was leaving PokerNews and going to work for PokerStrategy. He also said that he’d put my name forward as his possible replacement. I got the job and six-and-a-half years later, I am still the Editor of UK & Ireland PokerNews.
Playing poker starts taking a back seat
The day-to-day tasks of my new role, combined with doing some work with the guys at partypoker, plus a family that was growing up fast meant live reporting was starting to take its toll. It was still fun, but the prospect of being in a casino for 15 hours per day for 10 days started to be far less appealing. After my final six-week stint in Las Vegas for the 2014 World Series of Poker, I retired from the live reporting scene.
It was around this time that I also hung up my mouse, so to speak, and quit playing poker. Although I never officially retired from the game, I had been playing less and less to the point I knew I was so far behind the better players at my level that it would be a pain in my balls to drag myself back up to their standard.
One of the reasons I stopped playing poker was because I was writing so much about poker. I’ll sometimes spend 10-12 hours a day writing about poker-related shit so the last thing I wanted to do when I finished work was fire up 10-12 tables and play poker all night. The weird thing is, I’ve recently started getting the poker bug again and I’m considering coming out of retirement and firing up some of my old accounts.
Unfinished poker business
I feel like I have some unfinished business. Any aspirations of being a professional poker player are long gone, yet I feel I have to play again. My largest score from an online tournament weighed in at a shade over $5,000. In fact it was $4,844.32 and a $525 seat to a larger tournament, which I then finished 11th in for an additional $3,566.76. I had a couple of other four-figure scores, which from $3-$11 buy-ins isn’t bad going in my book. When I hit the $5,000 score on the old Ongame version of Betfair, which seems to have disappeared from my PocketFives account, I said I wanted to have a $10,000 score. That never happened.
Some of the guys I used to play with back in the day and now crushing mid-to-high stakes tournaments, and while that would obviously be nice, it is the banter and the mind games that I miss the most. I’m not sure whether to return to playing tournaments again, resume grinding the 180-man games on PokerStars or hit the micro-stakes cash games once again. One thing is for sure, this itch doesn’t seem to be going away and it looks like I am going to have to scratch it.
If I do come out of poker retirement, I’ll obviously document it here on this blog. It could serve as a document of how difficult the games have become to win at and how hard it is to be out of the game for the best part of three years and then coming back in as a fish. Feel free to laugh at my bet sizing and all that shit because I honestly don’t have a clue what is consider the norm or optimal these days. Regardless, it could be fun and I may make a few quid along the way and who in their right mind doesn’t like what is essentially free money and a laugh along the way?
Those of you who read these pages and still play poker, feel free to get in touch and share some hints and tips or even any articles, videos etc that you think may help this fish swim among the sharks once again.