THESMALLSTAKES
BY BENCONOLEY
Post-WSOP Reflections
July 26, 2021

Well that’s it; the World Series of Poker 2010 has come and gone (save for a little final table set to play out in November).  I’ve been back home for almost two weeks now, and I’ve only just started to recover.

It’s great to be home and have New Brunswick, Canada back under my feet.  The end of July couldn’t come quick enough in the days leading up to the conclusion of the series.  However, as I keep rehashing my experience to friends who weren’t fortunate enough to be there, I’ve been forced to remind myself that it was actually a pretty great experience.

That said, I’m not going to miss keeping the sleeping patterns of a college sophomore.  Back home I keep an ordinary 9:00-5:00 work schedule and any night out that sees me up past 11:00 on a weeknight better be one of epic proportions, because this man needs his sleep.  I’m also happy to be able to make food in own apartment once more.  The food at the Rio is terrible, and a man can only stomach so many chicken sandwiches made inside his hotel room before losing his mind.

I took a solid week and didn’t think about poker at all.  I didn’t read the forums, didn’t play online and didn’t go anywhere near a card table.  It was wonderful.  Of course after a week my weekly home game came up and I put burnout aside and headed out the door to play some cards.

It was fantastic to once more play cards with friends at stakes that were high enough to help out with the month’s mortgage payment if you won, but low enough to not matter if you lost.  After watching some final tables play out with serious life-changing money on the line, it was great to play with buddies and actually enjoy the game.

If anything, my time spent at the World Series of Poker this summer has made me appreciate being able to play for fun.  I recently read an interview with Jason Mercier where he echoed what seems to be the sentiment of many professional poker players in saying that he would never want to trade his life as a poker player in for the typical 9-5 grind, and perhaps not bother finishing college because it didn’t make sense financially.  While the virtues of an education being about more than money are best saved for a later column, I can say now that I don’t necessarily agree.  Perhaps that’s mostly because being a professional poker player requires an entrepreneurial drive that few, including myself, possess.  I went to Vegas expecting to want nothing more than be able to develop my poker game enough to be able to one day take a shot at making a living off the game.   After talking to players and briefly playing witness to the ups and downs of the industry, I’m happy with a day job.  But more on point, I’m happy with keeping poker as a hobby.

So what now?  For starters, I wish I had a chance to take advantage of the micromania promotions over at PokerStars where microstakes games awarded players with increased FPPs that allow players to make VIP bonuses and the VPP rewards that come with them at an increased pace.  I didn’t play any online sessions until yesterday, and would have loved some more time to take advantage of the special.

With summer plans now condensed into just one month, I don’t expect to be putting into a ton of volume, but I will be revisiting some of my short-term goals and reporting back on my progress of making Silver Star, hopefully picking up a few tourney cashes and more.  But then again, the beautiful part about not playing poker for a living is that during these beautiful summer months, you really don’t have to play at all.  So take that. 

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