13/12/2007

Breaking Down the Barriers

Carl Sampson 'The Dean'

I have taken a slight leave this week from talking about the usual 6 max no limit games and for a very good reason. Last week we were all very saddened at the sudden death of perhaps the greatest poker player on the planet…..maybe even the greatest ever. The sad loss of David Reese reminded me of the fact that life is fleeting and the end can be a lot closer than we dare to imagine.

But thinking about David has reminded me that he was indirectly responsible for altering my mindset with regards gambling for higher stakes and being less fearful of losing money. In my younger days, I was fearful of many things and I think that looking back, I inherited this from my parents.

In fact the fear of losing money was so deeply ingrained in my psyche that I sought out financial backers rather than go it alone when I first played blackjack. I had known hard times and preserving money and being financially careful were second nature. These are not traits that are easy to shake off in later life even after I became financially comfortable.

But I think that losing people who have been close to you (I have lost a few recently) makes you view things in a slightly different way. What you are risking when all said and done is only money, it is not a matter of life and death. The amounts are really not that important if you can afford to lose it and that no one else’s life will be worse off for you having lost it.

But listening to a recent interview of “Chip” Reese’s clearly highlighted once again the mindset of the man. He lived for today because the number of tomorrows may not be as many as you think. I firmly believe that the correct mindset and outlook can help an individual to play and bet for stakes that they never dreamed were possible providing of course that they have the resources to be able to do it.

I also used to tilt frequently when I was younger, a sad trait that is thankfully leaving me the older I have become. I will quickly point out here that I am not advocating to everyone that they ought to go and play far higher than what they are presently playing at because they might just end up under a bus tomorrow. All I am saying is that living life for today is not a bad thing which brings me onto another point.

Ever since I have known my current partner, I have had to endure catty remarks and innuendo’s regarding my gambling activities from certain members of her family. It all comes down to their perception of me and gambling in general and I could try to explain myself to them until I was literally blue in the face and it would have no effect whatsoever on their views.

But looking at their lives and mine and I know which I would rather have. I can honestly say that there is not one single day of my life where I could say that I was bored. Yet this boredom and lack of drive and focus is something that infests the lives of many people the world over. Many people struggle to fill their time and this can lead to a feeling of a lack of fulfilment and emptiness and adventure in ones life and this can lead to depression and even suicide in extreme cases.

I know from reading interviews from David Reese that he was an individual who liked to live his life on the edge. I never met him but his philosophy has affected my life even though we were several thousand miles apart. But I wanted to make this weeks article not just a personal tribute to David Reese but to also try and highlight the different states that my mind has been in over the years with regards to risking money and to point out some of the changes that have been responsible for changing that so I have attempted to merge both of them within the same article.

Many poker players do not suffer from these self imposed psychological barriers and can play for staggering amounts of money almost without fear very early in their careers. Whether or not some of them have the skill sets to be successful in the long term is a different matter. Poker and gambling is almost like am extreme sport with the thrill and the buzz that can come from it when the person involved starts to use meaningful amounts of money.

But if you sit in a $10-$20 game of no limit and lose $2000 after previously only being a $1-$2 player then is this a bad thing? Well it could be when looked at through cold calculating monetary eyes but if the $2000 loss has absolutely no effect on your financial situation whatsoever or if the effect is minimal then what is the big deal?

I remember certain tabloids making a big issue a few years back about top premiership players losing five figure sums in private card schools run by the players themselves. This does not constitute young men having a gambling problem or it being a reflection of professional footballers. It is merely a few people getting their kicks gambling with money that they personally can afford to lose.

Maybe the sad passing of David “Chip” Reese at the all too young age of 56 is yet another reminder to us all that we should get busy living….in all aspects of our lives!

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