by Joseph Smith Sr.
How many times have you sat around and dreamed of winning an event at the World Series of Poker and becoming a member of the WSOP millionaire's club. Living the good life, eating steak and lobster for breakfast, driving the best German engineered ride to your spacious high rise condo overlooking your personal playground, the Las Vegas strip. Jumping on the private jet for a ride to the next big money tournament.
Rubbing elbows with the who's who of the game, meeting sports celebrities, 'A' list movie stars and having fans point and stare any time your out and about. What a life. No worries, no problems, only fun times. Fun at least until something or someone decides to rain on your dream.
It could be a drought on winning cards that rivals the drought on rain in South America's Atamaca Desert, four inches of precipitation every one thousand years. Maybe it's the often impossibly long hours you're forced to sit in one of the world's most uncomfortable chairs that has damaged your lower spine causing constant pain even when infused with heavy duty legal drugs that cloud your decisions. Or perhaps trying to find a place for your elbows without touching the rash inducing polymer cover of the poker table's rimming parapet has you frantically searching for a talented dermatologist on the eve of the 'big one'. The list of health issues goes on and on. If it can happen it will happen, no one is immune.
More likely it will be the tap, tap, tapping of the tax man come knocking on your condo door. As with all things that produce obscene piles of cash and expensive perks a certain high percentage of participants will somehow manage to hire a crook to handle their new wealth and end up not just broke but way, way into the red side. And that's when those always fun show-me-the-money tax guys show up and show you their guns and tell you they can haul you away in handcuffs for a long stay in a dormitory setting in a place called La Tuna or Lompoc or Leavenworth. All we have to do to learn first-hand about this fall into the tax abyss is just read some of the “where are they now,” articles.
Any one that has spent any time at a major poker event as a participant or just a railer knows the pitfalls following your success at the tables. We all know players that just couldn't say no to the free booze that flows freely during most events or the readily available drugs that we can now afford. Saying no to all the temptations that exist for the successful player requires the highest level of personal discipline. Even a girl or boy friend that's jealous you spend more time with poker than with them can affect the players overall mental abilities and make winning a long shot at best.
There's a great deal more to this story and we will cover some of it in future articles. We haven't even talked about the suicidal thoughts brought on by listening to hours of “bad beat” stories or the homicidal thoughts when a dead money wannabe from Desert Hole, New Mexico hits his one-outer on the river sending you to the rail while he wonders aloud how you could have even called him, much less raised all-in.
So, you want to live the dream? Are you prepared to spend most of your formerly leisure time reading poker books or discussing poker strategies with fellow players and watching many long hours of televised poker? Developing, through long hours of study, an almost magical skill for reading the most subtle of tells? Having the heart to overcome the fear of making multi-million dollar aggression plays? Being capable of instantly overcoming the total defeatist attitude from a bad beat? Can you take a pass on those detrimental temptations that will kill a career and possibly the player, too? Will you pay your fair share of taxes on time, every time? Will you continually hone your game to a razor sharp edge regardless of the time required? Will you eat, sleep, think, live and love poker?
If you answered yes to all of these questions and even some we haven't covered then maybe you're fit material to become one of the rare elite that lives the dream earned at the high-limit poker tournament tables. Modern poker tournaments are the only sporting events that allows entry to any participant with the price of a seat. I can say with certainly that none of us will ever take the field at the Super Bowl or walk onto the Master's course with a bag of clubs. They are so exclusive and limited that most of us can't even get a ticket to just watch them play. Not so with poker. Everyone can take an equal shot at living the dream.
If you answered no to any of these questions then don't quit your day job because you're probably already living your dream. Of course, you can prove me wrong, after all, this is poker and all players are welcome.