Another lesson from Dad

A lot of people probably remember seeing my Dad on ESPN's coverage of the 2003 WSOP and so know that we're pretty tight. People ask me about him all the time, thanks to those shows. Unfortunately he's been dealing with some health issues for the last three years or so now. He's got pulmonary fibrosis and hasn't been doing so well lately.

He's in line for a lung transplant, and in fact in order to qualify for it he had to lose 160 lbs. which he was able to do. But then he had to get some stints put in, and so that presented another hurdle getting in the way of him qualifying for the transplant. He'll be going to Duke University Hospital and will be getting back on the list for the transplant, but we're back to waiting again for that to happen.

I just got the news regarding the stints while at the PCA, which really put into perspective what is most important -- something that's easy to lose track of sometimes when playing poker nonstop.

I ended up only playing one side event at the PCA this time in addition to the Main, opting instead to hang out at the water parks with friends. I went to the PokerStars party this time, too, and stayed the whole time. I guess I was just trying to enjoy life a little bit more this time around instead of grinding the whole time. It's important to give yourself breaks and chances to enjoy other endeavors -- and to enjoy to company of friends and family, too.

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At the PCA I was hanging out with a friend who is a full-time online player. At one point we realized how he knew all of the other online guys whom I didn't know, and I knew all of the pros who play more live on the circuit whom he didn't know. It kind of proved how easy it is to get locked into your own small world sometimes while playing.

To be a great poker player in today's game, you obviously have to dedicate time to it. But ultimately it's not great to do nothing but play poker 24-7. I was talking to another 23-year-old grinder at the PCA and tried to give him a little bit of "life advice" about making sure to have other things in your life besides poker, especially if you plan to play it for a long time. Poker is a great game and I wholly advocate playing it to anyone, but you have to have other things, too, to keep some sort of balance.

So I'm back home now and trying to spend more time with family, to play a little more golf, and just to do what I can to live a complete, happy life. The next four weeks I'm going to be staying close to home, taking just a few trips to Tunica for a few series but also spending time with the people who are most important to me -- both to recharge the batteries, but also to help put things into perspective a bit, too.

And it will be good to be nearby as well as my Dad goes through this next challenge. I wish he could travel with me now -- that was always nice when he did -- but the health issues have prevented that lately. I'm hopeful he'll get the transplant and be better able to enjoy life, too.

Chris Moneymaker is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

Chris Moneymaker
@PokerStars in Chris Moneymaker