My passion for gaming
Many poker players would answer "competition" when asked about what motivates them most in poker. If I was asked, I would answer it's the game itself - or rather my passion for gaming.
I have been playing cards since I was seventeen and there have been no other worlds in my life I immersed myself as deeply in as I did with Magic: The Gathering and poker. Back in the day, I would play Magic for several days straight, spend my entire weekends travelling around the tournament circuit, prepare new strategies and wrap my head completely around this game. Those were always the best of times when I felt at ease and peace with my mind. I was doing something that I loved and that challenged me time and time again. It's the same with poker now. I have grown to love this game even more than Magic and strived to make it a central part of my life ever since.
I recall the times during my math studies at university when I struggled hard with thoughts about my potential future. I was interested in math, yes, but was it enough to pursue a profession with all my heart? I kept trying to imagine myself in 5-10 years time and I just couldn't see myself all suited up in the business world. As a Magic player I had always been dreaming of being able to make a living on cards. The prize money and my success rates at the bigger tournaments were never big enough to accomplish that, but once I had made the transition to poker that dream was suddenly alive and vivid as never before.
Many poker players will name a tourney win or deep run when asked about their biggest accomplishments in poker. If I had been asked a few months ago I would have answered "finding the courage and means to turn my hobby into a profession." As I have always been a cash game player I never really gave tournament poker a chance, so I can't put any big successes to my name in that respect.
To me it has always been more of a constant success feeling being able to do what I love for a living. There were doubts coming from family, friends, peers, even from within myself, and there were hard times in poker, but there were never any thoughts of giving up. I found joy and fulfilment not only in playing poker but most prominently in teaching, writing and filming poker content as a private coach and trainer for IntelliPoker and PokerSchoolOnline. Since playing poker is pretty much a solo sport that requires a strong psychological stamina at times it's a great feeling to be able to share views or aspects about the game with an entire community of like-minded people.
Being a Team Online member means so much to me. It makes me feel honoured to be up there with great, inspiring poker players and proud because it reflects all the effort and passion that I put into my job over the course of years. If I was asked that same question about my biggest accomplishment, now I could answer by turning the abstract blabber above into "becoming a member of PokerStars' Team Online."