I have just returned from an unforgettable three-week vacation on the US West Coast. You can read all about it and see a lot of pictures from that road trip in my blog at PokerSchoolOnline. The timing for such a trip couldn't have been any better as I had just recently gone on a larger than usual downswing at NL$200 6-Max Zoom and I was happy to have an opportunity to get my mind off online poker for a couple of weeks.
While staying at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Vegas for a couple of days the wife and I went to see Mystére. It was an awesome Cirque du Soleil show with a creative storyline, inspiring costumes and great artists. I highly recommend seeing it, even if you are not that much into Vegas shows like me. I'm happy to have the experience. Without trying to spoil anything for you if you haven't seen the show, they had a gig where a group of artists did some great moves with swings on a trapezium. The trapezium had a safety net underneath which might take away thrill to some of the audience of course, but it didn't do any harm to the overall performance.
However, while watching those artists perform with their little insurance policy I suddenly had some sort of enlightenment that relates to poker. I couldn't help thinking, "Those guys would be forced to give their best, heck to perform for their lives, if it weren't for the net," and that thought turned into, "Maybe I could force myself to give a much better poker performance by taking away my personal safety net sometimes!" I have always been a huge bankroll nit striving to amass stack after stack at the levels I was beating before moving up, being reluctant with shots at higher stakes, even looking for excuses not to do so. It's kind of a bad habit for a professional poker player that I have grown over the years to look at my bankroll as an asset that already belonged to me and could not be taken away much rather than just a tool with which to work. I had stopped taking calculated risks that could help me to climb to new heights.
So it was during Mystére that I consciously made a poker decision. I planned to set aside $3,000 from my bankroll and was determined to take a shot at the Bellagio $5/$10 games with that money. No safety nets, no double bottom - just making a little calculated risk by investing three stacks to put myself into a position that could push the boundaries of my pokermind and help me develop into a stronger, better, and more confident poker player.The next day I lived up to my own word. I sat down, played my game and booked a nice profit:
Now I can't wait to get back to Vegas and jump right into one of the Bellagio's $5/$10 games. Until then I will carry my newly inspired mindset over to online poker, pull away from my usual safety net and take some calculated shots at the Zoom NL$500 games.
Felix "xflixx" Schneiders is a member of Team PokerStars Online.