Felix Schneiders on a well earned vacation, and Vegas
I recently posted a short blog post about how poker keeps my inner child alive. Now that I am coming back home after three weeks on a U.S. West coast/Vegas vacation, without playing more than a combined four hours of live poker, I feel like I should follow up on that post.
Back then I was talking about how I wake up every morning looking forward to getting involved with poker, either by playing, coaching or making videos. That's a good thing of course, but that "good thing" has also become my job now, and taking breaks from your job is important for your physical and specifically for your mental health. From time to time the brain needs different input as well as just those of your job - even if you love it like I do. Here's an something from our visit to the Grand Canyon that may nicely illustrate this:
I have never before seen anything like it!
Check out the playlist "Travelling it UP!" on my YouTube channel for more videos like that.
I tried to enjoy every moment we spent in all the different places to the fullest, and I feel like it was worthwhile even though my mind was on poker stuff at least some of the time. But there was one point where I actually failed at keeping my mind focused, and ironically that was during the time we stayed in my favorite city - Las Vegas.
Instead of visiting the city much more as a tourist like my wife, brother and sister-in-law did, I couldn't help myself, and unleashed the poker player in me. The temptation of hitting the tables was just too big after a day of sightseeing and dinner. By then everyone else got tired. The only problem was that I was tired too and I didn't have much time to play a full session either.
At that point I could best describe myself as a professional poker player with the mindset and constitution of a tourist. The right thing to do would probably be to play some form of poker that I could enjoy as a recreational player rather than something I did for a living - like play a small buy-in tournament for example. Instead I did what I always do: snatched 500 bucks from my pocket and get those five red chip towers rolling on the felt.
They lasted only a couple of hours because I pulled a play--which you can watch replayed here-- that I would most likely not have done had I approached the situation professionally--by not playing any poker at all and enjoying being on vacation instead!
The mistakes I made in this hand are very obvious and transparent: First of all, I unnecessarily bloated a pot against a recreational player on a board where he probably isn't going to fold much. Then, I proceeded to make a very close and speculative call against his strong turn raise. But I followed up with an even bigger mistake - bluffing the river against someone who hates folding. It's a spot that I would play entirely differently as a professional poker player, but instead I turned into a tourist and gambled it up.
While the villain deliberated between calling and folding, getting my hopes up a tiny bit, he started mumbling and cursing the river Queen, which got my hopes up for a second. After a minute he called saying "I guess you got it, but I can't fold this!". I sheepishly mucked my hand, knocked the felt and said "good call!", which was the only professional thing I did during the hand.
After leaving Vegas for the Grand Canyon I made a silent promise to myself: Make sure that I have a clear concept in mind of what I expect from a trip to Vegas. Anything in between playing professionally or for fun will neither be fun nor profitable in the end.
So that left me more than pumped to be going back to Vegas ahead of the Main Event. At least then I was able to give poker the best of my professional player side.
Felix "xflixx" Schneiders is a member of PokerStars Team Online.