5 Ways Poker Is Like Blogging

Many of you know that I love playing poker. I’ve talked about it a few times here. I talked about it when I was in Reno last year around this time. I talked about it when I talked about the psychology of gambling. I talked about it when I wrote about my first big poker tournament this summer. And I talked about it when I talked about joining the affiliate program for Pokerstars.

I think about poker often. I don’t go to the casino as often as I have in the past, mainly because my income is a little lower than it was, so I have to pick and choose when I can go. I’ve also learned a couple of things about my game, which is odd and strange, and in a way, can relate to blogging. I’d like to share 5 things that seem to tie poker and blogging together, at least for me.

1. When I’m tired, I don’t play poker or blog all that well. I think that when I blog when I’m very tired, my articles aren’t all that good. Some might think they are, but I don’t feel much for them. Only when I’m tired does blogging feel like a chore. The same actually goes for poker. When I’m tired I really don’t want to be there, but sometimes I stay because it’s late in the evening and I also don’t feel like having to get up from the table if I don’t have to. I lose money when I play tired, and I’ve often wondered if I lose readers when I blog tired.

2. I actually have times when I blog and play poker very well. Most of you know that, unless I’m doing a research post, I write my blog posts fairly quickly. My mind is clear in what I want to say, and I can produce some pretty good posts, if I say so myself. The same goes for poker. Oddly enough, if I tell myself that I’m going to the casino during the day and I’m only staying 3 hours, I almost always come home ahead. There’s something about being focused on a goal that works really well, no matter what it is. The same also goes for chess, which Sire and I play through email. When I’m focused, I see the board 5 moves ahead in my mind and I play very well; I just need to write down those moves when I’m in the zone. 🙂

3. I love poker and blogging because of the camaraderie. When I play poker, I’m not only there to try to win. I love talking to people, and many times, I’m sitting at a table with all new people, which seems strange for as many times as I’ve gone over the years. Every table has a different vibe, but there’s always someone who wants to talk. and when I do get to play with people I know, it enhances the day even more. Knowing the dealers brings at least some stability to the process.

When I blog, I know most of the people who are coming to make a comment. When new people come, I know it’s a new opportunity to make a connection with a new friend. Every post brings a new perspective from someone, whether I know them or not. I have a great time with it, and it’s one of the reasons why I love blogging.

4. I understand poker, and I also understand blogging very well. I may not always make money when I play poker, but I really understand all the nuances of the game. I know when to bluff and I know when to go all in. I know how to stick around and wait for a good hand. I know how to pace myself based on the time limit I’ve set for myself. And I know when I’ve devoted too much time to it, even if I don’t always listen to myself.

The same goes for blogging. I really do understand blogging a lot. I know how to craft posts. I actually do know the process for putting together posts that have a lot of keywords and linkbait associated with them; I just choose not to do it. I could blog all day; I write for other people’s blogs here and there, and if my entire life was just writing blogs and I could make a full time living from it, life would be sweet. I like to think I know how to engage people. Sure, I might not make a lot of money at it, at least right now, which is like not winning all the time at poker, but I know some things, and I’m going to hopefully apply many of them over this next year.

5. I have fun playing poker, just like I have fun blogging. Fun is what it’s all about after all. Poker is my favorite offline activity; blogging is my favorite online activity. With each, I meet new people all the time that are engaging. I get to hear and read other people’s stories and words. I get to participate in the process. I sometimes make money, which is never a bad thing. If I didn’t have both poker and blogging, I don’t know that my life would have much enjoyment in it. Well, okay, my wife and I have a lot of fun, but you know what I mean. 🙂

Both of these things really are passions of mine. I don’t have a lot of passions, but these two are enough for me. What are your passions, things that you enjoy, that you know very well, that you could probably do better at but don’t because that’s not the most important thing to you? And, do you really enjoy blogging as much as I do? I’d love to hear about it.

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PokerStars

They say one should attempt to market only things they’re really familiar with. Well, I don’t quite fall into that belief, but I can honestly say that this is one site that I actually do participate with.

PokerStars

I think I’ve been on PokerStars at least 4 years now, possibly five. I believe I signed on in 2004, as it was one of the first poker websites out there that I’d ever heard of. Two of their celebrity representatives at time had won the World Series of Poker championships in consecutive years, Chris Moneymaker and then Greg Raymer, and in 2005, another one of their representatives, Joe Hachem, won it all. These guys won entry into the tournament by winning one of PokerStars online tournaments; imagine, winning an entry into a $10,000 poker tournament by playing the game online.

I love this site, although I’ll admit I’m not always happy with how the game goes when I’m playing it. Let’s take these in order.

The site is easy to sign up for. You go in and start with the demographic stuff. Then you come up with the name you want to be displayed every time you play. You can also select an image, but think carefully about this one because you might never be able to change it again. It’s probably best not to select in image immediately; you can always go back later to do it.

Once you’ve created your account, you get a window that looks something like this:

As you can see, there are multiple choices of games, including types of games, dollar amount of games, free games, number of players you want to go against, etc. Some are mini-tournaments, both free and some you’d have to pay for. There’s literally hundreds of different types of games you can play. There are also some free tournaments you can get into where, if you can place high enough, you have a shot at winning real money. And, if you choose, you can alter the look of the game board you’re playing on, so instead of seeing this:

You can see something like this:

The main thing I want to convey here is that you don’t have to pay to play if you don’t want to. However, if you do, there’s a minimum deposit of $10, but the site often has bonus money they’ll pony up if you decide to buy into the site whenever they’re running a promotion. These are the ways you can pay:

• Moneybookers
• NETeller
• VISA / VISA Delta / VISA Electron / Gift and Prepaid VISA†
• MasterCard / Gift and Prepaid†
• Diners Club International
• Solo / Maestro
• Cashier’s Check / Money Order / Bank Draft – minimum deposit $100
• Local Bank Transfer
• ELV
• Online Bank (selected countries)
• paysafecard
• eChecks

Truthfully, I have never paid for it. Actually, we’re not supposed to be able to play online poker, the paid version, from the United States, but obviously some of these ways are used anyhow. And there’s a group calling itself the Poker Players Alliance, who have helping to lead the charge former NY senator Alfonse D’Amato and a host of other celebrities and former politicians, and there’s a very strong possibility that ordinance will be overturned. It needs to be, since it was sneaked into an act that was passed to protect the waterfront borders of the United States; that’s just sneaky politics, as those trying to regulate online poker beforehand kept getting rejected.

And, depending on the level your stomach can handle there are games that start at a penny, all the way up to buy-in games around $8,000; ouch! But in games where you pay some money, every once in awhile you encounter a professional player; there are even special events where that player is announced to be a part of it. So, if you like poker and know some of the names, you can take your shot against a pro.

As I said, I love this site and this game. So, what’s the problem? Understanding that, with an online site there are lots and lots of games going on, way more than at a casino, you sometimes see some things going on that your mind says “that’s not supposed to happen this often.” There’s a ton of what’s known as “bad beats,” which are hands that lose when they were way ahead because some final cards hit that just seemed to come out of nowhere. I’ve experienced quite a few of those over the years, and sometimes it’s frustrating. The balance, though, is that it also happens in your favor, and it doesn’t seem as prevalent once you change games.

And there are a bunch of different games: Texas Holdem, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Hi- Lo, Five Card Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw, Razz, HORSE, HOSE. Those last two are kind of tournament styles where different types of games are alternated while playing, which really tests your overall poker acumen.

And PokerStars has an affiliate program, and I’m now a new affiliate. If you don’t belong and love to play poker, check it out, whether you want to play the free game or get your money into the mix. You won’t even have to tell them that Mitch sent you; they’ll already know. 🙂

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