Time is an amazing and horrifying thing. It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly six months since the last time I’ve written to you all. It’s amazing how life just takes over, dictating your every move. I’ve been thinking about time a lot lately, and more specifically, about the time that slips away. The moments you overlooked that should have had meaning. The people that have come and gone…
I received a Christmas card the other day. It wasn’t anything special, but it made me stop. I had to read it a few times. The first time through it was easy to look past it. The second time through however, made me stop everything I was doing and enjoy the small moment. “Thank you. Thank you for being a nice guy and a good mentor.” A rush of emotion and memory rushed through me. When did I change roles in life? When did I go from being the learner to being the teacher?
Today I’d like to talk about the small things. I’d like to share the joy of helping, the joy of educating, and the joy of watching.
Over the last few years I’ve loved the camaraderie poker has allowed me to experience. I’ve gained many friends through this wonderful game. As my surroundings expanded my awareness also expanded. My education as a poker player never ends. I think it’s important to understand that. There’s always something to learn, if you allow yourself to be open to the experience.
When I started writing, I set out to help people understand poker on a different level. Never once did I promise to make you better players. No goals of making you the next millionaire. In truth, all I wanted was you to understand that you could have fun playing this game. As it turns out, I’ve created a desire to improve. I’ve created a desire to learn. I’ve created a desire to play.
Four, sometimes five days a week I sit at a poker table and I deal you cards. I watch you as you make your decisions. I’ve watched as your awareness has grown. I’m entertained when you fold your cards asking me if it was the right decision. Most of the time, you know you are correct in folding, but the reassurance is helpful. I love that you are learning. I love that you are growing. I love the frustration poker creates as you question your plays and the plays other people make.
There are a few things we use in life that are helpful in your goals to improve as a poker player. We have our awareness. Being aware of your surroundings, your situations, your peers, and addressing that awareness. Addressing it and absorbing it. We have our experiences. Using the experiences time has to offer you, and allowing it to have an effect on your decision making. Taking this awareness and this experience and turning it into knowledge to be used as a resource is a true goal. Knowledge – this is such a powerful word. We as a species are always seeking knowledge. But what is knowledge if it’s not a resource? Use the knowledge you’ve gained. Use your experiences and use your awareness. These three things define who we are and define who you are as a poker player.
I am happy that I’ve become a mentor to some, but I’m also afraid of it. Everyone has weakness in them. Have you learned what your weakness is? I know mine. I know that I can’t overcome mine. I also don’t want to. My weakness comes from a constant desire to help. My fears come from the moments when helping isn’t actually the answer. I fear that in your eagerness to learn you’ll pick up my bad habits, and then I become responsible for your failures. I deal with my fears all day every day. I know you’re watching, I know you’re learning, I know you’re absorbing. The beautiful thing in all of this is that you are all my personal mentors. I learn from all of you.
If you haven’t come to terms with who you are as a poker player, my first suggestion in your quest to be better is find yourself. Find who you are in this game. Find the things that you’re good at. Find the weaknesses. Accept them and learn from them first.