The world constantly changes around us. Sometimes for the worse, other times for the better. Personally, I have been extremely lucky in the past two years with the occurrence of a few positive life-changing events. My wife and I have welcomed the birth of two children, Ryder and Maya, into this world. They are the closest thing to a miracle, short of a sea parting in front of our eyes.
My professional poker career has spanned nearly 9 years. The majority of that time saw me without children. I played whatever hours I wanted and was never much concerned with the daily variance that you inevitably experience at the poker table. Of course, this changed with the birth of my two little miracles.
As a professional poker-playing father, I have found a few challenges that were not present in my life beforehand. It is hard to get in as many hours as before, since I cannot stand to be away from my newly expanded family for more than two seconds. Indeed, this can present quite a dilemma when your bottom line is dictated by the amount of quality hours that you play. From a practical standpoint, it has also been difficult to travel to out-of-town poker rooms, as well as play in tournaments. Both of these require large amounts of time that I simply do not currently possess.
However, being a father and professional poker player does have its benefits too. The flexibility that this job provides enables me to not miss the ‘big moments’ with my children that I would do anything to be present for. Additionally, the high dollar per hour that professional poker yields can provide a good financial security blanket that all fathers should seek for their loved ones.
Given this new reality, it is imperative for the professional poker-playing father to do certain things differently or better than before. These include maximizing the time that you spend in a poker room, avoiding waiting times on lists and shortening breaks between sessions. This of course must be done without losing the attention to detail regarding optimal table and seat selection. Holes in your game must now be promptly filled as they are now holes for two (or more). This enhanced analytic approach must be coupled with a fresh drive to educate yourself on the science of the game as much as possible. After all, you are improving your game for more than just yourself. Patience is as important now as it has ever been, although I find this not to be much of an issue. Raising a two-year-old boy means I am now quite comfortable with not getting my way and being around people who are throwing tantrums.
Being a good father means being a good man, both professionally and personally. Professionally, this demands more work and introspection on your game. Changes on a personal level might entail playing at a poker room closer to home and working hours that compliment your family’s schedule.
Enjoy your family as much as you can, and realize that not everyone is lucky enough to be able to enjoy their family like the professional poker-playing father.
November 2, 2015