There's a saying in poker, "If you look around the table and you can't figure out who the sucker is, the sucker is you."
Well, the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker have sucked me in. I love it. I'm a bit of a gambler at heart. I'll throw down $10 to $100 or more on a friendly wager. I'm also a bit of a chess player. But poker brings them together.
Okay, I'll admit to being a sucker for the showmanship I see on TV. I love to see the strategies and the chest-puffing contests. I love the mind games. Poker would just be Parchesi in another form if not for the mental game behing the game of No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em. But I love to just play.
So I've started to play online. But not for money. Are you crazy? And maybe that's what will keep me from ever being a real "Poker Player," so to speak. As a gambler, I have to have limits. Period. When I make a wager, that's it, the wager is in, and it's either win or lose. There's no cashier around to give me another bankroll to lose. If I'm going to gamble anywhere, I set a limit of what I will spend on my "entertainment," and then I go home.
You won't ever find me anywhere near a "cash game." You won't find me betting the mortgage or grocery money. Nothing's worth that headache, and I'm kinda fond of my kids and my wife. Especially my wife.
When I play live, which I plan to do later next year when I get a little better handle on odds, pot odds, outs, and tells, it will be a tournament format. You head into the card club, sign up, pay your $20 to $220 (or more, though not for me) get your chips, and go to your assigned seat. You might get one rebuy (provided you included that in your budget) if you bust out by going all-in with a pair of 8's on the first hand, or something stupid, but soon the rebuy period is over and you just play as long as you can with the chips in front of you. Whoever plays the longest wins, and usually a percentage of the entrants gets a payout for placing high. The point is, in a tournament, you can't bet the grocery money, then the car payment, then the mortgage, because you just buy in, you play, and you go home when you're out or when they've paid you your prize money.
That's the way I like it. Perhaps I'm gutless. That's okay. If I only get fun out of poker, then at least it was fun.