As a teenager and a young adult, I used to do allot of programming: Games, Puzzles, Utilities, Editors and others. I started on the Sinclair Spectrum, followed by Apple IIc, Amiga, Dos and Windows. I even had a stint at trying something for the PALM III handheld.

It was a good hobby – It had a smart look to it, and if the finished products were any good – you had the admiration and respect of your friends. When the internet arrived and my programs went global – there were even bigger ego points to be gained: emails congratulating you for a nice piece of code, shareware companies asking if they can offer your latest board game as shareware – I even edited a small “on-disk” magazine for the AMOS language on AMIGA that had good reviews from readers and users.

I thought it will be great if my hobby will also be my job. Can you imagine a better future then doing the things you love and making money from it as well? I was on to a winner… or at least this was what I thought. Many years later, and I know I was very wrong.

For one thing, coding for a living is not the same as coding as a hobby. You code other people ideas and inspirations, and many of those are not interesting for you at all. Even if you do find yourself in a project you like, you are not the one that gets the credit or the accolades. A good manager will make sure he tells you are worth your weight in gold and be busy showering you with compliments whenever he has the time, but it’s the users whose hand claps you really want to hear – the appreciation of the person who loves using the product – and in most cases you don’t.

It also kills things as a hobby. After coding all day – it’s not what you keen to do at home, and when you have family and kids, hobbies gets pushed to the corner. With some luck you might get 90 minutes of hobby time in a day, but usually you get less or none at all.

When your hobby becomes your job – it becomes your job. It’s no longer a hobby. You can say you enjoy your job – but as much as you might enjoy it – you don’t LOVE it like when it was your hobby… At least – this is my experience and what I gather from my friends.

Which brings me to the point of this blog: I just can’t see how people that play poker for living - enjoy it as much. It’s one thing playing a few over coffee knowing that the outcome is not going to make a difference. It’s totally different when you have to grind because your average ROI means 60 hours of poker a week to grind out a wage.

This year I have made a few hundred bucks from poker playing 45-man micro levels which are perfect for my 90-minutes a day hobby time, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a drop in the ocean. Its pocket money compare to what I make in my “no longer a hobby” day job. Yet even doing this limited grinding, 1.5K games a year, I still find boredom and disinterest creeping in sometimes. Can’t even imagine how players who play 100 games a day manage to keep their sharpness up. Can you?

It’s might be that site operators, Pokestars included – got some of the solution right. So called Promotions encourage player to plays because they set you competitive targets to meet. Unfortunately, in many cases, those promotions are only of interest for a very small part of the site population. I could not give a toss about a live tournament package in Morocco because even if I won it, I would not be able to go. I like the stellar stars awards and the cash payout you can get at the store better as they are kind of a generic challenge that is of interest for everyone – cash always is….. The reload bonus promotions are also good for challenging a player to play more – they set an achievable target that a player can work toward.

Still – with lack of site promotions – one can always set his own challenges! So from this month onward, I’m going to set myself some challenges. They can be daily ones, or monthly, or yearly and they need to be achievable but not too easy. They need to be interesting but not over the top. They need to be unique – which might be a real issue, because how many original ideas can one person come up with?

Setting yourself challenges is not something new – there are many players who do this. Many Blogs introduce individual’s challenges and tell you in minute details of the successes and failures. I might look those up – but I also want to give you the reader a few of my own ideas. My own version of “Boredom Busters” – for those amazing grinders who set challenges 12 times a year and twice on Christmas – I hope those will get you through the next six month – at least.

This is also what the title “Playing a BB” means. It’s “Playing A Boredom Buster!” – my own version of unique challenges. You thought it has something to do with the Big Blind (BB)? How silly…


Boredom Buster #1 - Playing a whole month without complaining or using bad language

Some example include: “How can someone be so lucky?”, “Would this site give me a break once? Only ONCE for heaven sake!”, “WTF?!?!”, “Where did this midget came from?”, “Who the hell taught you to play the game? You knocked me out because you are luckier then a Leprechaun, not because you actually know what you are doing.”


Boredom Buster #2 - Finishing in the money while taking a bath

We’ve all seen the TV commercial where a famous tennis player is sitting in a tub and losses a poker hand to a woman playing in a library. Of course, this is not a fair game as the tennis player is in a massive disadvantage. For one, playing in a bath is a hazard to your tablet. You need to sit very still and uncomfortable to avoid any splashes. Also, most SNG’s take at least an hour, by which time the water are cold and unpleasant and concentration levels are as low as your frozen bottom. If you don’t believe me try it for yourself.

The TV commercial in question is a real piece of classic as it introduces not one – but two challenges! Playing poker in the library is not easy either! I tried it myself; I was shouting at the computer so much that I was expelled out of the library within 10 minutes, failing not only this boredom buster – and also “Boredom Buster #1” above (no complaining).


Boredom Buster #3 - Finish in the money while running

Another one I tried myself - trying to play fifty/50 on my mobile while going for a run outside. As a tag player, I did not get involved too much in the first few levels and managed a comfortable 8-minutes mile. However, at later stages I had to slow down or stop altogether to make sure my fingertips click on the correct tiny button on the screen, dropping to an embarrassing 12-minutes mile at best. I also bumped into one lamp post and three trees. It was painful.

The last mile includes a significant hill. In my opinion it’s a mountain but then again, I live in England. I had a Swiss friend running with me one day and he considered it a “gentle incline”, so I’m just taking the middle ground here and calling it a hill. Reception was great on the way up, but was gone completely at the very top of the mountain… sorry, hill. By the time I got it back, I was out on the bubble and the game was over. I failed this and “Boredom Buster #1” at the same time… again.


Boredom Buster #4 – Finish in the money while playing a First Person Shooter

On the selves on in my study there are numerous games I bought in the last decade and more, alluding myself to believe that I will have time to play them. First Person Shooters, Role playing games, Action Adventures… Between family, running and poker, gaming almost never happens – so I stopped spending money on them. The newest game I got is probably a good five years old. From time to time I do tear open one of those crispy cellophane packages and play the game 30 minutes at a session. At this rate those games on the selves will probably last a good decade more… Recently I completed Dead Man’s Hand – a First Person Shooter from 2004 where between levels, the player plays a poker mini game for extra health and ammunition. Nice thing about the game, and a few of it’s time, is that you can play them in a window rather then let the whole thing take over the entire screen. This means that theoretically you can play the game and some online poker at the same time. Whether you can multi-task successfully and finish ITM while taking down the bad ass boss is a completely different question.

Did I play a first person shooter and online poker at the same time? Of course not. What a ridicules idea.


Boredom Buster #5 – Finish in the money while singing ABBA songs

Note the challenge is not “listening to ABBA songs” but “singing ABBA songs”. Now, you might think that ABBA songs are totally incompatible with poker. The problem is exactly the opposite – they are TOO compatible. You will find yourself matching songs to hole cards and flops and totally forgetting you are also supposed to play the cards. I know of players who timed out in the middle of a hand trying to match it with an ABBA song. You don’t believe me? Consider those:

“The winner takes it all” – when deciding to call ALL-IN four way.
“Dancing Queen” – When your hole cards are QQ.
“S.O.S” – when your pair of kings is all in against a pair of aces.
“I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” – when someone put you all in, you hold four of kind, and he asks you if you got the guts to call in the chat box.
“Heads Over Heels” – When your hole cards are AA.
“As Good as New” – When you bust but rebuy.
“Knowing Me, Knowing you” – When you got a read on a player.
“Angel Eyes” - When Liv Boeree sits on the same table as you.
“Money, Money, Money” – Every time you are in the money.

And people think Garage and House are proper poker music. Where has this world gone wrong?!?!


Boredom Buster #6 – Finish in the money while your partner is murmuring sensual whispers in your ear.

An obvious distraction, employed by male and female partners all over the world, to get their loved one away from a poker game. Also fall into this category are the shoulder massage, back rub, and joining you in the bath when you are trying Boredom Buster #2. The chances for failing multiple Boredom Busters here are considerable.


Boredom Buster #7 – Complete a few of the Boredom Busters above at the same time!

The ultimate Boredom Buster. As seen from previous descriptions - very hard to complete successfully. For example, you can try to finish in the money while making love to your partner running in the tub, and not use foul language at the same time; you can sing ABBA instead.

Don’t try to do this challenge unless you are mentally and physically ready for it. If you fail - all your friends will stop taking you seriously. But if you succeed… IT SO MUCH FUN!



That’s enough blogging for one day. I’m sure the dedicated reader can come up with a few of there own suggestions. Next for me is cold shower and finishing in the money – and all I got left to say is bye bye and have a nice, Boredom Busting day!