Two hours into the satellite Scoop, for which I am very grateful to PSO for providing tickets, I was ahead at my table with 20,000 chips. Within 15 minutes, I was gone, no chips. The key here is to learn from what happened.

I debated prior to the tournament as to whether I would even play. I was struggling with 'mother guiilt'. Both my kids woke up feeling awful. I am at the end of a miserable flu and they are at the start of it with muscle aches, low grade fevers, sore throats--you know that misery. Now if I played the tournament, who would make them tea, hug them? .My partner, encouraging me to play the tournament, made the tea, he went to the grocery store to get the list the kids made. Ok,why all this info?  One's mental state  prior--and of course during--to any competitive endeavour  is crucial. I see it with any potentially stressful situation. A doctor comes in for his shift in emergency. Having been out late with the guys, maybe having one too many, he would rather be in bed than seeing patients. His focus is compromised. He calls me, a psychiatrist, to see a teenager who has had headaches for the last week. It must be stress this doctor assumes, but I find out no scan has been taken and sure enough he has an aneurysm at the base of the brain and needs surgery now.

My mental state seems to even off as I make my first bet which garners me $1900, ,putting me in the lead early on. Note my obsession about being in the lead at my table. We all add-on and the table evolves as different  players sit, now almost all with 8000+ . No problem I have 11,000 chips. But the game is radically different with opening bets made with 87s, opening bets of 3000, shoving abounding. Initially I keep my pace, passing often, no A6o bets. I watch the stacks with two opponents close to 25,000. I semi-bluff 2-3 times and each works as no-one expects that female who has been passing often to not have her bets. From there I think I have them and twice I call a substantial 'all-in'. It works the first time as I pull a straight against AA. It was a totally undisciplined call but a lucky one. From there I really begin to tilt.

My fantasy is at hand. I will surprise all of PSO, me, a beginner, will make it to the final table where I may even win. I lose sight of each hand I pick up. Fantasy is far more exciting than discipline .Eventually I go all-in and I go out.

For me, poker is as much about competency  as it is about psychology. And in analyzing what went wrong, I am very grateful to our wonderful PSO as that $27 ticket taught me every penny's worth.