I was excited to blog about my first year playing poker as a member of PSO. I thought about what I did not know a year ago, in what ways and why I feel somewhat more confident now. But then I lost my Muse as the world collectively mourns the death of Nelson Mandela. I feel profoundly sad but like so many, I celebrate his life accomplishments.    

It is said that poker is a metaphor for life: We are all dealt different hands, but it’s how we play them that counts. Was Mandela bitter about losing 27 years of his life with family and friends? Naturally, but he was wise enough to know that acrimony can spread like wildfire, through rapid osmosis and the outcome would be an ugly war between the apartheid government and the African National Congress (AFC).  By way of example, Mandela visited the wife of the very man who prosecuted him when the latter passed away,  ensured his prison guards sat in the front row of his inauguration as President of the first multiracial government in South Africa and, importantly, he also invited leaders of the former apartheid government to join his Cabinet.

Such makes me wonder how much patience, kindness, and compassion live within each of us at PSO. I make no personal judgments; I only ask questions.  Does the hand dealt to each of us choose to ignore only that which is in one’s sphere, as though living in a cocoon where only the outcome of what happens on the felts touches us? I choose to believe otherwise.

I need acceptance in order to attain my goals for 2014. Currently, I push myself in spite of times when I am unwell. I feel guilty when I miss a Live Training; don’t partake in Leagues, in all the special events offered by PSO and PokerStars; when I don’t go through each Poker Bite, by way of example; when I set my goal to play five to six 10NL Zoom sessions per week and won’t stop until I am plus per session; when I must at least maintan my Silver status, and the list continues. This is my ego undermining self-compassion and is antithetical to what Mandela taught throughout.

I set my goals globally today until I can patiently go through specifics and firstly is not to lose money for plays which I know better than to make!  And this happens far more frequently when I am feeling pain, fatigue, lack of good nutrition and stress for whatever reasons. Such unnecessary mistakes are also due to my need to plan ahead so as to get three streets out of premium hands and to do so, analyze whether my hand remains strongest or otherwise. This means I must slow down so as to be more analytical in reading opponent(s) betting and the flop.

Just as Mandela would meet with his fellow anti-apartheid prisoners and exhaust a range of topics, so may we at PSO continue to enjoy the freedom of learning this game we love with gratitude to all PSO Team and fellow and sister members, Dave 'TheLangolier', my amazing private teacher, Chris, Gareth, Felix and to Paul 'royalraise85' who patiently answers my multitude of cries for help!

A Silent Video:

[youtube link=http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_2427545533&feature= iv&src_vid=5ij6nVui0vo&v=3ixORnLl3R4]

Happy, healthy, safe holidays to all!