Supernova Elite… So now what?

At about 9:53pm PST on 12/30/12 I reached my goal of Supernova Elite on PokerStars. It was pretty anticlimactic; I had about 23 hours to spare, and since I use Table Ninja to auto-close popups, I just glanced over at the lobby and saw that my status-bar had ticked over from red to black. I remember my first thought clearly “I’m done. Now what?”

I had envisioned pushing away from my computer in a blaze of glory, pouring shots, calling up my friends to find out where we were partying that night, getting ready to celebrate. Sadly, that’s not exactly how it happened. Apparently the world somehow doesn’t revolve around me, and Sunday night before NYE isn’t exactly a great night to party, especially if it’s the first night you’ve called up friends for a night out in months. I had one table left on my screen and I drastically needed something to do when it finished.

eliteavatarAs I sat there clicking through seemingly the longest Heads Up match with a fish in $500 6max SNG history I was trying to figure out my night with not much luck. I went into settings and flicked on “display my VIP stars” and boom, the 6 black stars I’d worked so hard for appeared across my little DrunkLife avatar, a sight I probably pictured for the first time while one-tabling a $5 reg-speed 9man back in 2008. I hoped this would make me feel some overwhelming sense of satisfaction, like my life would just immediately become a joy to breathe, no such luck.

I noticed that the fish was sitting alone in the lobby for another $500. I clicked through the lobby a bit more and saw that the games were pretty soft overall. Do I really keep playing? I’ve been completely focused on playing poker and reaching this goal for the past 6 months, and here I am, about 3 minutes removed from hitting my goal and I’m thinking about… playing more sitngoes? Really? I sat there paying more attention to the lobby than the game in progress, hoping the fish would unregister so my decision would evaporate. He did he not oblige me, and he managed to win our match in progress… sigh. Somehow I decided to win his money another day, and I removed myself from my desk. I didn’t want to live with the knowledge that after getting elite for the first year, I celebrated by playing more just b/c the games were decent.

Instead, I walked into my room and flopped face-down on my bed and just lay there for a good 10 minutes. It’s as if I was hoping that the stress I’d been under the past year would take this as a que to leave my body. I wanted to feel this huge weight being lifted, I wanted to feel the end of anxiety, of stress, of pressure. More than anything, I just wanted to feel something. I was ok with the fact that I wouldn’t be partying it up in some epic bottle popping celebration. I more just wanted someone to go eat a late dinner with and have a couple beers. I wanted to feel like I had a life waiting for me after this extended and dedicated poker venture. I quickly realized that after you neglect every aspect of your life except work for the better part of a year, it turns out that when you reach your goal, that’s when the real work begins.

The real work I’m referring to is finding a balance in life. It’s something I’ve always wanted and never had. Typically, I find success as a result of great sacrifice, but depending on how much you have to sacrifice, it might not be a good trade. I think that’s a problem a lot of people forget to consider. What’s it all for? I’m well aware that money doesn’t bring happiness, although I do believe that a lack of funds can certainly lead to stress and unhappiness. When you’re broke, especially if you’re a poker player or entrepreneur of some sort, you need to fix that. Your whole career is about making money, so when you’re failing at that it feels like you’re failing in life. What happens is when you sort that issue out to your satisfaction, you start to look at the rest of you life and realize it’s likely fallen out of wack while your attention was turned elsewhere. Fixing your finances is relatively straightforward when it’s all you have to focus on, and your career boils down to an expertise in making money. Fixing the rest of your life, that’s another story.

I think there are 4 main components to health and well-being: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. My main goal for 2013 is to be mindful and nurturing of all these aspects, while at the same time keeping up a solid work ethic and keeping my poker career moving in an upward direction. I want to get it together and keep it together. I intend to be a complete person, living in alignment with my own values and following the path that I envision for myself. I think it is important to remember that just because you’re not in school, it doesn’t mean you should stop receiving an education. Become your own teacher and make an effort to learn and grow in all aspects of your life. BE CURIOUS. There is an abundance of information out there, and the more you learn, the more you’ll realize you don’t know.

Reaching Supernova Elite reminded me of one of life’s most ancient lessons. It’s the journey that matters, because destinations are an illusion. No sooner did I get Elite for 2012 than 2013 started and it’s another year of goals to reach and leaderboards to climb. During the grind to elite I grew leaps and bounds in my work ethic, my strategy, my confidence, and my bankroll. It doesn’t really matter how I felt when I “got done” b/c I’m not done. It’s not about being done. It’s about the growth that happens when focus and determination collide. I want to apply that positive energy not only to poker, but to all aspects of my life. I want to be elite in life. I can say these are my “goals for 2013” and maybe when the clock strikes 12 at this time next year I’ll be sitting here saying I don’t feel any great sense of joy and wonder, but it’ll be an evolved version of myself doing that thinking.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite uplifting songs that I feel has been part of the soundtrack to my journey from Black Friday refugee to Supernova Elite.

Best wishes to everyone in 2013 and thanks for all the support. I’ll try to update again soon with some of the concrete things I’m doing to balance out my life next year. First I have to figure them out šŸ˜‰


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