P. Poker Professional.

This is a part of the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is my Bucket List. Read more about the project here. The other things on my bucket list are Ancient RuinsBookCoffee ShopDate a SupermodelEntrepreneurship(Be a) FinisherGive Away my WealthHandle a BabyInspireJack of all tradesKeep my shirt onMake a lot of moneyNo and Off the Grid

Next is P. P for Play at a professional level. Poker. 

P is pretty simple. So simple that if I had to list just three things for my bucket list, I would have chosen B, M and P. Book, Money and Poker. In that order.

Poker for me is No limit Texas Hold Em.

Professional for me is make enough money with it that I don't need a day job. Professional also means that it becomes my day job. Like Sachin Tendulkar is a professional cricket player, Roger Federer is a professional tennis player, Amitabh Bachchan is a professional actor, Jeffery Archer is a professional writer, I want to be a professional poker player.

Like I said, Its pretty high on my bucket list. Right after book and money.

Stu Ungar - The greatest poker player IMHO
So, my first encounter with Poker happened almost ten years ago when I went on a trek and someone taught me the game there. I dismissed it as too mathematical and complex at that point and moved on. And then I played it off and on when I went to Goa (the only state in India where gambling is legal).

However in last three or four years I started to think more about it. I started to go to home games and played with a lot of friends and strangers. I made some money. I lost more than I made. I read whatever material I could find and I could comprehend very little. But I realized that I loved the feeling of sitting on a table and making decisions that can change fortunes at the drop of a card. True with all forms of gambling. But with poker, it has been proved beyond doubt that its a game of skill (whereas all other forms of gambling are more dependent on chance). And unlike other sports or games, poker requires you to have like a million weapons in your arsenal. You need to know maths, psychology, probability, opponents and so on and so forth. Challenging. Aint it?

When I took the break to work on the book, I had some free time on my hands. I used that time to get regular with poker. I now play once every week. If not that, twice every month for sure. I know its tiny if I am to get serious about poker but its a start. Its my honeymoon period. Life looks rosy on the other side. I just need to do the grind and get there. But, I have started keeping scores and I have started to treat it like a serious sport than a mere form of recreation. Hopefully one of these days, things fall in place and I get the practice going. And then who knows what.

Thing with poker is, if you are good with it, it opens so many doors that are otherwise closed to you. You get to travel. Get to make money. Get to make or lose a fortune in a hand. There is this element of luck. There is risk and there are rewards. There is rush. There is the element of capability. There is psychology. There is science and there is art. There is people-watching. There is trash-talk. There is competition. There is individual confrontations and there are skirmishes. Its something that I can work on and improve. This is a skill that I can develop. Its independent of age (unlike tennis, swimming, cricket). Its an individual sport. There is that element of unknown. The thing that makes it exciting and addictive. Its everything that an adrenaline addict may want in life.

Oh... I can talk about it forever. Its beautiful. Its frustrating. Its liberating. Its exhilarating. It takes time to master. And even when you've mastered it, you can never tame it. Its like that illicit affair that adds spice to your life. Its like that out of control mistress, the temptress that you cant live with or without.

I sincerely wish I knew about the game when I was younger. I knew about it 10 years ago and I should've spotted it back then. I don't know why I did not. Its ok. You get better with it as you age. I may be ready for it. Just need to decide and take a plunge. One of the easier things on the bucket list. Assuming you are good with it. I know I am an average player. And I know that I can get better as I play. The question is, do I have the balls and galls to take it up?

I dont know. Time shall tell. In the meanwhile, lemme go find a game. Do wish me luck with the hole cards. And more importantly with the river. And do try the game. Trust me, nothing like it.

P.S.: If poker excites you even an iota, do read about the glorious life of Stu Ungar. And see this.

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The Nidhi Kapoor Story

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