It happens every year.
When the new year approaches, I look at those juicy VIP rewards and think to myself, "You really could reach Palladium level VIP status."
I've played poker online every year since 2003, with moderate success. I consider myself a winning player, having cashed out more than I have deposited. I do take advantage of bonuses and rakeback, but my overall record keeping shows I am beating the game for the stakes I play. (I have limited experience in live casino poker, I'm down about $75 lifetime there.)
I've always been a fan of the "old people" games (7CS, LO8, 7CS8). These forms of poker are suited to my style of play. However, I'm experienced enough to adapt to table conditions. While lately I have been rockish, I can go LAG up in this hizzy.
I also do my best to focus. I only ONE table. I can handle more, but I want to pay attention to what my opponents are doing. I study hand histories after each session. I want to continually improve.
And this is where I hit my head against the brick wall, each and every year.
Even though I am an overall winner, I've had serious streaks of run bad. And I just can't wrap my head around them.
To paraphrase a line from (the book) "Tao of Poker": "At some point you will run better than you ever thought possible, but you will also run worse than you could ever imagine."
I just recently finished a 1500+ hand stretch of 7CS in which I never made a hand higher than a flush. This includes 5 hands of rolled up trips that never boated up. VPIP 19. I always put my money in during the right moments, but my hands never held or completed.
I know the poker experts reading this are saying, "So... ?"
The point is, I can't handle the run bad. The downswings. Perhaps it is more emotional than anything else.
The strange part is, it's ONLY poker that breaks my spirit. I can lose a sports bet without a blink of an eye. I have been getting killed in fantasy sports for a good six weeks and it's not really a big deal.
It just seems unnatural to me to lose so bad over that sample size. I'm not going tin foil hat here, I'm just saying I have trouble processing it.
In addition, poker is just too time consuming for me. To be a one-tabler and make anything significant at VIP, I would need to play nosebleeds.
Combine this with the constant cash out issues for US players and my emotional tilt from losing sessions - it's pretty obvious I need to concentrate on other activities.
So poker, it's not you - it's me. I'll call you sometime.