It’s Your Dream

I cannot remember a single person in my high school asking me where I wanted to go to college. Everyone just assumed I wasn’t going.

In high school, I wore the same bummy oversized Adidas sweatshirt every day with holes in the sleeves. I was constantly zoning on one amphetamine or another. Given the medication I take now, there was some untreated bipolarity there somewhere.

I rarely slept, so I looked like a zombie every day. I didn’t seem to know where I was half the time, so I frequently made others uncomfortable with my speech and behavior.

I wouldn’t have asked me where I was going to college either.

When I told people I wanted to be a professional poker player, they rolled their eyes. Some people laughed. No one told me I could do it.

It was awesome.

I am not being sarcastic. That was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

I do not know anyone who can out work me. My work ethic is, to this day, the one facet of myself I refuse to be modest about. I know who I am, and I refuse to water it down to make others more comfortable.

I got that work ethic from these people. They did me a kindness. They let me know early and often that if I wanted to succeed then that was going to be on me. No one was going to help me. No one was going to cosign my dream.

They didn’t believe in me, and honestly, they shouldn’t have. How many guys who pledge to make it as a professional poker player last a decade in this business without getting a real job? One in a thousand? One in ten thousand?

Whatever the numbers were, those people were right to not believe in me. They were just playing the odds. They were kind enough to not lie to my face.

This is why no one believes in you either.

This is why I don’t believe in you.

When you ask someone you don’t know to back you, you are asking them to cosign your dream. Why should they do that? The odds are against them.

When you complain about a bad beat, what you are really doing is asking someone to cosign your dream. You want them to tell you, "that sounds rough, but don’t worry. Your time is coming. I believe in you."

If they say that to you, they are either lying or delusional. The odds are against you.

Furthermore, it’s your dream. Why do you want someone else to take responsibility for your dream? It’s not their dream, it’s yours!

If you want this to be your career, then you have to take responsibility for everything that comes. You can’t go asking someone for a handout. You can’t go asking for someone’s approval. You have to get off your ass and make it happen.

If a bad beat happens to you, why on God’s green Earth should I or anyone else care? You’re the one who wanted to play a game of chance for a living. You’re the one who has to live with the consequences.

My personal opinion is no one should play tournament poker for a living. The downswings I’ve seen in incredibly profitable players are astounding. I can break down their databases part by part, prove they’re making money at every stage of the tournament from any barely playable hand, and yet…they’re losing. Because three coinflips didn’t go their way. Because all the profitable hands didn’t line up.

There’s a reason why I won $50,000 in a tournament when I was 19-years-old, and then months later I sought to learn how to play cash games. I knew I had been lucky, much like most successful tournament players. I saw the "long tails" on the graphical distributions. I knew what was to come if I didn’t pick up another discipline.

But here’s the thing: Do you want to play tournaments for a living? Did you read that and go, "f*** you Alex, I’m going to show you it is possible?"

Then congratulations my friend, you’re starting to get it. My opinion has nothing to do with your dream.

I have no right to judge your dream, good or bad. It’s your dream. You make it happen, or you don’t. I have nothing to do with it.

Good luck to all of you.

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