Coping with the Pro Poker Grind - Courtney Gee Poker Update

Published On: 11 July 2012 / Modified: 6 March 2018
Created By: Courtney Gee

I haven’t updated this blog in forever mainly because I haven’t been playing poker. A couple weeks into June, I had a standard downswing and found myself tilting a lot worse than usual. I decided that I needed to take a short break, and then a short break turned into two weeks and counting.

I’ve spent the last two weeks relaxing, enjoying life, and doing things that I actually want to do. I think a lot of people view poker as a glamorous dream job, and people are often really impressed when they find out I play it for a living.

The truth is, though, that it’s not glamorous for most of us. For most poker players it’s a grind.

Don’t get me wrong. I feel very lucky to have the choice to stay home every day and play a card game at my computer. I love games. I love poker. It’s just that while there are plenty of upsides, there are also plenty of downsides.

I sometimes feel like I live in another world. I almost separate my life into two halves: one that involves poker and one that doesn’t. I don’t really talk about poker to my non-poker friends. Many times they are curious about what I do and ask questions like, “What is the most you have lost in one day? What is the biggest pot you have ever won?”

Courtney Gee
Courtney started blogging at when she was on the PokerStars Big Game.

I can answer these questions, but I can’t really talk about the things that are actually on my mind. When I’m on a (super standard) $8k downswing and feeling blue, it’s tough to explain what I’m feeling to someone that doesn’t gamble.

I think that if I called up my mom and told her how much I lost the last week I played poker, she would have a heart attack.

On the other hand, I am still learning to desensitize myself from losing this money. To many poker players $8k is a drop in the bucket, and I’m supposed to be fine with losing it. I usually am. I’ve trained myself to register for SnGs that cost hundreds of dollars and not care about how much I’m in for. Oh I’m down $2k today? No problem. Definitely standard.

Poker-Think Dangerous in Everday Life

I try to never think of my losses using the “non-poker” side of my brain because if I do, I think I’ll be sick. In a given week I will lose twice more money than my graduated-from-university-and-working-full-time friends will earn in a month. If I sit here and put my losses into real-world terms, I might scare myself and never play poker again.

On the other hand, occasionally I’ll find myself trapped in the poker-world mindset and wanting to spend money because it seems like nothing. Like if I want to have dinner somewhere and it costs $100 for a meal, the real-world side of me will think that’s ridiculously expensive.

Courtney Gee
"I’m hoping that these last two weeks off will help me regain the balance I need in my life to be happy playing poker again."

But the poker-world side of me will go, “WTF that’s only one SnG buy-in, who cares?!” and snap order it. I know that when I start thinking about real-life things in terms of SnG buy-ins, it’s time for a reality check.

I’m hoping that these last two weeks off will help me regain the balance I need in my life to be happy playing poker again. I’ve been reflecting and thinking about poker again the last couple of days, so I think I’m almost ready to get back to the tables.

When I do start up again, I intend on keeping a “mental game” blog. In the Mental Game of Poker, Jared Tendler recommends writing a lot, especially after sessions. I think that writing about things like what tilted me, what I did well, and what I did terribly in a given session is a great idea. I think it will help with my tilt issues, and it will also allow me to forget about poker once I’m done playing for the day.

If you are interested in reading these blog entries, I’ll be posting them on my new poker blog. This is a blog I used to keep before I started blogging on PokerListings, so you can also read some of my old poker entries if you’re interested.

Thanks for reading this long, rambling post. Hopefully I actually have some poker to talk about the next time I write! In the meantime, good luck at the tables.


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Courtney Gee 2012-07-18 12:07:54

"SnG full of regs in mid to high buyings, that is NOT very +EV game" - I imagine that a lot of regs that play these games are breakeven at best. They make a pretty good living off rakeback, though.

Thanks for the thoughts and advice! I agree that the most +EV times are always when there are big tournaments or series. I unfortunately don't live THAT close to my local casino, though, so usually I'd just rather play online. I'll definitely be checking it out during the next tournament series, though!

I try to make it 2012-07-17 23:33:43

Hi Courtney, I was online grinder before BF. Now play live at local casino. Just back from WSOP. Always enjoyed your blog. Speaking of online poker game selection, few things i would like to share with. As you know, SnG full of regs in mid to high buyings, that is NOT very +EV game. Cash game prob the same. My own experience is that if you live not too far from casino, weekend days cash game is great. Sunday tourney is much softer compare to PS. Especially cash game after weekly tourney even better. If it is possible for you to even look into it. I played about ten session cash 2-5 5-10 during wsop, the game was very very juicy. I talked to one of Vegas cash grinder if cash game was always this way, he said NO! Vegas mid buying cash game is like PS, no more fish but regs waiting to cooler each other. Only +EV time is during big turney. Hope this helps.
Best luck!

Courtney Gee 2012-07-17 14:20:08

"When busy, you run your ass off--but mentaly so much easier than the online grind" - I totally understand what you mean.

Your cottage runs sound awesome! Enjoy your time off and good luck getting back to poker in August. Thanks so much for reading my blog and for taking the time to comment. It's nice to know that I am not the only one that gets burnt out!

Mark 2012-07-16 08:19:29

Courtney, Everything, so true. I felt a little burnt out. Haven't played since mid June. Rented a cottage-canoeing, hiking, fishing, golfing ie. just relaxing. Took a few bartending shifts at a private club here. When busy, you run your ass off--but mentaly so much easier than the online grind. Live play much more stimulating ( don't know if that's the right word ), but SO slow, and limited choices. Intend to return to the laptop Aug 1st with my sight set for another cottage run in Mid September ( fall ). I think it will help me go hard for 6-7 weeks if I can see a break coming. I do enjoy your insights and thoughts--I think it's going to be tough for you to get back in the swing --Mark PS Nice photo...


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