I don't know what to say. It's 5:18 a.m. here in Tampa Bay, Florida. I just finished a successful 7 hour, 2/5 cash game session, ending up +$2000. But I am feeling empty.
Tonight was the first time I saw the evil side of what I consider a fun game. Typically I play online poker so I never have to see the bad players or gamblers in person as they consistently lose playing far from optimal.
There was a man, a lawyer, probably in his mid 50's. Someone who probably makes more money than I will ever make in my life. He sat down with the table max of $800 and played every hand, raising every pot, and he quickly ran it up to $4000. For 3 hours he seemed unbeatable and was having a good time. Then in the matter of minutes, the man proceeded to lose it all. He didn't seemed phased. He re-bought and continued to play. He went on to lose another three buyins before declaring he was done. He walked away to most of the tables disappointment. This was a great spot for any poker player to add to their bankroll.
After about ten minutes, he returned and lost another buyin. Again he said "I'm done" and the table looked disappointed once again. One player at the table knew him quite well and said "he will be back, he has a disease" while smirking. Less than 5 minutes passed this time and he returned and he asked a player at the table if he could write him a check for another buyin. The player agreed and he sat down to play once again. This is when I started to feel bad. I no longer wanted to win. My guilt for the game kicked in. What am I doing with my life? I preach equality in the world and disgust for the rich who don't give back, but here I am with 6 other players at this table, preying on the weak. Someone who can't control himself. Someone who may or may not have the money to lose.
I can't quit this game. I've worked too hard to get to this point. But is this what my life has become? Am I just another filthy human stealing from those who are weaker than myself?
Poker was never my end game in life. I have a bigger purpose than this. I know that I have to continue with my goals in this game, but I don't ever want to forget what I saw tonight. When I am done with this game, I vow to do something positive in this world. Something that not only makes me feel good, but something that makes others lives better.
This is an ugly game we play.