Cardplayer is reporting that the slot onlain room approved at the Orange Park Kennel Club will open April 1, and they’ve hired 100 dealers out of 1500 applicants.

I live ten minutes from the St. Johns racetrack and poker room, and haven’t played in years thanks to bad memories of donkeys – my head exploded when my KK was cracked by 2-4o, drawing all the way to the river on a gutshot – but don’t get me started.

Perhaps I’ll be able to build new memories with the new poker room being literally one block off I-295 on my ride home at night. Jacksonville poker is getting better and better all the time.

Getting my mind right for poker

I enjoyed a nice run over the weekend that came to a screeching halt on Sunday. I logged off after only two SNGs, just because I didn’t feel like I was playing well.

I moved from the Turbo SNGs to the standard SNGs on Full Tilt late last week. I do this from time to time when I feel like I’m not playing patiently in the early stages of a SNG. While you have to take a lot of coinflips in Turboes, they don’t have to be in the early stages when there is just T100 in the pot. From time to time I lose perspective and start fighting for those pots, when I really don’t have to. Yes, later in the SNG it’s all coinflips and push-and-pray, but so many people suck at playing these that there’s no reason to do so early. When you can reach the bubble 90% of the time by simply being patient, the odds are that you’ll make money in the long run.** I wasn’t doing that.

Stepping oer to standard SNGs helps me get my mind right. There’s a decent amount of play (although, truthfully, these things are still quick), and I cash at a higher rate. I don’t know why I go back to the Turboes, except they’re like crack for the action junkie.

Anyway, I diagnosed that I was the problem yesterday pretty quickly and while playing well within my bankroll. So, that’s progress.

In 24 hours I hit the highway, heading out to Alabama. It’s an emotional time for me, but I’m surprised by what I’m feeling. I expected to be intimidated at the thought of jumping into a challenging work environment, one where expectations are high and the margin for failure is small. To put it in poker terms, I’m going all-in with my career while holding ATo in EP at a full table.

I also expected to be looking forward to some “me” time without the daily obligations to the family, so I could focus on the job and ramping things up a bit more with my various web properties, some of which are showing real promise.

Instead, it’s the reverse that’s true. I feel completely at peace with the job. I’ve been around for a while and I’m going in with my eyes wide open, and I’m smart enough to figure out the few things I might not know. I’ve made a good decision with regard to the career.

However, the thought of leaving my family for several months is killing me. My youngest daughter has to be peeled off of me every night, and she begs me not to leave. I’ve always understood that my family “needs” me, but everyday I get reminded just how much as we work through the logistics of life without Daddy. I know most people will think that my kids will get over it as time goes by, but my father did this twice when I was growing up and those periods of my childhood are my clearest memories. My mother was a small business owner, so I was responsible at 11 years old for babysitting my brothers when we got home from school and making sure the house was ready to show to buyers at any time.

To save time in the morning, I would sleep on top of the bedspread with a small throw blanket over my legs so I wouldn’t have to make the bed.

I was also responsible for selling our boat. My mother did not know how to start the motor or explain the functions, so that fell to me. I sold it one Saturday while she was at work.

I remember feeling resentment when my father would visit. We fell into new routines, and he would come to town and expect everything to be the way it was.

The same thing happened when I was 14. That time, I sold our camper. I made a deal in 10 minutes, signed a bill of sale (I now know THAT wasn’t legal!), and let the guy tow it off. My parents were happy because I got more than they expected. I was still watching my brothers, this time three of them, with one toddler. Our dog was old and sick, too sick to make the trip from NH to FL, and I accompanied my mother when we had Molly put down.

I don’t mean to imply that I had a difficult childhood, because I didn’t. We grew up solidly middle-class, and my father’s career moves made us upper-middle-class. I’m just saying that his absence made things difficult emotionally and put me in situations far beyond my years and maturity, and I didn’t like it.

Now, I’m doing the same thing to my kids.

I suppose it says something about my priorities that I’m at peace with the career decision and I’m conflicted about the family decision. Most guys I’ve spoken with these last two weeks speak longingly about “bach-ing” it up for 4 months, when it’s all I can do to keep from crying every time I think about it. Being a father is the most important thing in my life, and the thing I love most about my life.

But, I also have to be a realist. By any measure, we’re poor. Two years of living on 25% of what I used to make will do that. There are bills to pay, tuition to save, and retirement savings that have to be rebuilt. If I don’t go all-in now, our lives will go the way of Broomcorn’s Uncle. When my kids are in college, I want them focused on school and not how they’ll eat until the student loans and financial aid come through. I don’t want to have to live with them when I’m old because I can’t afford a home of my home. In the long run, a couple months away is a small price to pay for the opportunity to get a once-promising career back on track.

But damn, it’s killing me.