I recently took about six months off from playing poker to get my own health back into check. For me, it was a good thing, as so many positive things came back into my life. But for a time I was “stuck on the rail”. It’s not very exciting as a poker player to be in that position and I began thinking about being “on the rail”, the positives and the negatives that were really impacting my life at this point.
As I pondered my predicament, I realized that I was back where I started. Probably back where we all started! Although I’ve played poker for years, I never had the opportunities to play on the level many us get now thanks to televised tournaments. Like many other players I stood “on the rail” watching the World Series of Poker, daring to think I might be afforded the chance to play.
As my tournament game evolves I’m often “on the rail” watching and learning. I spend a fair amount of time watching plays on television, studying training videos, reading poker books and getting private lessons. I recently was fortunate to attend TheMavenVT’s Training and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m feeling well, things are changing to the positive in my tournament game, and my bankroll is once again growing with the hopes of a 2010 WSOP.
With these positives coming from being “on the rail”, what could the negatives possibly be and how could they affect me? It didn’t take long for me to figure this one out. Time away from the game can help and it can hurt. I lost touch with the tournament schedule, got a little rusty on my cash game from being absent so long, lost touch with many of my poker buddies, put on some unneeded weight and absolutely hated every minute of watching everyone else play while I sat “on the rail”. I began to think, “I gotta get off the rail”, and soon!
The past two weeks I have been easing myself back into cash games and tournaments on line. The time off has shown me that I can return from “the rail” and maybe, just maybe play a better game. I placed 380th out of almost 37,000 players two weeks ago in the 40 PokerStars Sunday Millions. I also ventured out to play a couple of local tournaments making two final tables, one for a chop and another for a seat in the Pink Ladies Poker Tour which I fully intend on winning. I was absolutely thrilled with these results and very happy to be “off the rail” indeed.
Many other poker players are “on the rail” these days. I wasn’t there alone. In these bad economic times poker players have found it increasingly difficult to find the time and or money to play. Some may even be broke with no other options left to them except to stand “on the rail” and hope to return to the game one day. Recreational players also fall back “on the rail”. Excess money to play in a comfortable level of tournaments just cannot be figured into the household budget when things get tight. It appears the game itself is in danger of being “on the rail” when players just cannot afford to play anymore.
The last and final stop for those players, who retire from playing or decide to give up circuit tournaments for smaller games, is “the rail”. I know it will return to my poker life some day, but I hope it’s a very long time from now because being “on the rail” takes me away from something that I love and truly enjoy.