Downswings happen. We know that as poker players, right? Everyone loses at some point. That's why we have bankrolls. They're there to absorb the hard times.
That's what gets me about everyone's utter lack of faith in the economy right now. That's what the bailouts are for. We're just using part of our nation's bankroll to help with these hard times, until the cards come our way and the economy gets better.
But I am beginning to have serious doubts, try as I might not to worry.
I never doubted my ability as a poker player before this two-month downswing because I have the bankroll to play at the level on PokerStars, but what if, I thought, these hard times are more of a trend than a symptom? What if it's going to be like this for the year, until the UIEGA gets repealed and the fish come back? What if nothing happens?
The same thoughts about our economy crawled through my mind this weekend during the annual Colorado Press Association convention. The Rocky Mountain News went under Friday, leaving Denver with one newspaper and rumors of the Post doing just as poorly. The room for the awards ceremony seemed empty and sullen. Everyone spoke of hard times.
I'm facing a different situation than many of you. I'm not too worried about being downsized, even though all our salaries were cut last week. When I won three awards at the ceremony this weekend, including two firsts, my publisher and editor were sitting right next to me. They know I'm important.
I just don't know if our industry will survive. It is, literally, like being the captain of The Titanic, as cliched as it sounds.You might be important to the ship, but that's not all that great if it goes under.
Regardless, lots of companies are going through the same thing, and I could not help but wonder if our nation's bankroll is enough. I don't know what kind of a reserve we have, but what if we go broke? It's happened to even the best poker players. I pictured our nation as a Mad Max wasteland, with people fighting over busted-out homes and sticks with fire. Really.
I want to believe that we will pull out of this, and that this is just a painful readjustment of what we can live with as a nation.
I've never carried any credit card debt, my cars are paid for, and my three kids are clothed, fed and have plenty of toys (they are still whiny as hell, but you can't have everything). We do this on a teacher's and journalist's salary, the two professions lowest on the scale with college degrees. I'm not saying this to brag. I'm saying this because it is possible to have an economy where everyone lives comfortably without relying on credit to power it. Granted, my life isn't fancy, nice or stuffed with luxury. But it's comfortable.
I like what Obama is doing, but I also know he's a poker player, and it does seem like a risk. Even if it is smart, we all know that getting our money in good, that playing smart, doesn't always work.
It's a new month, March. And I had a terrific session Friday, wiping out half my losses in one night. Then I went and played some live poker with friends, and despite suffering four awful suckouts, including almost all my chips to a literal one-outer, I cashed. Then I went home and wound down with some Omaha and won again.
I went to bed last night feeling good about poker and my game again. I'm just looking for the same encouraging sign for our country.