For the top players in our game, the opportunities that are out there for them have never been greater. It seems these days that every top player has multiple things going on at one time. Be it DVDs, video games, a new endorsement, or their own online room - today's players have so much going on off the felt, that it is becoming more & more difficult for them to get on to the felt.
More and more these days I hear stories of top players saying things like "I haven't played in a month", or "This is only my third tournament this year". I wonder what kind of effect this must have on their games.
Here are some recent quotes from players that I have over heard, or read in a press item, or picked up from their blogs recently.
"I'll probably only play 12 events this year" Phil Hellmuth
""I'm so involved in the business side I really don't play side games," Howard Lederer
"So all told, in April I've put in a grand total of 1.5 hours at the table." Daniel Negraenu
So, what kind of effect will this have on the tournament circuit. I'm sure many of these guys have been doing it so long, they don't need to prepare, per se...but I can't imagine playing this little helps their games.
Top pros have found that when you put an "honest" days work in, no one can take your paycheck from you. In the real world, if you make one mistake after five days of great work, you do still get your paycheck, and this has to appeal to people who have lived the gamblers lifestyle for so long. Still, one must wonder if these top pros can just 'turn it on' in the snap of a finger, and play world-class poker. If a top pro were to take an extended break from their play, it is possible they would not be able to play at the level that got them the opportunities.
The pace for these top pros is so grueling as it is, I certainly cannot blame top players for not playing as much, and trying to have some form of balance in their lives. Still, it seems that this fact of modern poker life can be yet another equalizer to a small extent when it comes to the edge a top pro has at any event.
So, the next time you see a top pro at an event, ask them, "Hey, when is the last time you played?" The answer might surprise you.
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