The following post was originally going to be a reply to several comments by "jolly toper" in some of our recent posts. However, when planning out in my mind what I wanted to say, I realized that the information I am about to put forth was too important to risk having it be missed by our regular readership.
Congratulations, Ronnie Kruger. Rather than joining and being the third best player on "Team Charlatan", you have chosen to burn your bridges with Travis and claim the spot as the #1 player on Team Barfly. I am failing to see how this has done you any good. Rather than aligning yourself with players who have achieved the position that you used to seek and are capable of pulling you up, you are choosing to keep company with people who lack the technical knowledge and experience to ever prove any of your theories about poker wrong.
Being a long time friend of yours, you should be happy that Travis has finally taken the step to achieve a goal he has sought after for a very long time. Now that you are attempting to dismiss and diminish his recent accomplishments in a hurtful way, you have failed to seize the golden opportunity that had lain before you, and that is to simply ask him: how did you do it? Even better, ask him what he did that you did not.
I'll tell you what that is. Travis did not get there by possessing an overabundance of intelligence or natural ability, as he has neither :). Both of these traits will only get you about 10% of the way there, anyhow. What Travis did was keep pushing through when the experience reached the height of his pain threshold. It was neither easy nor was it fun. Though he may have been able to do this on his own, he had me by his side the whole time to make sure that he never gave up. I supplied him with the knowledge and the standard and he made that extra push on his own. It was nothing more and nothing less. Though I can hardly take the credit for what Travis did by virtue of his own fortitude, he would gladly tell you that he could not have done it without me.
As a friend, Travis would have been willing to do the same for you. Instead, you retreated back into the purgatorial shell that I like to call the "transition phase" and chose to discredit him rather than face where you are lacking. The transition phase is the stage that exists when you are clearly the best player in your regular game and are entertaining thoughts about going pro. However, making this transition is like going from being the high school basketball star to riding the bench on your college team. It strongly arouses the insecurity that comes from being the best in the local pool to testing yourself against those who are clearly better than you.
Most potential pros will never get out of the transition phase, as they feel that acknowledging the accomplishments of others somehow lessens their sense of self-worth. They prefer to label those with better results than themselves as "lucky", or take your unique position that we have contrived this massive illusion to mask the fact that we are just jacking each other off in our basements while collecting unemployment checks. Players in the transition phase find it too painful to come to grips with their weaknesses as players and forcefully block any attempts by others to help them. I would know, because I have been there. Now at this stage in my career, I wish that I had taken more steps to surround myself with people who knew more about the game and played better than I did. Unfortunately, at the time, my ego just would not have allowed it and I have suffered by choosing to pass up on the experience.
I doubt that this is what you had originally set out to accomplish in poker. While being the best player in your home game might garner you respect on a small scale, you know that you can never respect yourself for having given up on your dream of being a professional. So rather than trying to pull people back down to your level, get up off the floor and join them instead. Now that you have officially severed your ties with both myself and Travis, you have to surround yourself with new poker friends. Hopefully, they will know more about the game than yourself and thereby be in a better position to uplift you.
The good news is that you aren't done yet- not by a long shot. Part of what makes poker so great is that you can take it up at any point in your life and you do not have to rely on the judgment of others as to whether or not you succeed. It's completely meritocratic. So if you still want make it in the poker world, stop reading this blog right now and pick up a poker book. You hold nothing but contempt for what it contains, anyhow. However, if you want to stick around for one last piece of advice, here it is: My baseball coach in college once gathered the team up and told us about how Tony Gwynn, the best hitter alive, would take 400 swings in front of a mirror every single day. Then he said, "if Tony Gwynn has to do it that many times, then how many times do you have to do it?"
Stand right now in front of that mirror. Now take a long, hard look at yourself, and start swinging away.