LIVE TOURNAMENTS: 11 final tables in 21 games (52.4%), 1 cash.
Critics might call those numbers deceptively high. Several tournaments wound up having only one table, so we "made the final table" simply by showing up. And we cooled quite a bit after making our first five finals of the year.
LIVE CASH GAMES: None.
OTHER CASINO GAMES: Ultimate Texas Hold 'em - Down $280. Computer machine heads-up -
Down $59. Blackjack - Up $55.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POKER: Regular - 0 for 4. No-River Hold 'em - 1 final table in 9 games.
POKER STARS: Play money cash games - Down $2,762.
Our conclusions? First: much to our surprise, maybe we're playing the wrong game. We did shockingly better at blackjack than anything else, with three gains in four sessions - especially in terms of making money. (We also earned 95 cents with "free play" at casino slot machines.)
All those final tables in poker rooms didn't make us money, because most of them had entry fees -- and our single $40 win in February didn't make up for all of that.
So second: unless you're really sharp at playing poker or hit a big jackpot somewhere, you're liable to lose money more often than you win. If you can afford that in small chunks and not become addicted, that might not be bad; stock traders see ups and downs as well.
But with some people, the dream of "beating the system" can turn into a downward spiral of financial and personal trouble. We'd recommend those people stay away from poker, and probably any casino gaming. Find something better to do. As the Bible recommends....
...Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. - Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
The way this world is going, those standards seem to set a very high bar. But there's Someone who is a great One to focus on....
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne. - Hebrews 12:2
If you've never considered the life and example of Jesus Christ, there's no better time to start. Go through the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Take your time - perhaps a chapter or two a day. Take notes on what you see Jesus saying and doing. And ask how those points can apply in your life.
We're thankful we had some extra money to spend on poker (and doing poker ministry) during 2014. We're also thankful for all of you who read this blog and offer comments. We're planning to continue on in 2015, as our schedule permits -- but perhaps picking our tables and locations more carefully.