Sunday, October 30, 2005

Halloween Pickup Attempts:

Lately, I find that the only thing I feel passion for is sarging. That's pickup artist speak for going out to pickup women, or in my case, attempting to pick up women. Today we celebrated my friend Ajay's birthday. We had dinner in Chinatown and then went to Lion Head Pub/The Apartment. It's a two story estbalishment on Lincoln Ave, several blocks south of Fullerton Ave. On the bottom floor is a bar area. There are multiple TV's and tables. Music is played, but conversations can still take place without yelling or having to speak directly into the ears. On the second floor is a dance club area that the place calls "The Apartment. There's a small lounge area with a bar, and another oval shaped bar next to the dance floor. The dance floor, though, is the main attraction. As I found out today, The Apartment is a terrible place to try to have a conversation with someone.

I wore a hooded cape costume with a screen mask. It would best be described as a "Death" costume, meaning Death from the Gauntlet video game. I was hoping that I'd be brave enough to dance with random girls on the dance floor, but that game is slightly harder that I expected. I've read some articles on concerning dance floor moves. My understanding is that I'm supposed to just go up to girls and dance near them. Then, I'm supposed to make eye contact and position myself in front of them. Next, I start mirroring their dance moves and proceed from there. Another option is to stand near the edge of the dance floor and pull girls in. As I have no dance skills at all, my best move is supposed to be for me to do a quick dance and then lead the girl off the dance floor for a conversation. What I'm unclear about is what I'm supposed to do when there are multiple girls dancing with each other, or when multiple girls walk near or through the dance floor. I imagine the answer is to just grab one and start dancing, but without a wingman, it seems that the other girl would probably cockblock.

My frustrations with the dance floor scene spilled over into my regular pickup mission for a the first few hours. Well, I am being a little hard on myself by saying that. I did do better than the last time I was out at the bar. On my previous outing, for Jason's birthday, I said, "Hi" to either one or two girls. At the beginning, I wasn't willing to go approach girls, but I was saying, "Hi" to random girls. When I saw girls walking off the dance floor, or walking down the stairs, I'd force myself to say stuff like, "Where are you going? The party is this way (me pointing towards the dance floor)." I also said, "Hi" to just a few random girls that I walked by. I think these small steps is what allowed me to make bigger strides later. Developing confidence to talk to woman and not caring about the outcome is probably the hardest part of the pickup game, at least at the beginner level. When I scare myself with my imagination, I imagine that girls will totally ignore me when I try to talk to them. Sometimes that happens, but I was surprised to see that some girls responded to the comments I made, or said, "Hi" back.

I made my first real approach during the costume contest. Some finalists for best costume were presented on the stage near the dance floor. I worked my way near the front and saw a cute blonde (probably a 7) standing near me. She seemed to be along, so I decided to make my move. I noticed that she kept giving a thumbs down to all the costumes that came up. I opened by saying something like, "You don't like any of the costumes to you." We talked for about 5 minutes. I learned she was a social worker. I think I did okay with the "fluff talk" but it was hard to hear her, so sometimes I'd just pretend that I understood something. I suppose I did decently as she did ask me for my name after I had talked to her for a few minutes. Unfortunately, I found out that she was there with her boyfriend. I wasn't phased, as I had read the "boyfriend destroyer" articles, but when I tried to ask where he was again, (I had asked earlier, but I couldn't understand her answer) she told me that he and some of the their friends were in one of the earlier costume groups that I missed. Some day in the future, maybe I'll be able to close a girl that has a boyfriend in bar with her, but that time is not now. To my credit, I talked for a few minutes until she went to go talk to him when the contest was over. I stuck around just to try to show that I didn't care that she had a boyfriend with her.

After my first encounter, I made a few more attempts, but the loud music really cramped my style. I did try going downstairs to the bar area, but I didn't see any good groups to open. I'm still working on getting confidence to approach a solo girl. I think I'd approach a set of two girls, but I'm not ready to open a large group or girls, or a mixed group. There were some great opportunities earlier in the night, but unfortunately I was too chicken at the time. I just have to learn that I have to start making approaches immediately after I enter the bar. Upstairs, I did find some girls to open.

As I went to the bar for a drink, I saw a blonde with bunny ears. She was probably a 6. She was definately not as cute as the first girl I opened. I could tell by her first responses that she was neither interesting, nor interested. Maybe she wasn't interesting because she wasn't interested, but whatever. I said, "Hi" to her and made some comment like "Are you taking a break from the dance floor." I had to repeat the comment twice as she had a hard time hearing me, then she responded with some comment that was inaudible to me. I then tried the "What's your story line?" She heard me that time, but responded with "I don't have one." Blah! Obviously this conversation was going nowhere ,but I decided to make one final attempt anyway. I replied, "What do you mean? Everyone has a story. Who are you, what are you passionate about?" LOL, that was a good one. She couldn't understand me through the music. She looked bored, and I saw her looking for her friend. Frankly, I was bored and frustrated so I was happy to end the conversation. Funny thing about the whole thing is that crashing and burning didn't cause me any pain at all.

My next move was with a fat girl who was probably a 5. I didn't intend to work down the rating system, but I wasn't being picky here. I just wanted to open with any girls that I felt I had an opportunity to open. Again, hearing problems dampened things. Worse yet, she was in a mixed group. I didn't realize this when I opened her initially (they weren't standing all together, but they were all in the general area). Her friend kept interupting her, and then suddenly she decided to dance with one of her guy friends. I guess I hadn't established value properly. I had tried to get her to come to the dance floor right before that. I said, "Let's go dance." Her response was that she couldn't come with, and then she started to dance with one of her guy friends. I stood there feeling helpless and like a total AFC. I decided to redeem myself after 10 seconds by leaning towards her and saying, "Well, it's been fun. Take care."

My last attempt seemed like it had the most promise. I saw a blonde (HB:7) about my height dancing with her shorter brunette friend. At this point, I knew I wasn't going to be able to pull the dance move so I just sat there on "death row" holding up my wall. A few minutes later, I saw the blonde walking away from her friend. When I looked at her friend, I saw that the brunette was dancing with some guy. I followed the blonde with my eyes and saw her sit at a table by herself. I'd like to say that I followed the 3 second rule, but I admit I violated it. I was quick enough, though, that I didn't talk myself out of approaching. I walked the long way around the bar so I could get to her table. I then approached her from the side, and leaned in her ear and said, "Hi. You had some nice moves out there."

You can guy what happened then. Yes, I had to repeat myself so she could understand me. The conversation was really frustrating because we couldn't hear each other through the music. She seemed like she wanted to talk, though. Instead of giving up right away like the bunny-eared girl, this one kept trying to have the conversation work. When I began to show some frustrations (and this was like 20 seconds into the approach), she apologized for being tired. I took that as she was apologizing for not giving great answers, and in a way she was saying that was an additional reason why we were having such a hard time talking. Her friend showed up from the dance floor about 30 seconds into our attempted conversation. I figured she was going to leave me standing like an AFC like the fat girl had. Instead, I saw the two friends having problems communicating because of the noise. The friend soon left us alone and went back to her new guy friend.

Now, I did the dumbest thing, and Ajay even called it. When I explained what happened to me, his immediate response was that I should have asked the girl to come down to the bar area with me. The thought had occurred to me, but, at the time, I dismissed it as unlikely to succeed. I figured I hadn't established enough rapport for her to come downstairs with me. Of course, that was dumb. That might have been true, but I should have at least asked her to come to the Lion Head Pub area so we could have a better conversation. Instead, I let my frustration take over me, and my AFC self appear. Instead of inviting her to come downstairs to talk, I leaned to her and said, "You know, this is too difficult. In a different time and place, this might have worked."
Oh well. I learned a good lesson. I'll be sure not to repeat this mistake next time.

In conclusion, I think I did pretty well. I have a long way to go, but if this were a roleplaying game, I would definately have gained one or two levels. I accomplished more than what I did last time at Lion Head Pub. I made some mistakes, but I think I can learn from them. Next time, I won't wait so long to begin making approaches. I also will ask a women to move to a quiter area if the music is ruining our conversation. Such a move would not have worked with the bunny girl, but it might have worked with the last one. Most importantly, I'd say I learned that rejection really isn't as bad as I always fear it to be. I went down in a flames, but it really didn't matter. I think in a few weeks, with good effort, I should be able to get to the point where I'm talking to women regularly. I mean that I'll start saying, "Hi" to women everywhere I can, and I'll be making more than 3-4 approaches on a bar outing. I'm sure I'll face problems with steering the conversations in the right directions, and I'll need to learn how and when to close, but I'll worry about that later.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


I keep repeating that line to myself. It comes from the movie Reign of Fire. In one scene, Christian Bale's character is having an emotional breakdown just as he and Matthew McConaughey's character are about to face the dragon that killed Bale's characeter's mother. McConaughey's character's advice was "Use it." In other words, instead of sitting there crying like an idiot and letting your emotions render you helpless, you should draw strength from the hurt and anger and focus on killing the dragon. I felt such hurt and anger today because of Beata. She was supposed to call me sometime in the morning and arrange to meet up with Greg and I to see I am an Sex Addict at the Chicago International Film Festival. What I expected would happen was Beata and I would ride together and meet Greg at the theater. Then, we'd watch the first movie, grab some dinner, and then Beata and I would watch Bee Season.

Somehow, I woke up around 10am after staying up until 4:30am reading The Game. This exercise and semi-healthier eating seems to be working. I woke up almost completely well-rested and I decided that I'd need to get a haircut as my head was begging to resemble an industrial mop. Beata has told me that I don't look that good with a buzz cut. I knew I'd look better with some styling, but I decided on a buzz cut anyway. I think I made the decision as an act of defiance to Beata (which I thought would help me get over her), and because it was a simple haircut to request. I called Greg on the way to the barber and tried to convey my excitement at beginning my quest. I keep hoping that I can get him as excited as I am about all this because I know that if we work together on this as a team, we have a good chance of improving ourselves.

After the barber, I decided to call Beata. She didn't answer. I figured her date with her new Polish guy had lasted late into the night, and I figured she had probably had sex with him. I decided to go for a run to clear my head and I had it set in my mind that I was going to enjoy the day better without seeing her. During my cooldown walk, I called Greg and he seemed excited about embarking on our quest to become PUA, but he suggested that the day would go smoother if I just ditched Beata completely. Just as I close to leaving for the city, Beata ended up calling and telling me she had just got up. I made a comment she must have had some late night fun. She almost hung up on me, but then said she was going to take a shower and would be ready soon.

The new me that I want to become wanted to just head for the city and show Beata that I no longer cared what she did; I wanted to show that I would just go on with my life. Instead, I acted like the AFC I still am and waited 15 minutes before driving to the city. I ended up almost missing the movie because I hit unexpected traffic. Beata called me just as I was about to enter a parking garage and told me that she'd be missing the first movie but would hook up with us later. That angered me for several reasons. First, I was angry at myself for having waited even though I knew better. Next, I had to pay for this ticket even though we had a pass for the festival that still had 3 movie slots remaining. Third, I was frustrated because I had begun to look forward to a day without Beata. I figured Greg and I would have had more time to develop our game if she hadn't decided to show up.

Beata showed up after Sex Addict finished. Instead of joining us for dinner, she said she had bought a ticket for a movie playing at 4pm. She asked me to go with, but I refused as I was hungry, wanted to work on my game, and didn't want to ditch Greg. I did want to see another movie and wanted to spend time with her despite all my frustrations with earlier events. I guess my mind was warped by the fact that Beata's legs looked sexy in the white linen dress she was wearing and she had obviously made herself up. I suggsted that Beata and I should see a show after Bee Season instead. She hestitated and rejected the idea in a way that I knew meant she already had plans with the Polish guy. Oh well, I should have known she wouldn't make herself up for me anymore. I guess that's why she took so long to get ready and missed the first movie. Naturally, this brought back a stronger version of my feelings of anger and frustration that had disappeared on account of her legs. A few days ago, I probably would have convinced Greg to go to Pizzerria Due and take down a huge stuffed pizza, but today I decided to channel the energy into motivation... I decided to "Use it!"

Newbie Mission:

I explained to Greg that we'd have to learn to handle rejection or we'd never get anywhere. I described the simple mission that I'd read about, which was simply to go to a mall and say, "Hi" to as many women as we could. In the saftey of my home, my imagination convinced me that this would be an easy task. My true fear hid inside me. I suspected it might still be there when I made my first moves, but my perceptions of my feelings were clouded by the confidence I had built by various self-affirmations. My fear rained out and paralyzed me from talking to any women as we walked towards Rosebud. I kept trying to get Greg to make a first move to inspire me, but he said I'd have to do things myself today. After a few seconds of thought, I realized that fueling our competitive drives would be my only chance to get us to proceed with this mission. First, I suggested that if I said, "Hi" to five girls, he should then proceed to do it. He quickly agreed but I still didn't feel like I could break through my fear and I didn't think he would either. A few blocks later, I suggested involving money. My idea sparked his interest. After all, traders, like poker players, have a strong competitive drive when it comes to wagering money. We ended up wagering that whoever said "Hi" more times would win a free drink. The conditions were that he or I had to make at least 20 greetings and win by at least 6 greetings to qualify. To make it more of an incentive to really blow away an opponnent, I said if one of us reached 50 greetings, then the drink would turn into a dinner. Finally, to speed things up, we said that if a girl responded to our greeting, it would count as two.

The game started when we walked into Water Tower Place. As we rode up the entrance escalators, I spotted a girl standing by a railing. I thought about the three second rule I had read about. As we walked, I then explained to Greg that I should approach from the front, but at an angle so as not to startle her. I then proceed to change direction as I was walking towards her because I got butterflies. Greg that commented that he'd developed some courage and would greet that same girl and steal my goal. We ended up walking by her again to no avail. At that point, we realized that we both might be content to stand around there doing nothing, so Greg said we should just go eat.

I then summoned some courage and exclaimed, "No, I want that free drink."

I then saw a semi-attractive blonde standing by the directory on our level. I walked towards her and when I got next to her I turned my head and said, "Hi."

She reciprocated my greeting and then I said the first line I could think of at the time. I said, "Do know what restaurants are good here?"

She replied, "No, I'm not from around here."

Now, the PUA in training in me recognized that the conversation could still continue and I had a logical follow-up question. The AFC in me took over, though, as I just said, "Okay, thanks" and walked away as she apologized for not having any information.

Still, I felt good that I had at least made my first greeting and I proceed to rub the 2-0 score in Greg's face. We analyzed the encounter as we walked to Rosebud Steakhouse. I realized that I hadn't prepared myself to continue any conversation as I had only planned on saying, "Hi." Clearly, I should have continued the conversation by asking her where she was from. I probably would have learned she's from out-of-state. As she was alone at the directory, I also might have learned she was here alone for whatever reason and was staying at a nearby hotel. I've lived in Chicago my whole life, so I easily could have been her guide around town. Oh well, I failed to continue the conversation because of my usual insecurity. I wasn't prepared to continue, and I was afraid I was bothering her so I terminated the conversation.

I'm made a baby step, and I hope I can do better next time. Greg and I have decided to continue our game when we meet up at some suburban mall next week. I'm leading 2-0 and I hope that by drawing on what I learned from this analysis, I can win a free dinner and weaken the grip that my fear of rejection continues to have on me.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Neil Strauss, PUA, Sex, and Porn:

On Friday, I received the book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. As you might have guessed, PUA is the acronym for pick-up artist. As I write this, I'm about half-way through the book. The book is a the story of Strauss's journey from AFC "average frustrated chump" to a PUA. This is the same journey and Sidegames and I hoped to embark on a month ago and reading this book has renewed, heck, it has blasted my desire to do this. Now, I doubt I'll ever be good enough to be able to attract gorgeous women as Strauss and his fellow PUA's can, but I hope to be able to at least accomplish what I set out in my previous blog. I want to be fearless when it comes to approaching women, and if I work on my game, I think I'll be able to attract a few of them. In the beginning, I know there will be a lot of rejection, but I think if I work on some of the techniques that are described in the book, I think I can start to attract some women. If I get my exercise program into serious gear like I did three years ago, and if I develop my game well enough, then maybe those beautiful women will eventually be accessible.

I'm already recruited Sidegames to accompany me on this journey. I'm hoping I can also recruit my friend DoorInc. As I explained previously, Sidegames doesn't want his real named used in any of my blogs. I'm refering to DoorInc by his nickname because I'm trying to be confident that we eventually can learn these moves. If we ever do get to the point where we can pickup women at even an average skill level, I doubt DoorInc will want his real name glazing the pages of my blog. As for me, I refuse to hide in total anonymity. This blog is who I am and in addition to the goals I've outlined today, I also want to be more honest here. People who know me in real life know that I'm most honest about stuff than most people. I'm honest about stuff to the point where it puts me in avoidable stressful situations, but I think I've been holding back on this blog because some of my friends know the address. I've been afraid to rant about friends that annoy me or real issues, but that's going to change.

Unlike some guys that might interested in Strauss's book, seduction, or the pick-up game in general, I'm not looking to use women or to have sex with a bunch of women. As stated above, I want to gain the confidence to approach women. I think that confidence will help me with other social interactions. I eventually hope I can find another girlfriend, but of course I wouldn't be opposed to having sex with willing women along the way, even if is during a short term or one-night stand situation.

Like any guy, I love sex. Unlike Seb, the closest example I've seen of a geniune PUA, I don't think I'll be happiest by having sex with with as many new women as possible, as often as possible. He loved cruising the clubs or anywhere for girls, but his goal was to have sex with them that night, or after his first date with them. If they didn't put out, he'd just move on to his next option. I actually think sex is better in a committed relationship. I've had casual sex, and I think sex combined with love is definately better. I learned that from my relationship with Beata. Also, from Beata, I learned how much better sex is without condoms. She was the first girl that I ever done that with and I'm going to miss that. I won't have unprotected sex with a girl I just met, or even a girlfriend I've had for a few weeks so I imagine it will be awhile before I experience that again.

Here begins the openness that I never dared show before in my blog:

Unlike some of the guys I know, other than maybe Sidegames, I think I have an overactive sex drive. An interesting sidenote is that Sidegames, Beata (yes, we're still hanging out as friends, though I'm thinking that's probably a mistake) and I are going to watch I am a Sex Addict at the Chicago International Film Festival. Other friends I've talked to have said that they don't crave sex as much as I do. One married friend is more than satisfied with making love to his wife once a week or less. Other friends have commented that they don't masturbate as much as I do. Sex with Beata was great, but she was never into it. Perhaps, some of that was my fault, as I'm not that experienced, but I know she had issues. The only skills I know I have is that I like to perform oral sex on women, and I have good staying power (probably due to practicing with myself 2-4 times a day). She always complained about pain if we had intercourse for more than 5 minutes, and she didn't let me eat her out often because she said she thought it was gross. Furthermore, when things were going well between us, we had sex probably once a month on average. Sometimes we'd do it a few weeks in a row, but it never happened as often as I'd hoped it would.

I think I'd be happy with a women that would have sex once a week, but I think I'd be happier if it happened more often than that. If she can't provide that, then she better accept that I'm going to watch porn regularly and pleasure myself on the days that we aren't going to have sex. On that thought, I think I'm going to watch Baker's Dozen 4 with Hillary Scott (who's look reminds me of Beata for some reason) and go to bed. As I've said I'm going to be crazily open in this blog, I'm sure porn will reappear in future blogs. Anyone reading should be forewarned.


As I detaiiled in my previous post, my life's been at an almost all-time low. Ever since the blowup, I've felt myself to be under extreme stress and I found myself lashing out over the stupidest things. Fortunately, my mother had planned on coming into town this week, so even last week, I felt I could see some glimmer of salvation on the horizon. I didn't feel like things finally did turn around until I received some books I ordered from on Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, I received Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork by Governor Mike Huckabee. I remembered hearing Governor Huckabee on the Hannity radio show one of the days I was commuting to the Harrah's. They had discussed his book, and I remember making a mental note to check it out in the bookstore. When I was in Philadelphia in May, I perused it at the bookstore and thought it might be inspriational but I put off buying it. I read it Thursday night and I felt inspired by it. Sure, I knew most of the stuff he explained in the book, but I felt movited by two things in particular that he wrote in the book. The first was that you were never going to find time to exercise but instead had to schedule time for it. As everyone else probably does, I thought my days were busy. Of course, I set my own schedule, but I always felt like I needed to work more and that I didn't have enough time to do all that I needed. By reading the book, I was forced to realize that Governor Huckabee was able to schedule time to exercise and he's way busier than me. I also remember that President Bush schedules time for his runs even though he is the President, so surely I could find time in my own, non-so-important life for exercise. The seecond gem I got from the book was from a chapter entitled "STOP Ignoing Signals from Your Body."

He listed the following, among other things: 1) Being tired even when you haven't extrted yourself physically, 3) Lethargy, and 4) Depression (pages 61-2). I knew that poor eating habits and no exercise would cause those things, but reading the book reinforced those ideas for me. I knew that I was always tired all the time, even when I slept 12 or 14 hours in a day. I knew that eating whole pizzas would make me feel lethargic but I had been trying to overcome that by eating more. Last week, I even got to the point of just eating as much as possible just to do it because I didn't care anymore. I had eaten several gallons of ice cream, and I knew I was out of control. Aftering reading the book on Thursday, I went for my first run in weeks Friday, and I also controled my eating in a way that I also hadn't done in weeks.

After my run, I felt great and realized that I needed to reintegrate exercise back into my life or I'll alwasy be miserable. My life is very stressful and if I don't release it through exercise, I find myself just unable to cope with life in general. I hoping to run several times a week again, and maybe in the near future, I'll also start lifting weights. I want to get in shape so I can be healthy, and so I can help myself with a goal I just created after reading a book that arrived on Friday.

Downward Spiral:

When I look back at periods where I don't write in this blog, I find it happens when darkness moves into my life. In these past two or three weeks, I felt the worst that I have in long time. From 2000 to present, I think the worst I felt was a period in 2000, followed by February-May of 2004, and Jan-March of 2005. In late 2003-early 2004 I had gone on one of the best monetary streaks I've ever had. At the end of winter 2004, I found out that I had truely been on a ridiculous run in poker, and I lost much of my winnings when I hit a bad streak. My luck had started to run normal, and then bad, but more devastating was that my play had turned bad. I was having an impossible time coping with this downturn and I ended up losing more than I had thought possible.

As summer approached, I began to turn things around. Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee had just opened a poker room in April or May of 2004. I had heard that the games were great, but I didn't believe it was worth my time driving up there. One day, I decided to drive up there, and I couldn't believe the $20-40 game that I found there. The game at that time featured loose passive players that I had never encountered at that type of stakes. The first day, I say 7+ players entering pots, and many pots weren't raised. It was a poker players dream. I milked the games there for a good amount for the whole summer. In September I took a trip to Hawaii, but I also took a lot of time off. I tended to do this right before I went on trips I had planned. I think I do this because by the time a planned vacation comes, I usually have played 50+ hour weeks for several months and I find myself burned out.

When I came back from Hawaii, I started to see signs that the games were drying up. The $20-40 game was breaking more frequently and the pot limit game was becoming more popular. I started playing at the Harrah's again, but I kept being bothered by how much harder the games there were in comparison with Potawatomi. Instead of being tough and adjusting, I made the poor choice of playing World of Warcraft. What I had planned on being a temporary break turned into a full-blown addiction.

I basically played WoW nonstop from when it came out in late November until March. I had shown signs of video game addiction in the past. One time I played Ultima Online for like two or three weeks straight, but this four month period blew up that previous personal record. I began to live in the game and I let my real life slip. After the Potowatomi games, I believed that I should have had any future money problems if I kept playing, but my WoW addiction made me burn through most of my savings. When I finally emerged in March, I had gained probably 20 lbs and I was in a tough money situation. I believe I'm still suffering from this now as I have extra stress that wouldn't be here if I had played poker without breaks.

April is when I started playing again. April was a great month. I had run really well and I thought I was on the verge of making a good, or at least decent run. June turned out to be horrible and I believe I ended up a net loser for the month. That was really discouraging so I decided to try to focus my efforts on online play. I thought online play would be better as I could avoid the daily commute, and Steve, a poker friend I knew at Harrah's, had recommended it as a way to build a bankroll safely.

From July to August, I grined my way up through 3-4 tables of $2-4 & $3-6 limit Hold 'em. I had built a good roll and I had gone on a like a seven session winning streak. I had told Beata about my progress and she was unimpressed and wouldn't even look at my results. At the same time, I had computed my hourly rate and felt that I could do better. Sidesgames and other friends had told me not to move up, but I wanted to prove things to Beata and myself so I foolishly moved up to 2-3 games of $20-40.

In my initial tries, I had gotten really stressed out by the fact that I was going + or - $2000 in my sessions. I was worried that my win rate wouldn't be high enough, especially since I coudln't play as well under this much stress, but I wanted to perservere. I hovered around the same money total for several sessions, and then one day I won a good amount that put my money at it's highpoint for the year. I still feared that I was only a bad session way from destroying myself psychologically but I didn't listen to myself or others.

Around middle September, I hit a decent run that ruined me. I still had enough money to play the lower stakes I had rebuilt on by a far more devestating thing happened that I had not anticipated. I knew moving up limits with this low of a bankroll was foolish and I found that I destroyed my confidence. I didn't play for weeks and I couldn't get over my foolishness. Sidegames, who knows these feelings well from his experiences at trading, tried to get me to play again, but at low limits, but I wouldn't listen. Finally, I tried playing again at $5-10 and I hit a bad streak and lost two days in a row. Now, I was really a mess and I haven't played since. I'm sure I can win, but I'm afraid that if I lose a few hands ,I'm going to go on tilt and just give away my money.

Initially, I tried to ease the pain by eating, but I now know that was the wrong this to do as it just made me feel worse. During that time, I also tried to escape by watching DVD's nonstop. In fact, I've gotten through 4 season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. What I haven't mentioned until now is that Beata finally decided to end things at this time too. In fact, this past week she said she's been dating a Polish guy she met and she thinks they are getting along pretty well.

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