Saturday, May 07, 2005

Chill Out!

A few months ago I revealed to a friend that I was playing on-line poker. This friend immediately became very concerned that I might be addicted to the game. I almost laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of that statement. First of all, I will readily admit that I am addicted to poker. I play it almost every day, I write about it, I read about it, and I watch it on TV. If you have any doubt just remember the title of this here blog. I am most certainly addicted to poker. Secondly, what’s the big deal? I was addicted to hockey yet no one blinked twice. Most people would joke with me about it and I rarely had a conversation where the subject wasn’t brought up at least once.

Addiction to hockey = okay.
Addiction to poker = not okay.

How messed up is that? Let’s break this down a bit.

Financially: Even with the lowest price season tickets, once I add in the price of food (not Arena food if I could help it but I still needed to eat out most of the time), souvenirs (even with a discount), and play-off tickets (which go up in price every round), I estimate I paid probably $3000 a year to “feed my addiction”. With poker I haven’t spent anywhere near that amount of money, even when you add the price of various poker books I have bought. Plus, with poker, there is the potential to make money and have a positive return in the long run. In hockey, even if my team wins the Stanley Cup, I don’t see much return for the investment. I’m sure I’d get some sort of special collectible and I would always have the joy of saying “the Sharks won the Stanley Cup” but I would still be down financially over the long term.

Score: Poker 1, Hockey 0

Time spent: Estimate 4-5 hours per home game times 42 home games a year (210 hours). Figure 3 hours for away games either on TV or radio times another 42 (126 hours). Then play-offs can potentially be another 120 hours (7 games per round x 3 hours, which is conservative but not all series go for 7 games). The grand total is 456 hours between the months of October and the middle of June. Poker, on the other hand, I probably average about 20 hours per week for a total of over 1000 hours a year. Hmmm, I spend twice as much time playing poker than I do watching hockey. That does include 3 extra months but it’s still significant.

Score: Poker 0, Hockey 1

Mental energy: Here I consider them to be equal. It’s great to win and it sucks to lose. That definitely applies to both hockey and poker. Hockey and poker break even here.

Final score: Poker 1, Hockey 1

Final analysis: As it stands right now, the two addictions are on equal footing. One costs more financially, the other takes up more time. With hockey still out of the picture I have one replacing the other which I don’t think is a big deal. When and if hockey gets their act together I will have to figure out which means more to me or figure out how to make them co-exist. For now I’m just going to chill out and have fun.

Happy news: Speaking of having fun, Maura is officially on sabbatical for the next 2 months. Feel free to let her know how jealous you are by stopping by her site and leaving her a comment.

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