I have had some interesting wakeup calls recently regarding my skill level as of late - my game has dried up, and I am pretty much just treading water in most games - I'd probably lose less money playing blackjack, but that's not the point of the post.
Years ago, as a kid, I played Chess - there are many similarities, and of course, many folks enjoy both games and can draw many parallels but one comes specifically to my mind. To become a master, you have to devote an obscene amount of time to study - and even a casual study will quickly reveal how much you still have to learn.
As a kid I showed an aptitude for the basics of chess - I mostly didn't put important pieces in front of anything that could take it and that was that - learned a bit about how to fork pieces, but never memorize openings, never looked for forced mates - (my checkmate was to get down to a rook/queen advantage of picking their pieces off and then forcing the K into the wall - the first checkmate ever inflicted on me) - I would trade liberally, and the idea of even having one pawn advantage seemed beyond insignificant to me.
Looking now at the Chess tools out there for improving your game, including online videos/sites/etc, I can safely say I see major deficencies in my game and can work accordingly - but with Poker I am still struggling to get to that point. I suspect the reason is because there IS a luck factor in poker that is easy to blame for every call by a joker with 22 - (I've lost 4 all-in's with overcards this week) - but it bothers me that I feel I've reached a learning plateau in poker at a time when others are surpassing me by leaps and bounds -
makes me yearn for chess again - another overwhelming hobby to take me from my true love, another terrible mistress, the songwriting.
I so need a girlfriend to tell me to drop all this crap - LOL - damn this fear of rejection.