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Football, Poker & Pool - Issue 63

Some of the other things I enjoy

We all talk about this space a lot, I would like to talk about stuff not related to this space. You all see a lot of the things that I am passionate about in regards to Web3 and people. Before Web3 and X (Twitter), I was just as passionate about some other things. Some other things that I want to touch base with and start doing again. I am not so good at football but I am good at pool and decent at poker!

The AMEX. Brighton And Hove Albion's home ground. I think this was the party for when they got promoted to The Premier League, it was a little while ago now!

Football. The round ball you kick with a foot. That football. Just want that clear first! I like a lot of sport, have always found it interesting to watch, but football was the one I was passionate about. When I was a kid I just wanted to play football, all the time. I definitely was not the best, but what I lacked in skill and ability I tried to make up for with effort and heart. I was never going to be good enough to make money playing football, but that didn't stop me investing a lot of time in it, in one form or another, until my late 20's.

From playing competitively until I was about 20 and then competitive 6-a-side as a goalkeeper until I was about 30. I had (maybe still have) good reflexes and agility and I didn't mind saving the ball with my face! I watched a lot or premier league football but fell out of love with watching the game in the early 2000's, too much money and posturing. Then Brighton & Hove Albion FC got their new stadium in 2011 and I started going to games. Until Covid I went to between 5-10 games a season.

Watching Brighton gave me the passion back and I started to go and support my local club. Football has a lot of semi-professional clubs. People that work jobs but get paid a little to play football and a few hundred people pay to watch. There is a real community feel around Burgess Hill Town FC and I miss watching them almost every week, home and away. Covid put an end to that and then I moved to a different area. They are also one of a few reasons for a green heart or two and I will always be my football club, no matter where I live.

A picture from close to the top of Ben Nevis (Scotland), on The Three Peaks Challenge. Climb the three highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales as quick as you can, ideally within 24 hours.

I mentioned watching a lot of sport and I did, I still do watch some. I would go to watch live sport regularly, mainly football and cricket. I very rarely watched anything else on TV, unless it was someone else's choice or a Disney/Pixar film. What, there is nothing wrong with a Disney/Pixar (or any good kids film). I do watch other things, occasionally but TV really isn't part of my life at the moment.

I have read a lot in the past and that is something else that I still do, but do in a different way to how I used too. I have spent a lot of time reading science fantasy books in the past. My favourite author, Terry Pratchett. The man was a genius, and captivating with it. His books are a mixture of humanity, magic, comedy, tragedy and philosophy. And that's just to start. I highly recommend reading a book or two.

Now I read a lot of articles and information. I look to build my knowledge. I have started The Bitcoin Standard, and recently read What We Owe The Future (a modern philosophy book). One of the things that has eaten into my reading time is the research I do for the articles I write. There is a chunk of reading and watching that happens before I post an article.

England v Afghanistan. Cricket World Cup, 2019. The most amount of 6's hit in a One Day International game, that's an exciting thing if you don't know cricket. I promise!

I like poker. It mixes humans and numbers. Patterns are everywhere and I have a lot of fun. I am a reasonable poker player but I cannot stand freeroll tournaments. I play different types, but am only confident with hold em. I need to be playing with skin in the game, a little jeopardy. I don't need to gamble a lot but $5 or $10 dollars makes a huge difference in how I play and feel about the game.

There is a lot of theory about poker, a lot and you can easily get lost in it. It is always a mixture of value and equity. How you play that value or equity is how you win or lose. There are clearly hands that will give you a huge advantage. AA is a obviously a great hand, most people don't need to be told that. The thing is, it is never the hands you are dealt, it is how you play them.

The size of the table makes a huge difference too, heads up is a completely different game to a 9 player table. My biggest weakness, I can get emotionally attached to my cards, I will keep playing a hand I know I should fold, because I don't want to put KK in the bin! Poker is a mixture of luck and skill, but there is far more skill involved than luck. I intend to organise a game on Pokerstars in October.

Leg 2 of Three Peaks challenge. Scafell Pike (England), this picture was taken at a different time, we climbed this mountain in the dark. The clock runs from the start of Ben Nevis (Scotland) until you get to the top of Snowden (Wales).

Whilst I am reasonable at poker, I am good at pool. Not elite, but not far off. I need to play more, since mum passed away I have only played competitively twice. Both times for my old interleague team in national competitions. I captained a local pub team for 10 years and have a really strong record in competitive pool. I mostly play 8 ball, but have won 9 ball comps in the past.

To be competitively good requires a high level of skill and technique, and an awful lot of practice. And having practiced a lot, I can tell you that nothing beats competitive practice. The more you experience the match situation, the better you are at handling the pressure in the big moments. The easier it is to trust your technique.

It is a game of angles, a lot of them natural but some unnatural. At times you have to manipulate geometry. Trust me, it makes sense. It really does. Another thing that took my a long time to realise, it is hugely creative. You never face the same lay out or pattern twice, and you rarely play the same shot twice.

Pool has taught me a lot. Discipline, focus, controlling nerves, managing emotions, what the appearance of confidence can do (to me and an opponent), how to lose and maybe more importantly how to win. In more ways than just getting over the line.

A professional photo of me, about to pot a black ball and win our team a frame in a national competition.

There are other things that I enjoy. I like being outside and taking walks. I can take a short walk or an all day hike. I enjoy doing physical work outside and I kind of wish the gardening gig had gone down different but this world and self employed gardening were unlikely to mix, even without Covid in the back ground.

Photography is always something I have enjoyed to a point. I take pictures of things I like, mostly landscapes, occasionally flowers or animals. I only started sharing them because some family and friends said that they were good and should be shared. A couple got a lot of likes in a Facebook group and it was natural to share them on my X (Twitter) account as that started growing.

And golf, I am OK at it. I play with a handicap (my clubs!), seriously, my handicap is 19 at the moment. If I had the time to practice, and I mean have dedicated practice, then maybe I could be a single figure handicap, but it is a maybe. I believe I could be an elite pool player with daily practice, I am not sure I could have ever been an elite golfer, even with all the practice.

A picture on the way down from the top of Snowdon (Wales). We took about 26 hours to climb all three mountains. Slightly outside the target but a monumental achievement nonetheless. Our team raised a considerable amount of money for a local hospice by doing this. Something I am incredible proud of.

It's been nice writing about some hobbies and things that I enjoy. I definitely need to get back into being more active with some of them. I am good at some of them too. I am naturally competitive, but with myself not others. I want to be better than yesterday, or the best I can be and I hold myself accountable when I am not.

I hope you enjoyed the read today, I certainly enjoyed the write. Thank you for your time. Reconnect with an old hobby, with something you are good at or something that makes you smile. Enjoy your week and I will catch you in about a week's time.

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