Kristy Arnett: “I Definitely Underestimated the Mental Grind”

Kristy Arnett_poker-night-in-americaThis spring the popular reporter and host Kristy Arnett quit her job at PokerNews to pursue other dreams. One of them was to explore, what it was like to be on the other side of the camera – as a professional poker player. In the latest episode (# 97) of The Thinking Poker Podcast  Andrew Brokos and Nate Meyvis caught up with Arnett to hear, how she’s been doing at the felt and what her plans are for the future.

A Tough Start
In the very interesting and honest conversation Arnett talks about the ups and downs of trying to grind it out as a professional player and her lack of financial success at this year’s WSOP:

It’s not been smooth sailing that’s for sure (…) I cashed in a couple of tournaments, but certainly not enough to play the events, that I wanted. So what I did was I put together a package. It was a 20k package, which included the Main Event, the Monster Stack, the Ladies Event and some Venetian events. Basically the biggest soft field tournaments and the most value I could find.

Unfortunately Arnett didn’t cash in any of the seven tourneys, she played, and even though she acknowledge the horrendous variance in tournaments, the lack of results made her question her ability as a poker player:

It was really a tough introduction to playing as a pro and a tough summer, ‘cause I was playing cash games as well and that was okay, but I definitely underestimated the mental grind, the physical aspect of it, playing all day, or all day and a half and not cashing (…). At what point do you say: “maybe I shouldn’t be so confident, maybe I shouldn’t”. I’m evaluating my game along the way, but I guess my question is: When is it appropriate to take a look at that?

After the summer Arnett says she felt really embarrassed. She had been staked to play the WSOP by friends and people who believed in her, and not having a return of investment for them was hard. Arnett goes on to talk about “the chip on her shoulder”, her super competitive personality, which always makes her want to prove herself to people:

I became so obsessed with like proving it to people and maybe proving it to me or people around me. I realized that I wasn’t getting vulnerable enough when it came to my mistakes, ‘cause I wanted to prove everyone so much, that I would not bring up the hand that I knew I should really be talking about.

Dig Deep and Learn
At some point Arnett realized that her ego got in her way, and that she had to be honest and vulnerable and ask for help to become a better player. She decided to “dig deep and learn” and concentrate more on playing cash games. She started to learn and take advice from her husband, Andrew Moreno, who’s also plays poker for a living, and to analyze the pots she played. She began to set up goals and she decided to play 35 hours a week and dedicate five hours to learning (podcasts, videos, books).

Even though it’s been a rough start, Arnett says she is very happy playing poker, and that it gives her time to figure out what else she wants to accomplish, and what her purpose in life really is: “I don’t think my purpose is playing poker, but it’s a passion of mine.”

You can listen to the rest of the very honest interview with Kristy Arnett here and read more about her thoughts on poker and a healthy lifestyle on her blog.

Photo: Poker Night in America/888Poker.

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