Someone once said that when things are bad they're never as bad as they seem and, conversely, when things are good they're never as good as they seem. As with so many philosophies this one applies to poker as well as life in general.
We need to keep things is perspective as poker players. I see two extremes in play every day in the poker world: People that think they have it figured out because of some recent success or sometimes some long ago success and people that think they just can't cut it because they haven't yet won "the big one". Both are usually wrong. Just because you made three final tables in a row at your local tournament or won a big tournament at your local series that doesn't make you an "up and coming star". Conversely, just because you haven't yet won the Main Event that doesn't mean you don't know what you're doing.
I've played against some of the biggest names in poker, played several times against one of the "up and coming stars of poker" (labeled as such because he won a couple of big tournaments a few years ago) and have played numerous times against an older retired guy at the Beau who just plays poker for fun in his retirement. I know you saw this one coming but it is the retired guy that I most dread seeing at my table. He plays good solid poker and is consistently successful. You won't get rich off him.
The big name poker players are well known because they have had success on the big stage. Don't get me wrong....success on the big stage warrants some respect but I've found the biggest difference between these guys and some of your local rounders is that the big names have had plenty of opportunities to perform on the big stage. It's hard to win bracelets if you don't often get to play in bracelet events.
The poker world is full of young professionals. We play with them all the time, particularly when we're playing circuit events. Usually somewhere along the line they've won a big tournament or two and now believe that they're better than most of the people in the tournament. They're usually wrong. The "up and comer" that I mentioned earlier is one of these guys. He's a really nice guy and a pretty good poker player but I've played at several tables with him and almost always get the best of him. He has even mentioned that he hates to see me at the table. Does that mean I'm some sort of poker whiz? That's an emphatic "NO". That means he's human--not to be feared.
The older guy I mentioned above is one of the regulars at the Beau. As I said he plays good solid poker. Nothing flashy about him. He never has been nor never will be a "professional poker player" but he's been playing poker longer than most of us have been alive and he's learned a few things along the way.
We all need to constantly evaluate our game and always strive for improvement. Just don't get too high on yourself because you've had a good run and don't get too down on yourself just because you're on a bad run. That's just poker.
See you at the tables.