My entire young adult life, as well as my time playing poker, has been an exercise in getting the maximum, while giving the minimum. This isn’t to say that I’ve had a perfect life, or that I’ve experienced all of the things I hope to experience (not even close), nor that I’ve never put in any work at anything. I’ve simply mastered GETTING BY. I was lucky enough to be born with a pretty decent set of genes, leaving me naturally skinny with a great metabolism, as well as intelligent, with an incredible disposition for numbers. I managed to combine these gifts with an ability to do just enough to GET BY.
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
This saying manifested itself a few different ways in my life. I’ve spent 28 years eating terribly; I’ve always just kind of ate, with no regard for what or when. Growing up rail-thin, I never thought twice about it. I’ve spent my entire life being fairly well-liked by people who know me, and capable of dishing and taking a good natured insult pretty damn well. I considered myself a sharp, street smart individual. Most importantly, there’s poker.
Poker has always come fairly easy to me – from home games with my buddies as a teen, to playing 24-hour straight trips in Atlantic City and grinding MTTs online and playing live tournaments – I’ve just always been able to come out a winner and make money without busting my ass to be successful. From mid-2014 to mid-2015, I did work pretty hard at the game, and a confluence of that and a pretty sick run of luck ended with me winning a million dollars!
Looking back, that period of hard work was more an outlier than anything else. Beforehand, and ESPECIALLY since, I’ve never worked hard at anything. To get to the point here, after my extreme luck in April 2015 I coasted for the next 9 months, flying around the world, having fun and doing well. I made a bunch of money and new friendships, and was so happy.
You probably already knew where this was headed. From mid-February through the end of November, it’s been a “poker Murphy’s Law.”
I’ve been on the first REAL downswing of my life, and this one has cost almost $150k. Some of my poker-related issues have been utter devoid of confidence, inability to focus, constant feelings of frustration, and expectations of doom. This has also coincided with me gaining weight and becoming out of shape, as well as a feeling that the solidarity of playing poker professionally – combined with my lack of a formal education and evolving social circles as I crawl through my twenties – has caused me to lose some of my sharpness and wit, as well as being, honestly, less interesting. It has been a weird fall from grace, especially because my nature is to be wildly positive, upbeat and happy. This summer was particularly rough, with the dual realities of how awesome my life was and how miserable I was to be losing EVERY DAY. I found myself complaining about bad luck, from bad beats and bad players, to things as silly as misdeals and table draws, things I had always vowed to never care for as they were out of my control. I was looking in every direction to find someone or something else to blame for my destruction, when it was so clearly a path of self-destruction the whole time.
The (Hopefully) Comeback
I suppose I’m writing this partly to relate to other players and show them that these things happen, even to the most positive, happy and blessed of people. AND there is nothing wrong with being honest about your issues!
I write this partly as an admittance to myself, partly as a public declaration of intent, and partly because about a week ago, between some really moving conversations I had and some reading I completed, I had a moment of clarity of sorts. I am so blessed to have the people in my life that I do, and they have helped me so much in all of this, especially my family and girlfriend. I realized immediately that it all needed to change, and now.
I have started my hopeful transformation in various ways. I’ve begun adhering to many principles taught by Tim Ferris, mad genius and author of many amazing self-help books (that explanation surely sells him short), who also wrote the “4 hour diet” the book that led to my father losing 50+ pounds and changing his life.
My diet has completely changed – for the good! Gone are fried foods, grains, potatoes, juice, soda, etc. Also gone are the 2:00 am meals. I’ve begun going to the gym for 30 min of cardio every day in hopes and preparation of soon becoming a gym rat. I’m forming a real plan to get back into shape, and I’m starting it by getting moving.
I’ve reminded myself of the wonder of reading. A good old fashioned book, not that e-book shit. I’ve started taking informal massive open online courses (MOOCs) in hopes of rediscovering true learning. I’ve set my roots a little bit in life, getting apartments in both New Jersey and Florida, in the hope of slowing down my mind and acquiring a measure of peace. I’ve taken up meditation and mindfulness, which I have major hopes for. I’ve taken a hiatus from poker, promising myself not to play another hand of poker until January 2017. In short, I’m taking life by the horns, promising myself that I won’t look back after today and say that I didn’t give poker, and life, everything I had. I’m also hoping that I will rediscover my true love of the game of poker, as well.
I hope to use this blog in the future to update people with how I’m doing in my process, what I’ve learned, how I’m applying it, how it is all going, tips and tricks I can pass along, and yes, even poker content. We’re given one life. I’m just trying to make mine as amazing as possible.
p.s. I hope no part of this blog comes off as complaining in any way. I am fully aware how lucky and blessed I am. Poker has treated me really well! Everything in life is a learning experience. I’m simply hoping that sharing my stories can help someone, in some way.
Funny, that person just may end up being me 🙂