Most of the recent blogs have been more focused. This isn’t going to be one of those.
Some people have commented that I sound way different in some recent blogs, like a wannabe Buddha. I guess when you’re reading a bunch of philosophy books you take on the same writing style. I found it clearer to state my ideas in that fashion. In normal life I run my mouth for long periods of time. It’s nice to say something succinctly once in a while.
Life has been alright. I’m a little bored with tournament poker. I have had a lot of results recently but by in large I’m still struggling to produce. I think I’m learning more than I’ve ever have – which just makes me all the more puzzled.
Since I’ve started taking my meds my decisions while playing a few tables have gotten much better but my multitasking seems to be a little tougher. I used to 20 table all day for six days a week like it was nothing. It just kind of kept me sane. Now I get groggier deep in the session…like a puny mortal.
I still love to play and by in large feel like I’m playing well. I just haven’t been running the best I ever have in my career. I’m not really worried about it. I always end up winning a few things and then I get to go, “oh boy, guess I’m smart again.”
I was reading that recent article Phil Galfond wrote about Isildur1. It was very interesting. I was struck by Galfond describing Viktor Blom as a kid in an arcade with a roll full of quarters.
When I was 17 I would sleep three hours a lot of nights I was so excited to play poker in a home game or online. For my 18th birthday I played at a cardroom the whole night and then showed up to high school on zero sleep. I lost often, but always had money, and at some point it just really started coming in. I loved poker so much.
As I got older my ability to make money never seemed to go away. That wasn’t because I was good. It’s just who I am. A dog chases his tail for the same reasons. If I was broke I was not above waking up at 6:00 AM when the games were soft and playing 100 NL. I didn’t consider it a choice. This was what I did.
When I was in Seoul I grinded at cafes and in PC Rooms, where Starcraft kids would eventually leave their games to watch me 20 table on Cake in its infancy. When I was in Dublin I drank Guinness and grinded in a pub. When my laptop wasn’t working in Egypt I went to a restaurant and played Basra.
The odd thing is I don’t really recall loving to play these games most of the time. I’d do it, pretty much anywhere on Earth, but when a game became purely about chance or gambling I’d completely check out. When I started losing I’d get really bored. If there was something to do in the country I’d usually try that.
I had a hard time focusing on anything. Games just took the edge off, and gave me money to never get a real job.
At some point poker became really monotonous. I stopped taking my meds and started smoking all day every day. In my deluded thoughts I enjoyed the game more but my focus was gone. Without my crutches, I hated to play.
In my stupor I amassed a fortune that, by my financial standards now, seems like the fortune of a kingdom. It seems like a another person in another life handled that money, because I never felt it. Games were games again – provided my real mind wasn’t there to get in the way. I wanted to get my high score. Money had nothing to do with it.
When I eventually tried to quit everything after going broke I found I couldn’t beat 50 NL.
I realized I wasn’t enjoying the game as much as when I started because I wasn’t doing anything different. I began studying and teaching each day. Poker became fun again. Then I won another six figures. Then Full Tilt happened, and I downswinged and poorly invested the rest.
Since that time I have done well, albeit without any real major results. Sober and working hard each day I’ve amassed some. I just don’t feel like a kid in an arcade anymore. It’s fun, more fun than it’s been in years, but I really admire a guy like Isildur1 who is still dying to play each day.
Still, I have more love for poker than pretty much anyone I know. I was living out of my friend’s garage listening to SWAT hit my block for the third time in a month when I started playing cards. I felt like God gave me an impossibly large gift in the independence it granted me. To just go for a night run in Everett and then play cards when I wanted to made me feel like the richest man.
Now that I’m getting older I’m realizing how disconnected I’ve always been in the midst of all I’ve been grateful for. When I left my home in high school a friend of mine’s family let me rent out their garage. How did I repay them? By blasting my music all night and hogging their internet connection with torrents. Did it even hit me how weird that was? Nope.
I remember certain situations. One time I got the shit kicked out of me and got my shoes stolen. As I walked the Maltese streets in the early morning looking like some deranged homeless person…not at any point did I feel out of place or weird.
But a normal interaction with a person at the post office could make my hairs stand on end.
Other times I forgot that I cared. Then I’d start saying things to see if I could get a rise out of them.
Later I’d feel bad, but deep inside I’d think, “I don’t understand a lot of this.”
My neurologist says this is classic Asperger’s. Then he did the tests and put me on the meds, and my life completely changed for the better. I just didn’t want to admit I was on some autistic spectrum disorder thang.
I’m really happy now but life isn’t as sharp around the edges. I envied Isildur1 reading that article. I remember when life to me seemed like one giant ass game of Shenmue. I didn’t get risk of ruin or anything. I just ran with whatever, and experienced extreme highs when I broke from my vacant stretches. I was a lightweight, what can I say?
I don’t look older than 24 but I can feel now what I put my body through. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ who gives me strength every day, but I really beat the crap out of my mind.
I feel good. Really good. It’s just different now. I’m having fun some days and other days its more of a battle with myself.
I try to involve myself as much with the culture as possible. I try to do as many lessons as I can, not just for financial stability, but to be in constant contact with fiery up-and-comers. I’m making it a point to watch more of my friends deep runs and cheer them on. I’m trying to update Twitter and Facebook often, keep up with blogs, and in general try to show appreciation for my job.
It seems to be working financially and spiritually, so I think I’ll keep at it.
My Plugs: Check out my vids at Pocketfives Training, contact me for lessons at email@example.com, see other stuff I write with my friends at www.pokerheadrush.com, and follow my Twitter at TheAssassinato