Clean Your Room This Christmas

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I just wanted to thank you quickly for your support during this year. I had a pretty tough 2016, but it was made much much better by you guys. Your support helped me study and write more than I ever have before. We put out tons of webinars this year, hundreds of lessons, and even a book!

I never knew so much could get done in one year, but you guys motivated me every day to get to work. You also had such a good questions this year. I wouldn’t be 1/10th the player I am now without your constant prodding of my theories. That has been fun for me. I love waking up every day and having a professional, semi-pro, or serious amateur test my ideas each day. That keeps you expanding and improving. I just want to work harder in 2017 so more of you guys can experience the feelings I’ve had of poker mastery.

I wanted to write an exclusive article for you for the holiday season and also to say “hi!” after being out of the office so much the last few weeks, but I thought I’d just send you this thought.

Clean your room!

How dumb right? What simple advice.


Oh yeah, for those of you who haven’t heard, I final tabled WPT Prague. There were 166 people and I finished 8th, and it was a low buy-in, but I’m hanging onto that title “WPT Final Tablist” anyway!
But on a serious note: What got me through was my routines.

I showed up to Prague a day late because my connecting flight got delayed 15 hours. My Air BNB apartment had a broken washing machine, coffee machine, and internet connection. Sadly, none of this was anyone’s fault, so I had no one to blame.

Oh, and my bag was lost. When I called Air France they told me, “we don’t even know where it is!”

It would have been very convenient just to fly off into Tilt Land, but I didn’t have that luxury. Many of you purchased a percentage of my action in these events, and I wasn’t about to take that responsibility lightly.

So, I grounded myself: I made my bed.

If you learn nothing else from this article, learn this: Make your bed in the morning.

I thought this was so stupid when I first heard it, but during 2015 I tried to do it. The beauty of the practice, I found, was that you’d look at the great bed you’d have for the night and go, “hmmm…there’s that.” Every time you saw it, you’d feel better. “Hey, there’s one thing I did today.”

Making my bed led me to develop a very weird hobby. I began cleaning my home much more than before. I’ve always hired assistants and maids, but soon I forgot to call them.

I didn’t want to clean. That was the odd thing. I wanted to play Playstation.

However, having a clean house allowed me to calm down. To have my working and living area in order allowed me to know, “everything will be okay.” When chaos surrounds you during a crisis your natural instinct is that everything and everyone will turn into your surroundings.

It promotes sanity to keep your house clean. It’s like your basic hygiene. You don’t take care of it for others. You do it for yourself.

I took up this home cleaning habit in 2015 because I knew it’d help me during trying times, but what I didn’t expect was how much it would give me an advantage in poker.

Without clothes or coffee in a new confusing land with jet lag, I wanted just to lie down. Instead, I made my bed. I cleaned.

I was in somebody’s apartment on the other side of the world, but I took care of it as if it were my own. I started having fun with it as I found out more about the pad.

Talk radio, coffee, and cleaning my little Euro flat…it was heaven. Who gets to do things like this? Who else gets to travel and gamble around the world? Who else has to live by their wits, so they have to make sure their wits are about them?

Soon, the world made more sense.

Cleaning gave me the mental leverage to try and normalize my schedule more.

Feeling relaxed I went outside and got food for my meals. I simulated what I ate in Costa Rica, and sure enough, it started tricking my body into thinking I hadn’t traveled.

At night, I laid on a couch just like the one I have in Costa Rica. I watched college football, just like I would in Costa Rica.

I am not a doctor. I do not play one on TV. However, after my little experiment, I am convinced that the human body and mind are lovers of routine. Jet lag has always been an issue with my poker trips. I’ve never felt it less in my life than when I used habit and diet. If you could add an exercise routine as well, the effect would be even more pronounced.

This goes for the holidays as well. I’ve been a world-class grump on many Christmas mornings. I especially loathed the ones that saw me on the road.

This Christmas was not looking any different. Then, one day, I told myself, “just fake it a little.” So, I asked myself what a sane person would do for a family. I realized, “buy a Christmas tree” was at the top of that list. I got into an Uber, went to a hardware store at the edge of Prague, got into wild misunderstandings about the tree, and eventually got it home.

It was a pain in the ass. I didn’t want to do it at all. Similarly, I did not want to put the tree in its stand, water it, or decorate it.

Yet, when I was done…

I felt much better. This is a routine that my mind understands. Throughout my entire childhood, December was spent decorating for Christmas. It naturally becomes uncomfortable when such a deep tradition breaks.

Now, looking at this ugly ass excuse for Charlie Brown’s tree gives me great joy.

This is pretty much all there is to life, as far as I can tell.

Everyone is winging it.
We all know what we need to do to get where we want. We just don’t always put in the effort. It’s just a pain to wake up at 5:00 AM and go for a run. It’s more enjoyable to eat the cheeseburger. We’d rather watch Breaking Bad instead of studying hand histories.
 However, if we can choose to do the small things, then that momentum can propel us to the bigger-ticket items.

So, once again…

Make your bed.

Clean your room.

And Merry Christmas :)