Accepting the loss of online poker
I hate beginning blogs by saying “I apologize for not writing more often.” But the reality is, I really hate that I’ve been too depressed to put my fingers on the keyboard and just see what comes out of it. I think that the combination of having online poker taken away from me on April 15th, and being on the outside of the WSOP looking in, along with the acceptance of having to get a real job that pays only slightly less than minimum wage, finally just all caught up with me. The last couple of days have been somewhat of an acceptance that while I didn’t get what I wanted, I’ll just simply have to grab myself by my belt-loops and trudge through it all.
Let me first start out talking about the WSOP. It’s been pretty painful to watch all of my friends at the WSOP this year and realize that there is no way that I can join them. I’m not backed to play in events, and I don’t have a gig this year that would allow me to attend. My last ditch efforts and solicitations to bring my passion and knowledge of the games, and my abilities to some media outlet to cover the events just came up short. I couldn’t find a single source to bring me aboard for this year’s events, and I wasn’t financially capable of doing it on my own dime this year. So I was one of those “outside looking in” guys that got to watch everything take place without me. Now that the first 2 weeks are a memory, it’s hitting me that I really missed out. I’ll take some solace in the fact that I’m traveling out to Las Vegas with the family from June 28th – 30th, as we’ve got two nights comped. So the plan is to steal time away from the family for as many hours as they’ll let me to hang out at the Rio and see some of my friends. At least I should be able to get one day in…hopefully that will satisfy some of the loss.
It makes me thankful for my opportunity to visit the WSOP last year through the Twitter Poker Tour. It was an experience that I’ll never forget. I miss covering tournaments, but I knew that this was coming. When I left the Commerce Casino after the final table of the WPT LA Poker Classic earlier this year, I made a point to seek out Jay Newnum, Jess Welman, and B.J. Nemeth. I respect them a great deal and had to shake hands with them for what I thought could have been the last time. I said (and meant it) “I don’t know when the next time will be, so I wanted to say thanks and good luck. It’s been a pleasure.” I got kind of strange looks from each of them as I don’t think that they believed that this really would be the last time. I don’t know exactly what they were thinking, and perhaps they were too caught up in the last few moments of work that they had to really catch where I was at. But I remember walking out of the Casino that night saddened by thinking….this is probably it for me as a tournament reporter.
Then Black Friday hit. April 15th was a more depressing day for me than I realized. Some two months after Black Friday, I’m missing online poker terribly. I had goals for myself with online poker that began with a $50 deposit. Initially they were just financial goals and the hope was to run up the roll. First I worked the balance up to $100, then $500, then $1,000, and then onward. And while I attained all of those goals, I had this notion that perhaps one day, just maybe I’d be able to afford to attend, or at least satellite into a WSOP event. A conversation that I had with Traci a few nights ago really shed some light on this one. Over the last few months that I played online, I had one of those “Ah-ha!” moments, and really started winning. It wasn’t really so much of a heater, because there was variance tied into it, as it was a moment that allowed me to see everything happen before it was happening, and predict what my opponents had and how they were going to play me. My bankroll surged to a point it hadn’t ever been to, and then…wham. The DOJ indicts Stars/Tilt/Absolute and they shutdown my momentum. My dream of playing at a bigger tournament live with some of my roll….gone. And it happened so quickly and unexpectedly that I didn’t really have time to mourn its loss.
A few websites immediately contacted me desperate for the news of what was happening. “Give me articles about what’s going on,” they’d ask and I’d write as fast as my fingers would fly to inform people of the news of the situation. But as it is when you experience the unexpected death of someone close to you, there is a mourning process. First, the denial, then the anger, then the bargaining, then the depression, and finally the acceptance. I’ve had to move through that process with respect to online poker, as it’s really gone. I love the quote from the movie “Simon Birch,” that comes as a voice over. I don’t think a lot of people realized this quote when it was said, but it rings so true. “When someone you love dies, you don’t lose them all at once. You lose them in pieces over time, like how the mail stops coming. What I remember most to this day was my mother’s scent and how I hated it when it began to disappear. First from her closets, then from her dresses she had sewn herself and then finally from her bed sheets and pillow cases.” I loved playing online poker. I loved the game, the people, the social interaction, the friends, and the chase of that dream. And over the last two months, I’ve seen those things fade away. So, just like the death of someone close to me, the loss of online poker hit me very hard.
The articles that I wrote really satisfied my denial, putting off the reality of what I’d lost. I threw a couple of blogs together venting my venom. I was pissed that it happened but everyone was so deeply affected by it that I tried to rationalize the loss. Then the depression kicked in. This lasted a little more than a month. It has so completely consumed me that it has spilled over into other areas of my life. But hopefully, I’m starting to come out of it.
I’m having to give up on the notion of becoming a poker player and a member of the poker media. As much as I loved those titles, it’s just not me anymore. I’ll miss it terribly as I see people that I know and respect continue to thrive, and I feel genuine happiness for them. But I don’t think that I’ll ever really have the opportunity to live that lifestyle, as (cliché time), it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I’m not going to give up on being a fan of the game, or the hope that things may change somewhere in the future. But for now, I’ve accepted the fact that I’m going to have to focus on being a sales guy at a retail store for $11 per hour…until something better comes along.
With all that said, I want to blog some more on some other topics, but I really wanted to break the ice and get this one up.