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On a personal level 2011 was an extremely difficult year for me. I’m sure it has been a trying year not just for me, but also for those that dealt with the shock of Black Friday and what that would mean for their livelihood. My issues had very little to do with poker. I wasn’t happy with my results for the year, a lack of consistency saw big holes in terms of cashes and wins at certain parts of the year, more specifically, at the WSOP and WSOPE respectively. There is absolutely no question that my personal life had an effect on my ability to focus. I’m only human, and when one is distracted by things going on in their life, poker just takes a back seat at times.
I don’t really believe in regret. I don’t really have any, because even the most awful experiences can be a source of great strength for you provided you learn from past mistakes and avoid repeating the same behaviors.
I think the hardest thing to deal with is the fact that sometimes you are going to have bad days, but when you are in the public eye, you can’t really afford too many of them without being branded a complete jerk. So, you are kind of forced to bottle things up at times, but an unfortunate byproduct of that is that eventually bottling up feelings can cause you to blow, or lash out in other ways. Rarely does it have anything to do with the petty issue you are so upset about, its just a way of releasing some pent up anger and frustration inside you.
I’d catch myself doing that from time to time and feel pretty silly about it. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t realize where the outburst was coming from until it was too late.
In early July someone recommended a book to me that helped me realize and understand how the mind works and how to better cope with things. It’s an Eckhart Tolle book (he also wrote The Power of Now) called A New Earth, also on Oprah’s book club list.
I can’t, in this blog, do a synopsis of the book justice, but I will say that the key concept of the book relates to ego, understanding that we all have one, being aware of how it affects your decisions, and also helps to understand others who are clearly motivated by their own issues with ego. It makes forgiveness and acceptance easier as well.
During the main event this year there is literally no chance I would have been able to make it as deep as I did had I not been reading the book so regularly. It really helped me maintain focus on the game when my mind would continually try to wander off somewhere painful/self destructive.
Since July I spent two months straight in Europe, and as I’ve mentioned in past blogs it completely drained me both mentally and physically. It was too long for me to be living out of a suitcase and I won’t take extended trips like that again without at least a few days of rest at home.
I haven’t really felt like “myself” in the last couple years, and I’m not talking about my poker game, although confidence is a big part of playing well. My close friends noticed, and while I tried to hide it from the public I think some of you may have noticed as well. I think that’s why the awards actually meant a lot to me.
I’ve really turned the corner the last few months and finally feel like I’m completely back to my old self again. Very happy in my own skin, extremely confident, and harboring far less anger than I once dealt with.
I’m getting a bit off track here and I could easily turn this blog into a book, so I’ll close with a genuine thank you to all those who voted for me. I appreciate the love. Here is to an awesome 2012. I’m in Vegas now, just returning from an awesome trip to the PCA in Bahamas and have decided to go to Melbourne for the Aussie Millions for the first time in a few years. Looking forward to that, and many other fun trips in the coming months before WSOP, possibly:
San Jose So much for “traveling less in 2012!” Truth is, I’m ready to get out there again and see the world with a new perspective. I haven’t written a blog like this one in a while. I’m debating pressing send… still debating, humming, hawing, OK, why the hell not! ]]>