Borgata Reflections
September 19, 2021

As the Atlantic City skyline fades below the horizon behind me and the limo that is taking me to Newark airport right now, I can't help but reflect at the stark contrasts in my life between now and then. Back in 2004, about 13 months after becoming unemployed/poker professional, I used the Borgata Poker Open as an excuse to come to Philly and visit this girl I met in Vegas on a random evening. We spent most of the trip at her parent's vacation house in Brigantine, which is a small island about 3 miles from the Borgata, just up the road. I came with $1500 which was all the cash to my name, and lost it all in one eight hour session of 20-40 LHE, busted again.

This time I came with $450 in my pocket and a $10k check from the Bellagio. Turns out that if you put a check in your back pocket and your ass does a little sweatin', the gum on the envelope will moisten and seal, and it happened to seal to the face of my check, and thus was no good at the Borgata. No problem though, I still manage to lose $32k of money that was not mine on the same trip that one of my friends becomes a millionaire. I stayed in a room that cost me $2k, changed a flight for $300, and am getting a $240 ride to the airport right now. Poker News

My how we've grown. Back then I sat in the audience for a special show of the cast of Trading Spaces and American Chopper and cherished the black WPT chip that was my ticket as a souvenir (I still have it). This year they didn't even have Vince or Mike there for the taping, for the first time ever, and I sat in the front row and was interviewed, playing props on colors of the flop and key cards.

It's been quite an adventure, and I think I need to embrace it more. I am very lucky, very blessed, and very fortunate to be sitting in the exact spot that I am sitting in. I have a skill in this game of poker that has granted me the ability to never again have a job, boss, or schedule, all while maintaining a decent income level. I have the freedom with my career to live anywhere I want, travel anytime I want, and work anytime I want. I know that many of y'all reading this live vicariously through this blog and would love to live the life as a professional poker player, yet I have been unhappy with what I'm doing for a while now.

I think I figured out why. I think that I've never truly accepted online poker as where I'm supposed to be right now. I look back and think about how I got to where I am at, and it surely wasn't by my choice that's for sure. I ended up in poker in the first place because I needed to find a way to make rent money quick and somehow did. Then I somehow ended up in tournaments, somehow convinced somebody to stake me, somehow took 2nd in my first WSOP event, and somehow ended up here. I live my live very impulsively and in the moment, and five years later I'm 27, wondering what I'm going to do with my life.

This trip I accepted that this is what I am doing with my life, and that is good. I somehow felt that what I have been doing as a poker player is not a good thing for the world, that in certain aspects could even be possibly considered shameful. I'm sure you can imagine all those aspects, especially considering my background with the church.

A friend of mine said to me this week some quote that was really simple like, "Where you are is where you are," or something silly like that, but the point is what made it's way to my heart: I am here. Cool. Don't worry about being somewhere else, cause you're not there right now. Worry about there when you get there. Worry about tomorrow when it comes. I definitely see myself with at least another three years in poker full time, so time to start embracing it again. By embracing it I will therefore invest myself into it more, but in the ways that make my soul happy, not in the ways that make my pockets deep. I want to talk about matters of the heart and spirit more here and with the people that I spend time with. I want to consider daily how I may improve the lives of those around me first. I want to stop stressing over the things that I cannot control, whether it be the two outer for a scoop or the $50 comp that expires after 24 hours.

I want some normality to my life. I want to play softball every Monday night, even though there's a good $1k tourney that night. I want to start grocery shopping and cooking, keeping a clean house hire a maid, and set up automatic bill pay from my checking account. I want to play cash games more, and on a somewhat regular schedule.

Speaking of cash games, there's a 150-300 OE game at the Borgata that owes me a lot of money. I ended up putting 30 hours into that juicy ass game and lost in the neighborhood of $12k in it. I mean, that is only a 40 bet downswing in what was probably 1200 hands or so, something that is menial online, but when you don't get the chance to play cash games very often, and furthermore when you only come to the east coast once a year, it's quite deflating, especially after 3.5 months of getting killed. On that note I'm officially into my first $100k + downswing. My previous record was set Aug-Jan 07/08, when I lost something like 80k with only a small winner in November. Streaky ass game this poker thing.

Con-fucking-gradulations to Vivek Rajkumar, my FLOG (favorite little online guy) who won the Borgata main last night. He did it in quickest fashion ever, 48 hands and 3.5 total hours on set. He also ran like Chris Johnson, sucking out in the two biggest spots to win, although they were standard spots. The entire final table should be evidence of what a skill game poker is, as the best hand held up like one time and I think Vivek had it. We went to dinner, went to the B-Bar, and we drank the night into oblivion. 1.4 mirrion. So sweet.

So, still headed north on the Garden State Parkway, gonna get home this evening, have to retrieve my car from the Palazzo without a valet ticket, and then I'm playing the 10k HORSE tomorrow and 5k main on Sunday on Stars. I'm psyched for both - sweat badbeatninja in sometime this weekend if you get bored.

Peace and good luck,


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