Musings on Poker and Other Stuff
My 15th Bday
Going to Vegas when I was 15
Going to Mexico w a girlfriend at 16
Picnic at 19
My 22nd Bday
(getting a tattoo)
My bro and I in a parking lot. NOT FAIR. He did nothing for that.
One of the pleasures of living in the City of Entertainment is all the, wait for it......Entertainment. Heath and I have enjoyed so many awesome shows and days of fun. I remember one of the first days we lived together officially he asked me, "Do you like roller coasters?". Ummmmm, obviously! We hopped in the car and rode the coaster at the New York, New York until we were sick. I've seen almost every CIrque show, tons of comedy and lots of good bands. One of the recent things Heath and did was sign up for Fillaseat. Basically you can see shows in Vegas for free because they want the audience to be full. It makes the people who paid feel like they got a better value.
On Friday we went to see The Price is Right. I never really watched it growing up so I wasn't sure what to expect. But Jerry Springer was hosting, so I was clearly chanting, "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry." He did not disappoint.
I had a blast! Just like the Marriage can be Murder we saw at the Fitzgeralds the week before.
So many things that I expect to be kitchy or lame are actually so much fun.
I guess part of it is having a partner that is down to do those things too. It is so important to find someone who can let themselves be silly and do something not "cool." I love that. I Love doing things that people don't expect. I love being in an audience where the median age is 65. And still laughing my face off. I can't wait for what is up this week.
Oh this week, I'm leaving on friday for a cruise so I might be missing a blog or two while I'm gone. Be back before Xmas!!
Yep, home games are where it all started for me. It is where I really fell in love with poker. It is where I saw just how much fun it can be. I used to think dinner was the only way to sit 9 people around a table and make em talk for a few hours. Well, I learned you can get more than 9 people around a table and have 'em all laughing for 5 hours if you get a home game going. After one of my best friends Newt taught me a trick or two and I started getting a bit more comfortable...we amped up the fun. I've always loved playing dress up.
That is my full on "I wanna be Doyle look." But when I'm really trying to score a poker face, this is a no brainer.
Well, as much as I love home games. Turns out it is quite an art to get them together. You have to get people at the right time, that like to play poker, not too many, not too few, people who like each other, competitive people, a designated driver or two, etc. So, I think it had been almost a year since I had a home game. And in reflecting on who I would invite and how I would get it together, I realized a lot of my circle had not only changed, but grown. Before I would invite someone and tell them to invite their room mate or whatever, just to fill out the game. This time, I knew I had a core 6 people that would have my home game back for sure.
Now, while there were a few differences from the home games of yore. For example: the amount of money amassing in the middle, the fact that people only brought hundreds and the sick three-barrel bluffs being call with 9 high. The game had the same thing at its core; good friends, tons of food, drinks, drunks and of course POKER. And inevitably it ended up the same.
My friends are evolving. They becoming more and more the poker community. And I guess if I've learned anything it is that although poker friends may no be reliable in everything. You can count on them to come to your home game and bring their A-game. I feel so blessed to have found the core clan: a strategy hostess, a UFC fighter turned poker player, a super-nova elite, a cash grinder, a PokerStar, and the woman who made me love poker. BOOM. I'll see you guys at the next one. And um, lets not go play cash after next time. LOL.
Oh what a difference a few years makes. Three years almost exactly that I started shooting "Sex, Blood and Fights" aka. Never Surrender and my life changed forever via The Texas Crazy Horse. But I got a little blast from the past weekend when two parts of the 4 part hipster crew that was Nads, Aubs, Manlunas and Sarah Grant came to Vegas. I think this was the party where we all officially started what would be two years I politely refer to as 1001 Drunken Nights. Obviously it wasn't 1001, but this isn't a math blog.
Los Angeles is a crazy town. I can't say for everyone, but for me, when I was in it, I thought the City of Angels was the ONLY city. I thought our hipster clubs and blogs and bars were the only place really cool people were. I thought our world was so unique. I thought free PBR and Colt 45 were a diet fit for a King. I thought paying marked up prices for a jacket at a thrift store made sense, since, geez, it was really vintage. I also thought I was living the dream.
Turns out, I was pretty broken. Turns out I never felt as cool or sheek or pretty as my hip little counter parts. Turns out, being a vegan didn't make me skinny. Turns out if I'm left to my own devices, I will strive on the outside, but I self destruct on the inside.
Double take, yes, those are the same two girls with only three years of history separating the pix. It was funny seeing these girls again, now, years later. I realized how important we were to each others' sanity. That amongst a sea of fist pumping bitches, we shared an understanding. We shared with each other an honest version of ourselves. Flipping through pix of club camera websites and free music downloads of the hottest new DJ, we somehow managed to share our collective brokenness and turn it into 1001 drunken nights.
WOW, I have to say it again, what a difference three years makes. But let's be honest, the night in my new home, Sin City, was no different. I ended up at home at 9am. Growing up doesn't mean you can't still party hard. I guess it just feels like you don't NEED to. No matter how strong I pretended to be and thought I was at 23, I've realized there is a certain strength that only time can give you. There are certain lessons that only growing older can teach you. And one is: you are not as cool as you think you are!!! But you are likely more beautiful than you realize.
Just in case that wasn't emo enough for you....at the end of the day I can count these girls amongst the people who have shaped me and the people who have shared a part of me I don't think will ever return. With each new chapter in all of our lives we are finding new mates, new loves, new jobs, and new cities for that matter. But, if I don't see them again for 20 years (I hope that never happens), I will always treasure the time we shared and consider these bitches best friends.
Basically I have brought you all up to speed to the point at which I arrive back in Sin City. This was about a year and a half ago and where my life moves to the felt....sort of. I spent several month prepping movies I was never going to shoot. I also started a talent agency to represent my boyfriend and other fighters in the film business. At the time it seemed like a perfect idea: I had all the connections in the film world and all the fighters' managers were terrible. This too, would take a back seat however once I fell hard for PokerNews. I still represent Heath. So all the time and money that went into starting that agency wasn't a complete waste. But my future was not going to be in the managing of fighting actor types, or even the managing of film sets. To quote Kristy Arnett, my future was, "to be semi-famous on the internet."
I was randomly sifting through Craigslist.org one day. I'm not 100% sure what, but as my thesis has been so far in this blog, I trust my gut and it never leads me too far astray. I saw an ad looking for a production assistant for the World Series of Poker. Coming from a production background I thought I might be able to take my skill set and learn a new trade. I was interested in poker and wiling to start at the bottom if need be to merge into this world as seamlessly as I had film. I interviewed with Matt Parvis, Tinsley and Topper. Topper gave me the thumbs up, but Topper is a lover, so I don't think that impressed. I waited. After a few days though, I got a call and as long as GloBalls didn't reject me...I was in for the WSOP. Sometime mid-week I got the call that GloBalls wasn't repulsed by me. I would start on Monday.
But I had to get through the weekend before that happened. My thought was, 'Sweet, let's party cause it's nose to the grindstone after this.' Some friends from Palm Springs were coming up to visit. And by friends, I mean a DJ (DJ Madd Matt) and some DJ groupie he had picked up on the way up. The whole thing is bit blurry. I have an openness problem. I want to share everything. Yet, there are people in my life who prefer a bit of privacy. I digress. Suffice it to say that the weekend ended on Sunday with me punching the refrigerator in my apartment and breaking my hand.
Here I was about to start this new life in the poker world and I had to start out my day by going to the doctor to see what the damage was. In an attempt to do it cheaply I went to a Doctor friend Heath had from his fighting days. Sadly though, he could not help me except to say, 'yes it is broken.' The break was bad and I had broken it several times before. In fact, I had some sets of screws in there. I needed surgery. But I didn't want to have to call my new boss and say, "Thanks for hiring me. I might have to take a few days off for surgery." I begged the doctor to set it and set me free. She set it.
Next mission was to do a good job at my new job while taking pain killers and typing with only my left hand. I actually just found my notes from the Series last year and was laughing because they looked like the scribbles of a child--they were written with my left hand. I went back to the doc the next week and she said my hand had shifted. It really needed surgery, but it was the last possible degree where she could let it slide if I insisted. I already felt like this job was perfect for me, so I told her to let it slide. My hand is kind of funny now. It sticks out a bit and is super sensitive. It doesn't always work right. I call it my special hand. It gives me character.
Turns out, the poker world LOVES characters.
I served my community and met some really crazy, and also some really awesome kids along the way. I returned to California for court and had my case dismissed. Finally that chapter was over, but I wasn't exactly sure what the new chapter would be. I was living with Heath and helping him through a pretty intense training program. His trainer was having all these family problems, (once again it was a blessing disguised as a curse), and so his trainer would email me the program and I would make Heath's meals and make sure that he got to the gym on time, etc. Fighters are like babies during training. Their bodies and minds are so haggard that you just have to lead them from one strenuous activity to another, to a meal, to another body bruising two hours, followed by some protein. According to one of his trainers from Holland he wasn't doing enough. In Holland they just destroy you, Heath was very familiar with this as he lost 50 lbs when he first moved to Holland at 21. His American trainer however thought he was pushing it too hard and that his body was breaking down. As it turned out, he was training too hard. He developed Bronchitis about 6 weeks out from his scheduled fight with Cain Valasquez. Heath has asthma and the doctors determined that traveling to Germany for the fight would put his immune system at risk of developing Pneumonia. Thus, after six months of intense training, we had to throw in the towel.
The universe continued to guide us in ways we never could have predicted on our own. The lease was ending on our crazy house. An opportunity presented itself for Heath to invest in a restaurant/bar called the Tilted Kilt in Palm Springs. Heath played poker with a guy who was part-owner and pretty soon we were in a UHaul on our way to Palm Springs. We were given a gorgeous place to live minus the fact that it is a retirement community. Check out the house we left behind in Vegas.
The bar was fun. I mean I'm like a kid in a candy store if you offer me free booz. Although there were some down sides. I have always said that fighters are like catnip for skanks.
And the Tilted Kilt is basically Hooters...so it wasn't always pretty. But I'll throw down. (drink) J/K Anyways, I left for 6 weeks to do a movie. Don't worry though, I got Heath on the movie, so he got to come for most of it. Woop. Woop. When we got back I took a job at an organic cafe. At first I felt like I was going backwards career wise. Then I realized it isn't always about forward or backward, it's about what fits right now. I didn't have a part in the Tilted Kilt business besides following my boyfriend to Palm Springs and drinking all their profits...so it made sense to do something else. I am the kind of person that has to do SOMETHING.
Towards the end of our six moths in Palm Springs Heath started playing a lot of poker. When he was home, he was up until 6am playing online. When he was with his friends he was playing live. It didn't take long before I wasn't able to have an engaging conversation with him because his mind was so focused on poker. After fighting it for months I finally decided to read a poker book. He had some appearances in Las Vegas, so I sat down at my first real poker table. I cleaned up.
I'm pretty sure that is what happens to most people...or at least all of us that got hooked. It doesn't take a genius to make that connection. What I enjoyed the most was watching Heath play online and talking about why he was doing certain things. Pretty soon we were debating choices together. And not too long after that we were on our way back to the City of Sin. That six months was a tough time for Heath and I. But we came out of it much stronger in ourselves and in each other. And finally both of us were into poker.