Musings on Poker and Other Stuff
I would argue that I am mostly a hippie. I go crazy for things like blind horses that need homes, or abuses to the environment. I am very active fighting for mostly bleeding heart causes. And still, the most amazing thing about humans is our ability to adapt to things entirely new to us. And what I am realizing is that I might have sold myself short on a lot of possible interests. By deciding that I am a certain kind of person or into a certain kind of thing, I might totally miss out on the things that make being an individual so amazing.
Some of the things that I never had an overt interest in have been some of the most exciting and rewarding interests or hobbies in my life. For example, when I first went to Thailand I planned on just beaching it up. But when I met a group of Thai people that were going to the South to teach climbing, I decided to go with them. They taught me to climb. It wasn't something I had ever really considered doing. It became one of the most rewarding things I ever did. By virtue of letting myself be open to something totally new, I discovered a sleeping part of myself.
Poker is one of those things also. And ironically, something which has now also started to define me in some ways. It wasn't something I was pulled to at all. But once I gave it a chance (really to be able to have a conversation with my boyfriend), my eyes were open to all the intricacies I was ALL IN so to speak. The more I learn about it. The more I love it. And if you would have asked me 5 years ago if I wanted to play Hold Em, I probably wouldn't have known what you were talking about. However, allowing myself to be open to the possibility that it might be some hidden talent I just hadn't discovered yet, I found another love.
Most recently I stumbled upon shooting. I am a constitutionalist. So when I heard that the powers that be were working on ways to take away the 2nd amendment, I thought, what the heck...I'll get a concealed carry permit. I never had the intention of getting a gun. I just wanted to get the permit so that if I ever wanted one, I would have gone about it in a very safe and legal way. The CCW class totally blew me away. All the laws and rules and situations were fascinating. Even more than that, this whole culture that seemed to feel people who didn't own guns were strange. I ended up shooting nearly perfect on my test. And yet again, I had found something I never would have expected that just adds to the core I "think" is me. I can be a mystery even to myself I guess. Constantly evolving by letting myself be shaped by the people and possibilities around me.
I got my first gun last weekend and am already signed up for a Tactical shooting course.
If you would have told me even one year ago I would be doing that, I would have laughed at you.
It makes me so excited to imagine what is coming next. What gem will I be exploring next year that seems foreign and ridiculous to me right now. Unraveling all the possibilities of this life one at a time is one of the greatest gifts we have. I am always grateful.
Horses scare easily. So man invented blinders to keep them from seeing things in their peripheral vision which might unnecessarily spook them. It is a very basic analogy, but we all have this. We all have the things which keep our focus in front of us or else we might go crazy with all the amazing things this world has to offer. The coolest thing is when something new comes into your field of vision and it joins the sight you have created.
Four years ago I didn't know anything about poker. Obviously I still have tons to learn, but with each passing year my understanding of the games and its players grows exponentially. The first year I feverishly studied the blog to get an understanding of all the players I would need to know to cultivate my interviewing skills. There is no amount of studying however that can surpass the knowledge that comes with time.
Now during the Main Event some non-professional poker players who often have other skills find their way into this little poker world. Of course with their mass appeal it is important to cover them as well. This year I heard there was a hockey player in the main. So, I read his Wikipedia and headed off to his table. Minus the fact that this hilarious guy with a goblet walked right thru our shot, I thought it went okay for an interviewer who maybe has 10 mins of prep time.
Someone mentioned to me yesterday that there was some article with the video in it on a Yahoo site. Honestly, at this point in my job, I've gotten pretty used the the whole internet troll thing. I never read the comments. Everyone has an opinion. But since everyone was talking about it I figured I better read it. The big complaint is that I don't know who he is. To which I reply, "okay sports writer, do you know who Chris Moorman is?" Am I supposed to know everything about everything. I mean come on! My job is to report on poker, not hockey.
It is interesting because I think in some ways I am guilty of this also. The poker world is so isolated and I don't even realize it. I will be talking to people and mention Vanessa Selbst or Jason Mercier and they will just have a blank stare. It is so hard to see the world outside of your own tinted vision.
The amazing thing is that your own vision is constantly evolving. When I was living with no electricity in Thailand my family thought I must be on drugs, because when you come to rely on all your amenities, you think you can't exist without them. But, humans have such an amazing ability to adapt. Given two weeks I think almost anyone could adjust to almost anything. It is part of how we are built.
The difficult thing is to learn empathy. The essential thing is to at least try to look at the world through the eyes of someone else. Everyone can not know everything about everything, but we can at least try know each other.
Furthermore I can say from my own life the more judgement you put out there, the more you get. Every time I gossip about someone or say something shitty about someone, I end up spending more time wishing I didn't and regretting it than I did in the actual moment. Conversely, when I chose to extend forgiveness and kindness to people I am apt to dislike, it is actually ME who ends up feeling good. It is a decision we each make moment by moment. I probably deserve tons of ridicule for plenty of poison I've spewed in my own life. But, because it is a decision every moment, I am making the choice to pull my blinders off and see the world in its complete awesomeness. And of course try to be patient with everyone else so I might actually learn something from them!
I've been with PokerNews for a year now, seems like the perfect time to be asked to start a blog. I've been reflecting about my new life in the poker world a lot lately. It's crazy how fast something can really become your world. I was talking with Vanessa Selbst yesterday about some hand where she decided to make a thin bet for value and I had a moment where I realized, 'I can't believe I even understand what she is saying.' Now, I am no expert by any means. But, this time last year I was just finishing Super System and playing my first live tournaments (at The Hard Rock, I said I'm not an expert!)
The poker world has been so welcoming. I'm not sure what I expected. i definitely didn't expect to count poker peeps among my best friends. And I certainly didn't expect to consider poker the best way to work and play. I was surprised by the lack of divas. From big names, to smaller ones, to the people that work side by side with me, the poker community welcomed me with open arms. So, how did I stumble into this wonderful world one might ask?
I think my journey is best expressed starting with a lovely conversation Dan O'Brien and I were having the other day about how he ended up in poker. Even more, about how anyone ends up doing anything. The thesis of our conversation revealed that those who trust their guts, usually end up following the road to their destiny. Those who try to fight it (by doing everything right) end up living lives waiting to live lives. You know, holding out for retirement or being SOLD jobs that they hate. We also decided retirement is a farce, but that is another blog.
He essentially chronicled for me how what had started in his life as pure laziness accompanied with intelligence had led him into poker. He made decisions because he was lazy, that eventually led him down the road to the green felt. Had he chose the right path, he may still be a day trader. I think poker is perfect for Dan because it is the quintessential lazy but brilliant person sport, if you will. Lazy smarts isn’t what got me here, but it is the same idea. I think what got me here is; an obsession with being organized and a little desire for attention.
As a girl I wanted to be an actress. But after my first film I realized that I wanted more control, and secretly I didn’t want to be auditioning all my life. I decided obviously directing was the next choice. I graduated high school early and moved to Mexico while I waited to hear back from colleges. I decided on NYU and took my gringa butt back to the states to save for life in the Big Apple.
NYU was awesome academically, albeit lacking a little socially. I was obsessed with my studies though, so that served me just fine. Going into my sophomore year I had some money problems and so decided to pursue my studies in the Czech Republic where it was cheaper. Yes, it was cheaper. But, consequently I learned less. And, had to live in Eastern Europe without speaking the language.
After some time of beating my head against the wall, even literally, I surrendered. I had done everything to get where I thought I deserved to be and needed to go. And I was pissed. So, I shaved my head into a mohawk and took to drinking heavily.
Ultimately, there was a whole other plan for me out there. I went to Thailand and ended up staying much longer than expected.
I learned to rock climb, live on three dollars a day, have no electricity, and I learned to LET IT GO.
This is when it all started happening. Like Dan, I started just doing what I wanted. Making crazy choices, but trusting my guts. And my whole life changed. As a little girl I thought I wanted to be an actress. I didn't even know that poker presenter was a job. It is a way we all pigeon hole ourselves. By the time you are in second grade you seem convinced already that you can be a lawyer, teacher, doctor, veterinarian or of course rock star. Well it turns out there is a whole other world out there and the only way to get there is to surrender.
Soon my guts would take me to the City of Angels and ultimately to the City of Sin. But that is the next installment which will include fighters, felonies and finally some poker.