"Thanks" I replied, smiling. "Nice to know life has been kind to me."
"No, no...I just meant I haven't seen you here for months. Your absence was noticed by quite a few people. Hope all is OK."
We exchanged pleasantries and chit-chat, and went on our respective merry ways. Having said that, he had a point. I hadn't been about, at least, not in poker circles for a fair while... roughly since around August 2105. I was (apparently) still alive and kicking, so what happened?
There's this mythical thing in poker, only ever mentioned in hushed tones, and normally only after a few drinks or lots of weed and soul searching. It's right up there with Unicorns, Bigfoot, getting past Willie un-nipped, or sitting at a tournament table where someone doesn't constantly ask "how much are you playing?"
It's called...don't laugh...a "job."
These things are apparently commonplace in the real world, but not nearly so much in poker. I'd been back and forth across the Atlantic, and spinning my own metaphorical plates for so long that the idea of being a real respectable fully employed person again was almost laughable, both for myself, and for anyone who knows me. In one form or another I'd worked purely for myself for so long that real employment was not something I would've seriously pictured happening any time soon, so when an offer popped up I was the first one to look mildly surprised.
That being said, it was intriguing, ticked quite a lot of potential boxes,and was going to offer a total change of pace and a new set of challenges.
Without doing it to death, it kind of came a bit out of the blue. I was offered a sales position, in a high-end industry, by some businessmen I have known for quite a long time. It was something that would allow me a very reasonable amount of flexibility to work under my own initiative, both in getting a brand new product off the ground for the directors, and simultaneously becoming familiar with the existing and established business of the company. It's been exhausting truth be told; the change of hours, the more rigid working structure, and especially the amount of travelling involved. I threw myself into it 100%, but for all that, I have to say it was a very good decision and I'm a lot happier for it now than I was scraping round playing poker in the UK for the last year or two. As most of you know, the Las Vegas buzz doesn't go away for me, and I'm far happier over there than here, but I take very little enjoyment for what the UK poker scene has become, so doing something new was a challenge about which I was dubious, but also quite keen to try. 4-5 months in, and it's currently going very well. They appear to be very happy with me, and I'm very happy with them. I'm getting to inflict my dazzling wit and personality on an unsuspecting public, and every time I sell something, it's a bit like instantly coming fifth or better in a tournament, but without the rub-down or the accompanying story. Exactly what the future holds for me personally I don't know, (who does?) but at present I will say I'm more at peace as things are now, with a job in the UK, less poker here, and the odd scheduled hop overseas to the holy land to play where I enjoy it so much more. I wasn't really liking my poker in England, even though I was generally still winning regularly. It was more about the quality of life, the people I was rubbing shoulders with, and how depressing it was overall day after day. Whilst I might not win any Mr Wonderful awards myself in the immediate future, I was most certainly spending time around plenty of people who simply were not a great influence for whatever reasons. No bitching, it was what it was, and life moves on...
I'm now booked up for Las Vegas for 3 weeks this Summer and my new package is posted up on my shares page. A shorter trip this year than previously due to work (gulp!). It's going to be 5 or so WSOP bracelet events all around $1500-$2k, including the Millionaire Maker and the new Summer Solstice event, and also $6500 worth of smaller festival events in the other strip casinos, which may end up being lot's of $300's, some $600's or maybe even the odd $1k if the event looks worth playing. For the first time in lots of years, I've decided not to play the WSOP main event this time, simply as it's too much commitment during what for me is actually a short trip. I think I'll end up playing around 12-15 events maximum during the time I'm out there, and as the various schedules are released in the coming weeks I'll have a far better idea which ones they will be. Watch this space.