I can be (maybe too) honest about stuff, but there it is. In this spirit, off we go...
In a rather uncommon display of time (mis) management, I actually started typing this post way back whilst I was sitting on the tarmac at McCarran on board VS044, awaiting takeoff for my return to London. Leaving Las Vegas prior to the WSOP main event always feels very odd to me. I think I've only done it like, three times in the last 11 years or so, as I normally played in the WSOP main event. However, if nothing else, I'm certainly a man of my word. Work commitments, budgetary considerations, and the life experience not to turn a bad trip into a horrific one were all factors in the decision. Over the years, I've seen guys hanging on by their fingernails trying to do something...anything, that might get their numbers back in the plus column for a trip. Satellites, sports betting, table games, playing way too high in cash, inventing a convincing sob story to tell the backers... it all goes on behind the smoke and mirrors of poker, and will for years to come.
Of course some young hot shot with a big mouth or enormous breasts (or occasionally an enormous mouth and big breasts) will sometimes pop up on a TV poker table with a sponsorship patch and their 15 minutes of fame, but time's shown that most of these either fade away when the money dries up, or get dropped like a stone once the novelty factor becomes irritating enough to warrant finally saying goodbye. Don't get me wrong, good luck to them. I don't begrudge anyone taking what's dangled in their face, but time has shown us that most flavours of the month turn sour in the end, either with the public, or with the people controlling the budget. When they show no regard at all for the people around them who have paid a buy in with their own money is I guess where I take exception to some of these people acting like gibbering idiots. Good, solid players with results, track records, and some regard for the ethics of the game and not being a dick to others are always the easy ones to spot, even if these days they are still the exception rather than the rule. Most of these types of players are happy to fly under the radar anyway. We all know people from both extremes of the game I'm sure. Some people don't understand that you can take the game seriously and still have a good time at the table without pissing off half the room.
I've been a bit lax with doing this epilogue post after shipping out following the Wynn main. This piece started in the USA, and never actually got finished until now! Apologies for that. I had a number of loose ends to tie up during my final few days in town, and upon returning to the UK, I went straight back to work the following day. Odd that after almost two years back in the rat race, doing that still always feels totally alien to me. However, I got on with it and after some sporadic sleep patterns (weird that I always slept better when my body clock was all over the place due to poker), I'm now largely back in the swing of things and plotting my next moves. Just to be unconventional as always, I can honestly say that results or not, I came away from this trip feeling more positive about things than ever before. Figure that one out!
I'm lucky to have some very good and supportive friends, in amongst some of the horrific life-choices I've made in the last 10 years or so! This doesn't even involve money, just that in a world where my experiences means I firmly believe that most people just suck (don't even get me started on the poker people!) I've gotten lucky with a select few, and they are greatly encouraging to know, and fun to spend time around. On this trip I did manage the occasional bit of R & R away from the poker, and the ones here I caught up with were, as always great to see and good for the soul in the form of chats, laughs, shared experiences, and all around good times. A special mention must go to my Las Vegas pal Gary, who was kind enough to give me a place to stay in his home whilst I was here, and to his two amazing dogs, who were a massive source of comfort and good energy whenever I was lucky enough to grab some down time here away from the tables. He even managed to round up some pals for a little surprise party for me, for which I was grateful and genuinely touched. I have a pretty good radar for weeding out shitty people I encounter (OK if they have a pretty smile and a nice butt my radar goes all to shit but let's get past that), but I truly do value the good people I meet along the way, and Gary is one of them. I am very moved by the kindness shown, even if it was normally peppered with sarcasm. I wouldn't have it any other way, as you all know.
The standard in the slightly bigger buy-in events wasn't in any way tougher. Maybe with the poker economy, people are nowadays just as likely to flick it all in during a $1600 event as in a $400 one. I saw more than enough play to convince me very firmly that there's still great value in these things, even with increased juice, and the eagerness of casinos to have flatter payout structures, meaning more people will often at least get their money back, and thus come back another time to pay a hefty reg fee.
I've got an awful lot of options going onward. The job still pays the bills. The real life-stuff for me is (very slowly) becoming less stressful and cluttered, and for the first time in quite a while I'm starting to make some positive plans for the future in my personal (non poker) life. It's just possible there may be some kind of a life-shift coming in the next 12 months or so, though currently I'm not totally sure what that will be! I have several directions in which to go luckily, and to be completely honest, whilst this is a good and exciting thing, I'm not about to blunder haphazardly into a totally new and unknown life without making some plans or doing a decent bit of research. I do know that whichever way the road goes, some poker will certainly be a factor of it, so you'll of course be among the first to hear about any new developments. Now don't you all feel special? :)