My next trip will be kicking off quite soon, and I'm looking forward to immersing myself into everything it will entail. In part this will mean catching up with some good friends who I see far too rarely, due to the 5,220 mile gap between us. The Las Vegas casino schedules are pretty much all out now for the WSOP, and I'll shortly release a sheet on the site showing the broad strokes of what I plan to play. The WSOP events for me are already pretty set by my dates in town, but everything else will depend on the timetable, the value, and where I am in relation to what I've just played. Everyone that's had a share of me previously already knows the drill.
Life as a part of the working population in the UK has been a mixed bag for sure since last year. From a job point of view my official title as "Sales Executive" doesn't quite mean that I'm in a corner office on the 47th floor with my own PA just yet, but then neither does it mean that I'm scanning barcoded toilet rolls or bags of spuds, and asking a frowning supervisor for price checks all day. The powers that be at my company have thus far informed me that they feel I've very quickly taken to what I needed to learn, that I've already paid for myself salary-wise and then some, and that they're glad I came on board. From my side it's been a huge adjustment from being a solo performer, who was independent, but also living pretty much from day to day. The upside now is that there's still a degree of independence within my role, in that if I screw something up they'll speak with me and address any problems, but that aside I am greatly left alone to just do my thing, and to know that I have support should I require it, which is how I prefer to work. They've to a degree allowed me to make my role my own, and just run with it, (possibly a sign that they had faith in my ability, but also partly that everyone is generally far too busy to hold a newbie's hand and answer 20 daft questions per day). The results so far show that this was a good plan and has had a good outcome. It has to be said I generally enjoy the job, and selling to people is in a funny way a form of poker, just without the bubble or the ugly high-fiving when someone smashes your kings to bits with 94 offsuit. The daily travelling (commute) is the real downside for me and is a killer, meaning I get very little time to go out anywhere after work. Going back into central London for any reason doesn't appeal once you've just got home from a day there, so I pick my nights out carefully and have mainly just kept my head down for around seven months and ground it out, which is no bad thing. A possible relocation either of my job venue or living space in the future might change that, and is certainly a possibility.
I guess it's going to be fair to say that I wasn't in a great place emotionally at all either a while back. A mixture of my own numerous life problems (don't sweat it, I know we all have them, it's life), some bad decisions, and precious little direction had made me very down, and probably not a great person to be around. You thought I was moody before, you should hear some of the shit I left out...No one is great company when they're stressed and unhappy, and I was stressed and unhappy an awful lot. The saving grace was that I never let it affect my game, just the rest of my life... However things I hope have been on the mend a bit for me, if slowly. I've been getting myself a bit fitter, both physically and mentally. A lot of the toxic or painful stuff that was previously prevalent in my life, both in the lifestyle and people departments is now pretty much all a thing of the past. I miss a few moments I had, but just as much, or maybe more so I don't miss the pain some of that stuff regularly came with, so by and large I guess I've turned a page or two and am getting onto the next chapter of my life whatever that is. It's not perfect, far from it, but it's better than it was, and that's good enough for now.
It's funny that I was previously very disillusioned with UK poker, and in particular with the nature of the majority of the people in it whom I encountered. It's very easy for newcomers to be seduced by how cool or sexy they think it is, but time is a great eye opener, and the base nature and ugly character of people in the gaming world is something that both fascinated me and repulsed me at the same time (the bad ones that is). Of course everyone has their own story and motives, so it's not fair to judge, but since I drastically cut back on playing poker in England due to work I made an interesting discovery. This ugly side isn't limited to poker...it's everywhere!
I'm not a bad person (let's not put that to the vote). I have (I think) a good heart, and will try to always see the best in people, even if my idealism was rarely realised, or if my expectations of people's character seldom lived up to the reality. Whilst I'm probably not about to receive any awards or nominations for sainthood myself, I tried a personal change of tact in the last few months along roughly the lines as follows: Don't let other people's negativity affect you. Try on a daily basis to do at least one good thing, something for someone else, for no other reason than its just a good thing to do. Don't dwell on the past. Don't have unrealistic expectations of either things or people. Try to make forward progress.
OK, now he's actually flipped his lid totally I can hear you saying. Maybe you're right, and for a long time cynic it's certainly not been easy! However a few things have happened. I find myself giving my seat up on the tube (not just to pretty girls before the equally pessimistic among you pipe up), stopping to help people who are in difficulty, attempting to be a more charitable person, just generally trying to not be an asshole I suppose. I guess I tried to be someone who helped others before, but now I tried to consciously make more effort in that area every day. Last week I ended up covered in grease and crap, because I stopped after I saw a guy who must have been in his 70's had shredded his car's front tyre and was stranded at the roadside. Fine, I've changed a spare wheel plenty of times and he was soon on his way and was very grateful for the help, but I guess the point is I've noticed more that the bad character or selfishness I saw in so many people around casinos isn't exclusive to that life at all. In the case in point, NOBODY stopped to help this old boy who'd broken down. People just rubbernecked as they went past, or ignored him, when he was quite clearly in difficulty. I see pregnant women or elderly people on the tube standing, and the entire seated carriage conveniently with eyes glued down to their newspapers or electronic devices. The rudeness and selfishness I saw frequently in poker is out there in the real world just as much and more so. This probably isn't a revelation to those who were living in the real world to begin with, but it certainly was to me. I guess I'm still looking for the good in people, but just am not taking it to heart so much when it isn't there. I'm not sure what I've taken from the last 7 months or so if anything, I just know that I'm trying, maybe one day I'll get there.