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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Poker is a game, but it can reveal things about the player. Does it? Read this and find out.

Sunday Night Poker – Aged Like A Fine Wine.

Sam Berkow, rights Reserved 2015 - 2018

Traffic is considered a hot topic of conversation in and around Los Angeles.  How to get here or there, at what time and by what route is discussed with the same laser-like focus usually reserved for whispering about Oscar nominations.   In LA. traffic is serious stuff.  Here in the land of Movie Magic, Palm Trees, and limitless dreams of Fame and Fortune, traffic is important.

 “When you move to L.A., Vegas is your backyard playground.”  “Vegas is a 45 min flight or quick 4-hour drive, getting there, is so easy.”  I heard these claims many times when thinking about moving and ‘going Left Coast’.  The difference between hype and reality is in the details and the details reality offers, are often ugly.  The reality is:  you can’t drive from L.A. to Vegas on a Friday afternoon, or get back to L.A. on a Sunday unless you really like spending 8 to 10 hours in your car. Frigg'n traffic is a nightmare.

Southwest Airlines used to have low last-minute fares to Vegas. But they discovered that there are people who really don’t mind paying more than a full fare round trip for a last minute, oneway ticket so that last-minute getaway will really cost you. 

When traffic is reasonable, I really enjoy the drive from L.A. to Vegas.  I often leave early in the morning, head east on THE 134 to THE 210 to THE 15.  I pass by Pasadena before I stop for a tea at Many-Bucks™, then zip thru the inland empire that includes the many malls and suburban sprawl of Upland and Rancho Cucamonga.  I enjoy the long steady rise up to the high desert thru the San Bernardino National Forest, which oddly seems to have no trees, only miles of beautiful, if miss-named rocky hills.

The rest of the way is High Desert, in all its varied glory.  I listen to music (an eclectic mix plucked off my iPhone or Pandora or one of the many XM satellite radio channels I need in any car I own).  I listen to a couple of pod-casts; This Week In Technology (TWIT) which makes me laugh while I learn something about technology in general or more specifically about the apps that I either use or don’t use yet, but will make a (mostly unrealized) plan to download and activate.

I also listen to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, the NPR news quiz/ comedy show.  The prize for listeners who win the quiz is to get long-time NPR announcer Carl Castle’s voice on their phone’s answering machine message.  I’ve never called–in, but this silly prize is almost tempting enough for me to try.   The drive sometimes doesn’t feel long enough… and another hour or so on this trip would allow me to catch up on phone calls, blue-tooth hands-free only of course, or just have some time to meditate on the journey.

A Sunday in late summer.  I can kill three birds in one shot.  Drive my visiting mother to LAX, an airport designed to handle 1/3 the number of people that use it daily.  This will end her 4-day visit, which has left my sanity strangely intact.  Then a quick 1-hour and 20-minute drive to San Bernardino, where I can see a new wall construction technique that might work for my Vegas client.  And then the rest of the drive on to Vegas, where my client is hosting a Sunday afternoon Football watching party.

And so my journey begins.  My approach:  If half the fun isn’t getting there, its’ not worth the trip.  Good words to live or at least journey by.  The drive begins by heading southwest, away from Vegas, from my adopted home in Mom.  Then East thru LA into the expanse of the Inland Empire.  The drive continues east and then upward, thru the seemingly tree-less San Bernadino National Forest and across the High Desert.  The temperature is cool, the sky clear.  The TWIT guys are complaining about the delayed release date something.  I call my sister to say hi.  We chat a bit as the miles roll by,  and then I see it… dark clouds ahead.   In front of me, to both the left and the right, the sky is dark, very very dark.  Almost night dark.  Behind me are clear, blue skies, but looking forward the sky is angry, threatening, and in the early afternoon, black.  I see vertical streaks in the sky between the clouds and the mountains.  It’s rain.  Rain in the arid, dry, hot desert ahead.  Another half-hour passes, until the first few drops and then a huge down-pour engulfs my car.  I slow to 35mph from my cruise-control managed 77 mph.  The road becomes slick, almost ice-like.  I check to make sure my lights are on and consider putting on the emergency flashers so the few drivers crazy enough to still be going 80 mph will be sure to see my car.

Long moments pass, five maybe seven minutes, and then the rain is gone, and I’m back up to speed.  A few small showers will sprinkle over the next miles, but the rain has past me, or it.  Either way, the colors of the desert, washed out and baked to a faint tint by a summer of strong sun, start to glow with rich rain-soaked reds, tans browns.  The rain has revitalized the colors and the view, and despite the overcast sky, the desert view is the richer for it.

The drive continues, the few desert towns fly by.  Passing Barstow, I know I’m more than half way.  As the song sez; The Road Goes On Forever But The Party Never Ends.  Vegas here I come.  Then traffic slows and slows and slows… and finally stops.  Not stop and go stopped, just stopped.  What’s going on?  There’s an app for that.  I activate WAZE, the crowd-sourced traffic app on my Smart-Phone and learn that two tractor-trailers have collided and overturned about a mile and a half ahead.  It’s rumored, but not confirmed that one of the drivers was killed. 

Stopped in traffic, I turn off my car and walk outside.  The air is warm but not hot, the sky fully overcast.  Other drivers come out from their car/cocoons as well.  We meet.  A couple on their honeymoon.  Another couple celebrating her 21st birthday.  Both couples are young and brimming with enthusiasm and inexperience.  I really feel the 30 years that separate our ages.  Holy shit, I am getting old.  At 52 I don’t see myself as old.  I have a young son, he’s 8.  I still feel like a kid.  When I look n the mirror I see a 16-year-old with a pony-tail, not a bald 52-year-old guy with a gray goatee. 

A middle-aged woman, who is headed to Vegas to cover some shifts as a nurse, joins us.  As does a semi-retired investor in struggling companies.  He’s eager to see two new opportunities in Vegas.  We all chat.  We visit.  We hear each other’s stories.  After asking the driver’s permission, I climb up on the cab of an 18 wheel big rig, to take some photos of the line of stopped cars, stretching as far as I can see.   We wait, stand around, and wait some more.

It’s two hours and 45 minutes later when the traffic starts to flow.  Sunset is approaching, but a large and vibrant rainbow lights the way.  WAZE reports state that one of the truck drivers in the accident up ahead was in fact killed in the crash. I wonder who he was and where he was headed. By the time the lights of Vegas appear, they are shining thru the darkness, twinkling, glowing, shining, and enticing each driver to hurry up and join the party.

The last few miles of the drive.  Do I really want to get to my client’s party this late, a sober visitor to a group of drunken football fans?  From the radio, I learn that the game is a blow-out, 45 to 13 in the middle of the 4th quarter.  No party for me, I’m gonna catch the  $125 No Limit Hold’em poker tournament at Aria.  With any luck, I can be there by 7:30pm. This should be over around midnight and I can get a good nights sleep before my Monday Morning meeting.

The poker room at Aria is not as large as some, but certainly more comfortable and better run than most.  The entry is marked by large laser cut playing cards, and the room features an understated, yet mesmerizing glass-door segregated high stakes area, called The Ivey Room.  This area is named for poker legend Phil Ivey, who hasn’t been seen there since the naming ceremony.  No-one seems sure if his absence is his preference or the Casino’s, but given all of the rumors and stories about him, (huge bets on almost anything, published and widely circulated stories about cheating on Asian table games, demands for outrageous appearance fees etc…) it is easy to argue either way. 

The poker room cashier cage serves as the tournament sign-in desk as well.  I pay my $125 and get handed a receipt/seating and am told that tonight’s tournament is being held in the slot machine area outside the poker room.  The reason for this I learn is that there is a bicycle convention in the hotel and a European bicycle manufacturer has bought in one player from each of their dealers – adding more than 120 players to the usual 50 to 70 that play on typical Sunday nights here. I am player #184.  This is a much larger tournament than I had expected.

I take my seat, joining the game in progress, and lucky me, my first hand and I’m the big blind.  100 chips from my stack of 10,000.  The dealer, a pretty woman welcomes me to the table and with a gracious smile wishes me good luck and deals me  A-diamonds J-diamonds.

Having recently been knocked out of a tournament on my first hand with AA, I generally like to fold the first hand or two, to watch the table a bit, seeing who has skills and who’s the donkey, and if I’m forced to be honest, to avoid another first-hand knockout.  But with four players limping i.e matching my 100 big blind, I make a small 2.5x raise to 250 chips and get called by two players. Jack-of spades, 3-diamonds, 10-diamonds Top pair (with top kicker) and the nut flush draw.  A great flop for me.  I check.  The 2nd player checks and the third bets 400 chips.  I call.   The 2nd player tanks a bit and re-raises to 1100 chips.  The 3rd player reluctantly folds.  I call.  The turn is a King-of-diamonds, making my Ace high ‘nut’ flush, which is THE NUTS!The 2nd player bets 2000 chips.   I know I’m good, but how to get value?  I slowly and as trepidatiously as possible, raise to 4000 chips.  Hey, I live in Hollywood for nothing!  My opponent can’t shove the rest of his 10,000 chip starting stack into the pot fast enough.  Spilling chips to both sides of his two-handed shove, his voice wavers as he shouts  “I’m All In”.  

I deliberately move a short stack of chips forward slowly with my thumb and forefinger.  “I call”.  He slams his  Ace-of-clubs, Queen-of-hearts to the felt with misguided confidence, showing the Broadway straight, Ten to Ace.  I flip over the nut flush and it takes a moment or two for the realization that he’s lost to sink in. 

The river can’t save him.  He’s drawing dead.   He walks away from the table.  I can only guess that he is thinking either, “Damn this game is harder than it looks on TV” or “I wonder if the price of bicycle parts will increase this quarter”.  For me, one hand, one double-up.  A very good way to start a tourney.

The next couple of hours flow nicely.  I win a few big pots, but mostly smaller pots won with bets on the flop or turn.  I fold a few hands that I think I could have won, but the structure of this tournament, with 30 min rounds, is long enough and my stack large enough that I’m in no rush to take extra risks.

The clock for the tournament is a computer screen displayed on several large TVs on portable stands scattered around the tables.  The Clock provides lots of info in addition to the time left in the current round; The current blind levels, the next blind levels, time till the next break, number of players left and after the reentry period is over, the payout ladder.  It also posts the average stack size, calculated from the total number of chips in play, divided by the number if players left.  I’m not sure how useful this number is, as it doesn’t tell you where the leaders are, or how many players are short stacked.  I sorta think that if you double your stack every break, you are probably among the chip leaders (of course it very rarely works this way).  I work out that after the three breaks so far, my 101,000 chip is above the 80k that doubling my starting 10K three times would yield.

I look up, it's 11:50pm and I am among the chip leaders of the 27 players, left.  Most of the bicycle conventioneers have gone, with a one or two still at each of the 3 tables left. Most have had fun playing poker, but didn’t know that a real tournament requires hours of focus and concentration, a bit of luck and the ability to know where you are and where you need to be.

With 19 places getting paid, we are approaching the ‘Money Bubble’.  The game is about to change.  While ~ 10% of the field, 19 of us will get paid tonight only the top 4 or 5 will make a make ‘the real money’.  The payout of most tournaments is heavily weighted to the top 5% of players.   The money bubble is where players have to decide what they are playing for.  Small stacks have to make an internal choice: either get loose, pushing their chips into the pot with a wide range of hands, hoping to advance by either doubling up or stealing the blinds.  These players would rather risk leaving with no prize, hoping to double up and make a deeper run, than just a small, minimum cash. 

The alternate way to play is to get super tight, folding almost every hand, and hoping to survive the ever-increasing blinds and antes, to make the money, even if its only a ‘min-cash’.  Choices like this are one reason tournament poker is such an intriguing game, it forces you to ask yourself, who you really are, and what’s the nature of your own nature!

Three tables to go, with a big stack, I wanna win this thing.  I’m under the gun, first to act, and I look down at Ace-of-clubs, Ace-of-diamonds. .American Airlines, Pocket Rockets, Bullets, the best starting hand in No Limit Hold’m.   Hard to get away from this one pre-flop.   I get a small chill, do I really want to play this?  AA can get you in trouble. Losing with AA is not fun, but than again, what hand is fun to lose with? 

Of course, I’m going to play my ‘bullets’, but what to bet?   From early position, if I bet too much, everyone will fold and I will probably only win the blinds.  Hardly good value for such a strong starting hand.  Bet too small, and I could be playing against 3, 4 or 5 players, giving away my advantage and potentially a lot of my chips.

I lead out with a 5x bet.  Five times the Big Blind is slightly larger than the usual first bet at our table, but not wildly so.  The action folds around to the button, where the 2nd largest stack at my table, a middle-aged man from eastern Europe, thinks for 3 seconds and pushes All In.  It takes another 3 seconds for the action to fold back to me.  My thoughts; If he has a pair, he has two outs, making me a 4:1 fav.  If he has a suited Ace, I’m ahead almost 7:1.   I call, thinking, “Win or lose, I got it in good”.  He shows Ace and King of spades.  Ace-king is called BIG SLICK. it is a good, but tricky hand.  He played it well, but just at the wrong time. He needs to catch two kings or three more spades or running straight cards to win. For me, this is a great place to be, for him, not so much.  My Aces hold up and I almost double up, establishing me as the largest stack in the tournament.  I’m both relieved and Happy that my Aces won,  The dealer pushes several stacks of chips my way. 

Then I hear a voice.  “What? Is that guy your cousin? Are you giving him a ride home?”  “That guy must be a relative, 'cause he just gave you a huge gift.”   The comments come from a young hyper-aggressive player, a young gun.  Self-confident, beyond any sense of reason, he repeats his comments at least 3 times, trying to get me to respond.  “Dude, you giving him some of your winnings?  Did he just really dump almost 100,000 chips to you?”  “I hate when bad players screw-up and make it harder for us real players to win.”  Finally, I turn to the dealer and ask. “Do I have to listen to this nonsense?”   The dealer promptly and firmly informs the player that he is out of line and he should refrain from commenting on others play.

Over-playing Ace-King is something the dealer sees several times every day.  Ask any poker player, Ace-King is the most over-played hand in the game, by far.  The shove was aggressive, but not uncommon or out of line.  It’s the type of play I like to avoid, but it draws a hard line in the sand.  A pretty blond woman from the table behind us has been watching the action at our table, she leans her chair back, puts her hand on my shoulder, and smiles. “Nice Hand! Lets take this down! I’ll see you at the Final Table and we can chop this thing up!”   Her smile lights up the room.  Her jewelry is both plentiful and stylish, silver embedded with turquoise, and looks very expensive.  Her wedding ring immense.  She seems genuinely happy and kind.  Obviously not a professional player!  The young gun remains eager to goad me into a confrontation.

Play continues and two players are knocked out at Table 2, and one at table 3, leaving 21 players as we get closer to The Bubble.  I suggest we all post $20 so that the next two players to get knocked out get paid something close to their buy-in, eliminating the bubble.  After 5 hours of play, this seems fair to me.  This is also a bit self-serving because on the bubble the three tables will play 'hand for hand', waiting for all three tables to finish a hand before starting the next, slowing the tournament down to a crawl.  I am tired already and don’t want the bubble to eat way another hour or more.  The house floor-man (who happens to be a woman) posts the proposition to the other two tables where everyone agrees.  Then as a formality, she asks for a verbal response from everyone at our table and is greeted with “I object”. 

“I don’t pay people for NOT making the money. I’m a professional poker player, not a
fuck’n charity.”  The words are spoken by the young gun, a thin wiry young man in a white and blue
Perhaps 23 or 24 years old, the young man seems determined to elicit a reaction. “You amateurs can give away your money, but that’s just not the professional way.”   The oldest man at the table, who hasn’t said a word all night chimes in. “Son, there is nothing professional about you. I’ll kick in an extra $if you won’tLet's get past this bubble and play some cards.”  “I can pay the $20 old-timer, but you watch out, cause now I’ll have your chips in my sites”.   My eyes have rolled back into my head. This is a $125 tournament, not a WSOP bracelet event.  This kid can’t be for real.  Well-timed aggression is a valued trait in poker.  Brashness and self-confidence bordering on arrogance is common.  But the young gun is something else.  He’s self-entitled, cocky and confrontational beyond reason.

Play continues.  I keep a low profile.  I’m pretty sure I can make the final table in really good shape with the stack I have, playing only strong hands in position, and I do.  Joining me ay the Final Table are; the Blond, who lives in Scottsdale where she and her husband are personal trainers, and own a personal training center (not a gym, but a personal training center which she informs me is a very different type of facility), the older gentleman, the young-gun “pro”, a bicycle distributor and a few others.  The others quickly fade away, leaving five of us in the ‘real money’.

so that each step up the ladder now means substantially more money, with fifth place paying almost $800 and first paying just over $6,000, both a good return on our $125 buy-in/investment.  As we approach another break, I notice that it is well after 2am. The night has snuck away from me, and I really am tired. “Guys, its late, anyone interested in a chip chop”.  A chip chop is the fairest way to end a tournament and divide the prize pool.  In this case, each player would start with the 5th place price, and the rest of the remaining prize-pool would be divided based on each players chip count.  Everyone gets more than 5th place money and less than 1st.   Four of us immediately agree.  The young-gun has other ideas. “I have a condition.  I will agree to a chop, but only if each of you me $250.”  This demand is greeted with silence. I can’t stop my self. “OK, Please explain to me, why, if I have more than four or five times your chip stack, I would pay you anything?”  I already know I am going to find any response ‘bewildering’.  “Well, you four are all amateur-players.  I however I am a professional. This is how I make my living.  If you think about it, you all are likely to make mistakes, and I am most likely to win this thing, so you should compensate me for the dollars I am giving up if I agree to the chop.” Bewildering does even begin to describe how I feel about this line of thinking.   In a distant place the young gun believes he will win, and wants us to pay for his self-entitled confidence.

“SIR”, I say “I think you should take all my chips.  Show me how a Pro does it.  We can play till dawn, But I’m not paying you a penny.  In fact, with thinking like that, I think you should give up poker and take up writing fiction for a living…. Or maybe the law.”  The game continues in silence.

A few hands later, the blonde woman, acting under the gun leads out with a bet.  I fold. The older man pushes his stack into the middle, the blonde woman insta-calls with pocket Kings and wins the hand. We bid the older gentleman goodbye.  We are now four-handed, and one more step up the prize ladder.  The Blond woman, looking directly at the young-gun, asks if we want to chop four-ways, and surprisingly the young gun sez, “Let's see the numbers”.  The clock is stopped, and the dealer and floor-woman count chips.  There is little surprise however when the young gun immediately runs off to the restroom.  Upon his return we see the numbers, and again he repeats his demand for a payout from the three of us.   Fourth place in the chip chop payout pays almost twice what the tournament has posted for fourth place.  It’s a good deal for him, but he really believes he is better and will win.  Maybe you need that kind of arrogance to be a poker pro.  But don’t pros know or at least believe that luck plays a bigger part here at the end of a tourney? 

I hear my own voice speaking from some distant place.  “Sir, There is no chance that I will pay you a dime, so lets play poker”.  My mind is made up, I am NOT giving this arrogant little piss-ant a dime from my winnings.  I am tired. I feel old.  It’s been a long day. Driving, stuck in a traffic nightmare, dealing with a fatal crash, and now playing poker for more hours than expected, I am really exhausted.  With exhaustion, self-doubt creeps in.  At 52 am I really an old man?  Am I resentful that this kid seems to have both no respect for me or any other player, and an outsized sense of entitlement?  I think about the truck driver who died in the desert today.  Did he have a family?  Wasn’t he entitled to make it to his destination, and/or home?  Do I resent this kid’s attitude?  Yes
I do.  I am incredulous that he believes that just ‘being a pro’ gives him the right to think that even down more than 4:1 in chips he’s the favorite to win this thing?  Maybe I should just pay him off, take first place chop money and get some sleep?

NO! NO and FUCK NO! I am NOT an old man.  Tonight I am a strong, focused poker player, taking down a tournament. This kid is just that, an arrogant, spoiled kid. I got this!  The blinds are about to go up, this is the last hand with 6000/3000 blinds and a 1000 ante. I’m starting to worry that the ever increasing blinds will really force action.  The blonde folds her hand under the gun.  I look down at A of hearts / 4-of diamonds.

I don’t love playing weak aces, but 3 handed, any Ace is worth a look.  I limp for 6000 chips, the small blind calls and the young gun checks his big blind.  I am pretty sure the young gun would have raised any Ace or pair, so I am pretty sure my A? / 4?.  is good pre-flop.  The flop comes 10-of-clubs, 7-of-hearts, 4-of-spadesNot a great flop for me but I’ve caught enough of it to keep me interested.Bottom pair, on the flop, let's hope it improves.  I know a check will result in the young gun betting and I want to control the action, so I bet 12,000 chips.   The small blind folds and the young-gun just calls.  OK, he didn’t raise, what could he have?  I can’t see him not raising from the Big Blind with a strong Ace or Pair.  As the turn card is dealt, I am asking myself repeatedly, ‘What does he have?’ ‘What does he have? 

Some poker hands are a puzzle, laid out for you to solve.  Others are really about the player, his position, stack and where you are in the tournament, and not their cards.  Which one is this?  At , it gets hard to know.  I do know this kid is gunning for me.  His aggressive play is matched by his ego and sense of entitlement.  I sense that this kid has never had a real job.  He certainly has never driven a big-rig across the desert.  He’s a young poker player, and probably made some decent money, but never had to really work or had the desire to create, challenge or build anything.  

Modern poker is too easy.  Sterile casinos, little fighting, few thefts, no guns.  Hardly the game Doyle Brunson and his cronies started playing in old-tyme-Texas, but that seems like a long time ago, in a place far far away from here.

For him and his buddies, poker is an easy escape from responsibility.   I find this sad and confounding.  A game that I love, populated with horribly misguided and stupidly self-entitled players.  The young gun wants to beat me, but really he just wants my chips. I doubt he could pick me out of a line-up.  I challenged his standing and now he’s after my stack.  Am I walking into his trap?  The turn card comes, the Ace of Clubs.  I’ve turned two pairs.  I’m about to reach for chips.  I stop myself. Think it out.  Again, I ask myself, what beats me? AA. A10. A7. 10/10. 7/7. 4/4.  Can he really have one of these hands?  Does Hanti’s rule that if there’s a hand that beats you, your opponent probably has it, apply here?  I move a stack of chips forward, 23,000 about half the pot.  I can’t put him on any of those hands, believing he would have raised pre-flop with any of them.  Is he both good enough and lucky enough to have slow-played a monster flop? 

The kid looks at me. “Make it 65,000.”  Well-timed aggression gets paid in poker.  That the rule. He’s putting in about half his stack.  I call quickly.  Should I have thought more, and re-raised? Lets see what the river brings.  Another Ace! Aces full. A Full House, hard to beat!  If I lose, it will be a bad-bet story worth telling.  I check my boat.  The young gun is committed.  More than half his chips are already in.  Just as I don’t put him on an Ace, he probably doesn’t put me on one.  He snickers, and while pushing his remaining chips forward with both hands. “HEY Old man, you got the balls to call this bet?”  There’s No turning back now.   The dealer turns to the young gun and is about to remind him about the house rule on table talk.  I interrupt. “I may not have the balls, but I do have the boat!”, flipping my Ace-of-diamonds,  4-of-hearts face-up onto the table.

He holds his position for a moment, staring at the hand that has him beat, his cards, in his hand, extending forward, face down.   The blonde leans in “Show your hand”.  The young gun mucks his cards, face down,  stands and walks away.  The blonde looks at me iwth a wide smile "Whatasay we call it First, second and third  and end this here?” Her smile is beaming.  I smile and quietly say:  “I’ll give you each $100 to chop”.  Done.  The three of us pose for a picture of me holding Ad / 4h.  and an ARIA champion plastic card protector in front of a huge stack of chips with my new friends behind me.

About 15 feet from the table the young guy is talking to his friends. His payout for forth place is about half the chop value, meaning that my A? / 4? has cost him more than $1,000.  “Fucking Amateurs” he sez to his friends, throwing both his hands up in the air.  The blonde, her husband and I look at each other and almost in unison repeat the phrase over and over, “Fucking Amateurs” laughing harder each time as we walk to the cage to collect our winnings. “Fucking Amateurs”.

I play this game for fun.  It’s a strange game where luck and skill collide in ways that seem so unlikely, but happen so often.  I feel sad for the young gun.  He believes he is entitled to be paid for his potential to win.  I find that aI know there is no way to tell him the value of actually building or creating something.  The feelings you have, coming up with an idea and struggling to make it a reality.   I am lucky to work with some visionary people.  One shared his insight on work and dreams:

“To be realized, a dream must at some-point become a plan.Now that plan is a resolution requiring resolve to execute. The dream is free.  Let me tell you something, the plan costs time, dedication, imagination, and it almost always involves funding of some kind.  The difference between a dream and a plan is the promise of work.  And making that promise is never as difficult as the work itself.” – Wynton Marsalis, - 2014 commencement address, Tulane University

Wynton nailed it.  Potential is fine. Dreams are important.  But the plan and the work is where boththe effort and reward are.  We’re all victims of the fates, good or bad, win or lose, live or die.  The challenge is to be focused and appreciative, not self-entitled.  But I guess you have to learn that over the years that age you.  Like becoming great at your job, or a fine wine, time is required.

In my hotel room, I grab a quick shower.  As I lay down, it’s well after , and I am setting an alarm for   I hope that neither my son or I will ever feel as entitled as the young gun, to a tournament payout, or anything else for that matter.  I close my eyes,  knowing that I am both very lucky and very thankful for; the day, the tournament, my friends, my familyand my career.  I feel sadness for the truck driver & remember him in a short prayer.  I never met him, and never will.  The fates crossed our paths just after his path ended.  I have to get up and make a meeting in a couple hours.  I’m looking forward to it, lucky to have a job where I work to create and build things.  I feel lucky and thankful for my job and it has nothing to do with poker.  Or maybe it does.  Good night.


(end of story)










Submitted: November 17, 2018

© Copyright 2020 SIASAM. All rights reserved.

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