Happy Thanksgiving for those of you in the States! For many of us this is a good time to reflect and think about the value of family and the importance of friends and life.
This hasn’t been the easiest year, 2008. I lost my father in late 2007. I was actually at the table playing the Barcelona Main Event when I heard the bad news. I left in the middle of the event and immediately arranged a flight to Vietnam. I spent the first part of 2008 mostly in Vietnam . Paying tribute and respect to my father’s memorial. Doing lots of Charity work in Vietnam, I know my Dad would have wanted it that way.
Poker took a back seat for a while now that I reflect upon the year. I tried to get poker back on track and one calamity after another struck me down in early 2008. It just wasn’t meant to be I guess. For starters, I missed one of my favorite events of the year. The Monte Carlo event in Monaco. I ordered room service the night before Day 1 and came down with food poisoning the next morning. I had to pull out of that event. I flew back to the States a week later and got extremely ill, requiring me to be hospitalized and undergo surgery which took months to fully recover.
All of this occurred, just before this years WSOP. I came into the WSOP on a pretty significant lay off from tournament play but I still managed to play very well in a few events. Ultimately I just went card dead or ran into a bad beat at the wrong times.
Poker has been very choppy for me this year. The high stakes cash games in Las Vegas have dried up. There has been some good action at the Commerce lately. I have had to go to L.A. a few times to find good games. Outside of L.A., the games have been pretty limited.
Because of my heavy travel schedule in 2008 and the lack of juicy cash games, I spent more time online than ever before. I’ve had very mixed results online. I have had some good sessions and some not so good ones. I am a winning player online, overall, but I definitely have less of an edge online than I do live. I think I really need to get back to the Commerce and get back to those cash games. This is a goal of mine in 2009! To play a lot more cash!!
Despite the rough year, I have many things to be thankful for! And I have grown as a person and become stronger. I still have my mother, sister, brothers, nieces, and nephew to enjoy. I have a good support system around me and many reasons to smile. A few very close friends have supported me emotionally and spiritually throughout the year and really helped me through some personal setbacks. Alexandre Dreyfus and Chilipoker have also been wonderful to me.
Life isn’t always perfect but it is always exactly as it was meant to be. A friend of mine just came across a very fitting quote and I like to post it here. I don’t know who to attribute the quote to? If you know make a comment.
“There is nothing for you to go back and live over, or fix, or feel regret about now. Every part of your life has unfolded just right. And so –now — knowing all that you know from where you now stand, now what do you want? The answers are now coming forth to you.”
In that spirit, life is good. I am lucky to have the freedom to travel. I have travelled all over the world and visited some beautiful places. In the past year, I have been to London, France, Poland, Italy, Australia, Hong Kong, Macau and Malta just to name a few.
I have very entertaining friends in the poker community. Love them or hate them, the poker community is like a large dysfunctional family. Some of them party too much. Some of them have unnecessary drama. Some of them just simply gamble too much. No!! I am not naming names. I am very protective of my friends and family. I don’t judge any of my friends for whatever they are going through. Sometimes it’s just a phase. Sometimes they are using it as a distraction for other issues. I love them all regardless!
I’m privileged to belong to such an interesting community of people. Not to say 2008 has been perfect. I have lost a few friends. I have gained new friends. I have drifted further from some and closer to others. That is life. Poker can be a very competitive game and sometimes a few toes are stepped on. Feelings are hurt and drama ensues. But we fight and make up and do it all over again. Just like any big family. We usually make amends and all that begins well should end well.
It is important to keep your sanity at times and I can honestly say I have been keeping it together better and better. This is what I am thankful for. I am thankful for having a positive life perspective. I am thankful of not being envious, jealous and bitter of others.
I am thankful that I don’t judge others and I try not to let those who judge me influence my emotional state of mind. I am thankful for charity and love. So many people showered their sincere feelings with me during some rough times. I know I am loved!
I am also much better at selecting friends and knowing who I can trust and who to keep close. I will reflect on 2008 someday and view it as a year of personal growth! I am about to celebrate Thanksgiving soon and I wanted to share with everyone that it is a way of life.
Thanksgiving shouldn’t be a single day on a calendar that we celebrate with an oversized Turkey. I travel to Vietnam frequently and other parts of the world and America has so much to be thankful for. All of us that are Americans are privileged. For the freedoms, for the democracy, for all of the little luxuries we take for granted.
I just had a funny conversation with a friend last night. We were talking about something as simple as a washer and dryer. I lived in an upscale part of London for part of last year and they don’t have separate washers and dryers?! You dry your clothes in the same machine you wash them in!
It takes about 4 hours to do a load of laundry!! In Italy, they don’t even have dryers! Or at least I didn’t come across one and have shared similar stories with others that travel frequently. Most people in Italy hang dry their clothes. These are modern first world countries. Really, we all have a lot to be thankful for. Even those simple little luxuries.
Don’t forget to appreciate the moment. Don’t forget to absorb all of life’s lessons and don’t forget to apply every bit of wisdom gained and lesson learned to forge an even better future. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! This includes all of my friends and fans around the world!