This is a blog dedicated to my closest and dearest friends. This is how I want to close my year out. To pay tribute to those who have been there for me through many ups and downs in 2008. These are the friends I hold closest to my heart and trust the most. The ones I can call on at 3am in the morning if I just want to chat. The ones who call me every week just to make sure I am doing well. The ones that make me laugh, or cheer me up. The friends I share my daily experiences with. The ones who tell me what I don’t want to hear simply because I need to hear it.
I suspect many of them are true friends to a lot of people because it’s simply in their nature to be trustworthy and loyal people. These are the type of people who would lend a helping hand to a person in need instead of walking away. These are the type of people who think of others first before thinking of themselves. And I’m truly blessed to have these types of friends in my life.
I am leaving for Vietnam tomorrow evening and this will be my last chance to blog in 2008. I wanted to share my gratitude with all of my closest friends.
“What is a friend? I will tell you it is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.
– Frank Crane
“Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.”
“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”
- Henry Ford
“Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don’t say.” – Source Unknown
Not in any particular order, I want to share some thoughts about the friends in my life and why they mean so much to me. I know I am going to leave a lot of good friends out and it’s not intentional. The reason I choose to blog about these particular friends is because they are the ones I hold closest to my heart and the friends I stay in touch with the most frequently, the friends that have been there when I was going through some health problems. The friends that have been there for me through thick or thin and I communicate with very frequently.
I met Doc years ago in California and he is truly one of the most sincere people I’ve ever met in my life. Doc goes out of his way to call me and check in on me on a regular basis. Doc is a very genuine and good hearted person and one of the most positive people I know. Doc is a very happy and uplifting person to be around. It’s almost impossible not to be in a good mood when you are around him. We also share a desire to do charity work and just recently the same passion for photography. A million thanks is not even enough to express my gratitude for the genuine friendship he has given me and the help he has offered me through some real tough times.
Alex Dreyfus –
Alex is also a very sincere person and probably has done as much for me in the past two years as any single person. Alex of course owns Chilipoker and has treated me like family right from the very beginning. Alex is the reason I gravitated towards Chilipoker when I had other options on the table. Alex is one of the smartest people and intelligent business mind I have come across. Alex is very motivated and has quite a sense of humor. He is another uplifting person to be around and I want to personally thank him for continuing to support me as a poker player and more importantly as a person.
I met Zach in Singapore during the Betfair event in 2006. At the time Zach was a college student and came up and introduced himself to me. Eventually we became friends and Zach became my web guy. Prior to Zach, I was having lots and lots of problems with my web people. I was getting overcharged and the sites weren’t built to specification or maintained consistently. Zach, unbeknownst to me was privately building a website for me and later showed it to me. I was impressed with his work and offered to pay him for it and he didn’t want money for it. He simply wanted to help out because I was having so much difficulty with the last two guys. I eventually hired Zach and he has been my main Web guy ever since. Zach has really done some fantastic work and has improved tremendously with his web designing and programming skills. I am truly happy to see him expand his business interest by starting his own web design company called theWebChap. I would highly recommend Zach’s work to everyone. Over the last couple of years we have become very close friends. I consider Zach like a younger brother now. Zach goes out of his way to maintain my website and is always available 24/7. Zach is another person who is very giving and loyal.
I’ve known Chesty for a couple of years now and I tell him he’s the most expensive friend I’ve ever had!! I had a failed business relationship with a PR firm Chesty was working for and it cost me tens of thousands of dollars. In retrospect I would do it all over again because Chesty is truly one of a kind. Chesty has always lent me his ears whenever I needed someone to listen to all my bitching and whining to vent my frustration without any complaints. Chesty is the joker of all jokers, who never fails to crack me up with all his comical remarks and wittiness. Chesty has inspired me to view every situation with a optimistic aspect due to his positive outlook. Even though he’s the priciest friend I’ve had, he’s worth every penny. Chesty’s loyalty and sincerity are his strongest aspects. Chesty and Doc are probably the most positive friends I have.
Cathleen, Jackie and Tiffany –
I want to thank the three sisters. Cathleen is a very successful cash game player that I met years ago in California. We often play the same limits and she has become like extended family to me along with both her younger sisters Jackie and Tiffany. Jackie is like the mother hen of the group. She is the one who always keeps us in check. What I love most about all three sisters is that they have always been very real with me and keep me grounded and humble. None of them will hesitate to call me out or tell me when I am wrong about something. Collectively they are super honest but through thick or thin they always show me unconditional love. The three of them are very private and maintain a tight circle of friends but once you are in that circle you are treated like family. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate having each one of the sisters in my life.
Eddie Ting –
I originally met Eddie while playing high limit poker at the Bellagio approximately 5-6 years ago but according to him I wasn’t very nice back then. My sister also plays pretty high limit cash games and apparently she was much friendlier to Eddie and eventually they became friends. Eddie still refers to me as the mean one. In my defense sometimes when I am playing poker I am not there to socialize and just want to play poker. He-he. Over time we have developed a great friendship. Eddie is a businessman from New York. He is extremely smart and very intelligent in his business ventures. Eddie has been a good support system and has been there for me when I needed some encouragement.
Neal Wang –
I also met Neal playing high limit poker many years ago. We didn’t really start a friendship until about 4 years ago despite knowing of each other much earlier. I heard a lot of great things about Neal before we became friends. Anyone who has ever encountered Neal can speak to how genuine and nice of a person he is. I know Neal would bend over backwards to help out somebody in need. I have seen him help out many people in the poker community when they needed a helping hand. And nobody else understands me on a spiritual level like Neal does. We are very similar in our spiritual beliefs and Neal relates to me on that level better than anyone else. The way we approach life is very similar and we share many commonalities. Neal is also a very successful business person.
Quinn Do –
Is a professional poker player I met several years ago at the Commerce. When I first met Quinn he was an up and coming pro. He is one of the very few people I have ever helped out with their limit holdem game and he has gone on to be a very successful poker player winning lots of money on the tournament circuit. Quinn is a very encouraging person and I always enjoy running into him. I believe I will see him next in the Philippines for the upcoming APT event. Quinn is a very good hearted person and is the type of person that will always be there if you ever call on him. Quinn is another person who is just very sincere and loyal and I really respect him as a person and glad he is succeeding in life.
Craig Cunningham –
Is a family man, businessman, and poker blogger that I have known for several years. Craig is always looking out for my best interest and gives me terrific advice. I can always bounce ideas and thoughts off Craig and he will be very open and honest to me. He is another person that is just very open and transparent. I talk to Craig frequently and he is the type of person that is always supportive of me but unabashedly honest with me. Craig is also loyal and a very intelligent person. Most importantly, Craig simply cares about me as a person.
Tim Lavalli –
I’ve known Tim for quite a few years now. Tim is another caring and loyal person. We share many similar thoughts about spirituality. Tim is another person in my life that is very open and honest with me. Tim is very involved in the poker business behind the scenes and is very successful. I respect his intelligence and the way he handles himself personally and in business. He is the type of person I respect and I am constantly bouncing ideas off. I enjoy talking to Tim about the business of poker but we also share a personal bond that includes having terrific conversations about life and through thick and thin, along with everyone else, he has been there for me frequently.
Lisa Cripe –
I met Lisa through friends in the poker community. Lisa does public relations and isn’t really involved in the poker world but has many friends in the poker community. Lisa is one of the most honest people I have ever met in my life. She is super honest with herself and around others. Lisa is a true friend that I know will give me honest advice whether I like it or not and always give me honest feedback about anything! Lisa’s greatest attribute however is her loyalty!! When I was going through my surgery earlier in the year, she was always the first person to call me out of all my poker gal friends. Lisa checked in on me probably more than anybody else.
My Family –
I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for my family. I want to thank my Dad (rest in peace) for instilling confidence into me. I want to thank my mom, sister, and brother-in-law for always being available and showing support of what I do for a living. I want to thank my other sisters and brothers for demonstrating unconditional love and to my nieces and nephews for showing me random acts of love and kindness. We can all choose our friends but we are born with our family and I am thankful for the family that I have. More than anyone, my family keeps me grounded and humbled because there isn’t anything I can do in the poker world that would impress them. I would still be the same person and they would treat me like the same person I was 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago. With family, nothing ever changes no matter how successful you become and there is something very refreshing and humbling about that.
These are some of my closest and dearest friends! I have many other friends in the poker community. I have many friends outside of the poker community. People I have shared great times with and have a great bond with. People I respect tremendously and should probably get honorable mention in this blog but I fear I would leave somebody out and the list would be too long so this blog was intended for those that were with me every step of the way in 2008 and demonstrated the most unselfishness and unconditional love. The ones I could count on the most and the ones who never asked for anything from me except mutual respect and mutual love.
Happy New Years everyone!