Hey everyone! Big thanks to any of you who peek in for this entry. I sit here somewhat stunned at the frequency at which I used to blog. Now I consider it a huge accomplishment if I can get a blog off quarterly. I have such a passion for writing, but I continue to find it difficult to blog. I have a newfound sense of awareness which causes me to second-guess the idea of being too vulnerable publicly. That said, I'm just going to start typing and we'll see how this turns out.
It was pretty easy to speak my mind as an arrogant 22 year old. As my 29th birthday approaches, however, I find myself thinking things like "Am I going to regret this one year from now?" before writing. Additionally I'm enjoying living a more private life. I'm finding it rewarding to immerse then reflect personally on each of my life experiences. This is something I didn't do a great job of prior to my last 2.5 years of dedicated self-improvement. Then, I felt more of a need to be on my mobile device reporting how great my life was to anyone who would listen by way of this blog, facebook or twitter. I've done a lot of reading with regard to freeing oneself from the ego. This is easily the biggest and toughest personal battle with which I deal, and it is an ever-ongoing process. It's a goal of mine to one day get to a stage in my life where all of my decisions come from my Higher Self. It is a process that is going to take serious time, but it's a process to which I'm committed. All of this said, thanks again for checking in. I appreciate the interest in my life and career. While I may blog infrequently, I am at an all-time high when it comes to personal happiness. You can trust that I am somewhere in the world attempting to live my life to the fullest.
Since I last updated I've done quite a bit of traveling around the US and Canada following the World Poker Tour. I've benefited from having a bunch of my best friends along the ride with me, and we've had a hell of a good time. My lifelong friend Zack came to hang with me in Los Angeles for a while, and a group of us memorably went hard partying on five consecutive nights. There is something so awesome about the social scene in that city. Throughout my twenties, I've gone through phases with how I feel about nightlife in general. I'm finding that it is much more about who you're hanging out with than where you are. I LOVE getting together a great group, putting my cell phone away and having fun. I cringe a little when I see people who are out just because they feel obligated, and I've noticed that those are often the people that are pointing at and judging others. These actions come from personal insecurities, which is something I know because it's something with which I used to deal.
While in LA I officially became hooked on hiking after doing Runyon Canyon and Corral Canyon in Malibu. I expect that I'll spend a lot more time this year trying to get in touch with nature. I find myself saying this all too often, but I'm really going to try to make a point to make time for it. There really is no better escape from the busy world around us than getting out in nature, meditating on one's thoughts, and then implementing a plan going forward.
I also spent extended time in New York which is endlessly fascinating. I've now spent about three weeks of my life there but have never experienced temperatures above 30°F. I found myself walking around the city people-watching and taking it all in for hours at a time and really enjoyed that experience. I was staying at an apartment in the East Village solo and admittedly found it quite isolating. It's ironic how that can happen in a city that is so populated with people. Though as many of you know, there isn't a whole lot of stopping to say hello in the city, nor is eye contact encouraged.
In my near decade of traveling playing poker professionally I've learned to deal with isolation. I've taught myself to be pretty productive in my downtime. Usually it is spent trying to better myself in some way. I feel I'm really coming into my own in terms of self-confidence. As a result I've been able to cultivate some very cool friendships and relationships worldwide. I've taken myself out of my comfort zone and jumped into social situations that I previously would have altogether avoided. I am a huge proponent of honesty and feel that it should be the default in almost all situations. There's something so sexy about communicating openly, honestly and confidently with someone. I've found that I've been able to get to know and bond with others much more quickly that way. Since every moment we all have here is so precious, I feel that this is imperative.
Recently I spent some more time in Northern California. I am now inclined to believe that San Francisco is THE place to live in the United States. There's something about the vibe in that city. Everyone is free to be whoever or whatever he or she wants. The word accepting comes to mind when I think of the people there with whom I've had interaction. While in San Fran my friends and I spent a day visiting Alcatraz. I've always been a big fan of books, movies, and TV shows prison related, so it was one of the highlights of my trip despite being so touristy. The view of the city across the Bay from the island is permanently imprinted in my head as one of the most memorable and meditative I've experienced in my travels. I honestly can't wait to spend more time in SF.
I'll add that the first quarter of '14 was profitable from a poker standpoint. Unforgettably, I made a deep run in a World Poker Tour event that was hosted in Coconut Creek, Florida. I very narrowly missed my first major tournament win as I finished 2nd of the 415 entrants. I received $190,000 after losing to an investor/poker player personality named James Calderaro when it got heads-up (pictured together below). Big shout out to Caldo for playing great all tournament long. There is absolutely no feeling I've experienced in my life like being deep in a major poker tournament. I enjoy competing moreso now than ever. I intend to play many more of them this year both live and online. I feel very fortunate to be doing what I love. Next month I'll play two more major WPT events. The first is in Hollywood, Florida and the second is the event that everyone wants to win: the $15,000 buy-in WPT Championship which is being hosted at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey.