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Monday, May 27, 2013

24 Hours til Vegas...No Expectations

I know, its been awhile, again...since I blogged. It's been a, well...it's not been the best of months. And poker had nothing to do with any of it. 

Every time I click on this bookmark, to make a blog, the first thing I see is any new comments I've received. These comments...whether I choose to publish them or not...have stopped posting to the actual blog page. I don't know why. Google always returns an error message when I try to re-add it. So the only one who sees your comments, is me. 

Well, there is one...it might be two...guys who have taken to pretty much coming up with the most personally offensive things they can think of to say to me. Of course they never sign their name to their comments. A lot of their comments are based on posts they see on my Facebook...which is useless in trying to figure out who they are (not like it matters, really) since my posts on Facebook are viewable to anyone, not just my F/B friends. 

I've gotten a lot more thick-skinned the past five years...due in large part to a lot of the bullshit I've endured while playing poker for a living. So a lot of these comments I read, don't really stick to me like they might have in the past. Sometimes when someone says something about you, you have the urge to lash out and defend yourself to those who say things about you. I think its human nature. 

Well, I'd be lacking any human emotion whatsoever if I said that these comments didn't at least upset me a tiny bit. Of course they do. I don't like that people just sit there waiting for me to make a blog post a Facebook post, so they can fire off their latest mean comment. What inspires and motivates them to do that? Are they so devoid of things in their own life to focus their energies on that they need to turn to upsetting mine? I guess so. The common thread in these person(s) slams against me are my frequent sharing of information, personal information...that this person feels is an attempt on my part to garner sympathy. 

Hmmm. So I thought about that for awhile. I mean...seriously, really thought about it. Do I do this? Am I looking for sympathy? And I came to a rather unanimous conclusion. Hell no. See, I share...probably TOO much, with you...my readers, when I write my blog. Most people are really averse to letting what amounts to total strangers into their life too much. They will let you know only what you need to know. And I admit, I'm guilty of letting people see too much of the show behind the curtain. And it isn't always pretty. Admittedly. 

But I thought about it, long and hard. Sympathy? I think to be seeking sympathy, you first need to feel sorry for YOURSELF...is that not true? And I know that no matter how low I've gotten..whether it be in a pit of depression, or a financial hole...that I rarely have spent much (if any) time feeling sorry for myself. In fact, I browse Facebook on occasion and almost punch my computer screen at the number of those people who ARE on there...that their cry for pity is so patently clear. But I don't leave them a snarky comment, bashing them for their pleas for sympathy. I just move on. So when I read this person(s) comments instead of getting defensive and/or mad..I just took a look inward, at myself, to ask if I'm guilty of this. And like I said, concluded that its not even open for discussion.

When I get low, or broke, or frustrated, the last thing I do is seek others to make it better. Know why? Because I've lived 46 years on the planet, and I've figured out that the percentage of people who really, truly care...about your bad run of luck, about your plight in life, about your current financial status? Is a very small number. Oh...I might talk about it. But talking about something...and only to those you feel you can...and whining/bitching about it...are two totally different things.

So...two weeks ago tomorrow...something very tragic happened in our home. Right in front of me, my wife, and our 1 year old daughter. Right in our living room, on our couch. It will forever change my wife and I...hopefully Carley was too young for it to impact her. Five days after this happened, whoever this asshole commenter is...posted a comment in here, suggesting how 'excited' I must have been to post about what happened on my Facebook. People that are cut from this fiber...are truly the lowest form of human life...and have a special place carved out for them in hell, I think. 

Most of you know what happened two weeks ago. Cheryl's father, Sonny...who was staying with us while he recovered from one of the most serious operations you can ever have...something called the 'Whipple Procedure', and which was later told to us by the coroner that it carries one of the highest rates of mortality of any operation known to the medical practice...suffered a heart attack, which we assume was related to the recovery process, since he had never had any history of heart trouble. We gave him the aspirin he requested. I immediately and calmly called 911 and the fire department medics were here in 2-3 minutes to stabilize him. He continued to slip deeper into pain, difficulty breathing...and you could see and hear the pain and fear on his face and in his voice. Cheryl was trembling and crying and freaking out. Carley sat...ominously quiet...just staring at 'grandaddy.' I kept trying to figure out something I could do to help...but the 3 medics seemed to have things in control. They were waiting for the ambulance...to take him to the ER.

It must have been 10 minutes before the ambulance arrived...but it felt like an hour. They got him on a gurney and rolled him out to the ambulance...where we all watched him put inside...with his eyes open...but in visible pain, and the fear in his eyes was obvious. Cheryl followed the ambulance in her car...as I tried to contact our babysitter...which I did...despite it being 10:30 at night. She showed up in minutes...I gave Carley to her...and sped off to the hospital. When I arrived, the personnel from the ambulance was still in the carport..and when I approached them to talk, I could already tell by the look on their face that the news was bad. I found Cheryl in the waiting room, bawling. It was a nightmare. I didn't know what to do, or say...so I just held her. 

I texted one of her friends...knowing that in a time like that...it would help to have a girl friend there. I was right. Within ten minutes two of them showed up. And I could tell it meant a lot to her. The four of us were allowed in to see her father...who they had laid in hospital bed. I'd never witnessed death before. This was new territory. And this was my wife's father...who she adored. Later (Friday), on a drive home (to N. Alabama) to conduct his service...I would start a conversation with Cheryl about her daddy...wanting to know more. In the 12 years we have been together...I never really had a great relationship with Sonny. It wasn't bad...not at all. It just was never great. I probably didn't make enough of an effort to get to know him...and I felt kind of bad about that now.

A few days before Sonny died, he said something that really touched me. I can't remember him ever paying me a compliment...I mean, aside from something trivial...a real compliment. He was on the couch watching me feed Carley while Cheryl was at work one day...and just out of nowhere says....

"You know Will, I wasn't sure how good of a father you would be...but you really are a great dad. I'm surprised."

That comment is what I will always remember about Sonny. That and the things Cheryl shared with me on that drive home...we had such a good talk...that I completely missed the exit to her brother's house! And she didn't notice that I'd missed it either. In 12 years together, it might have been our best conversation ever. 

It just so happened that Cheryl's grandmother, Sonny's Mom...had a family reunion planned for last weekend...so a lot of people were in town for that. So they kind of had to rush the service...which was held at his mom's church. I was amazed by the turnout...close to 100 people...and the amount of flowers that were sent was truly impressive. I was happy to see that the Beau Rivage had sent flowers. That was a classy move by them. The service was nice...with a picture slide show that Cheryl and her brother's wife put together the night before.  A lot of tears were shed...Cheryl was incredibly courageous...not just during the service but the whole week leading up to it...and since. 

Sonny had a lot of debt,  and his life insurance had expired two months before he passed...and since his health was so bad, they wouldn't write him a new policy. So a lot of things were left to her brother and her to take care of. I felt so bad for them. I mean...you just lost your father...and now you have to deal with things involving money? It's just an insult. I mean...you would think when your loved one dies...you would at least get a little time to mourn the loss before being hit in the face with bills. But I guess it's just a reality of life. So we took care of the funeral home's bill...and the rest will be dealt with later, somehow. But watching Scott (her brother) and her deal with all this that whole week was just absolutely inspiring. Scott and I had a talk out in his driveway when we arrived that Friday night...about God, and faith, and a lot of beliefs that his dad had about it. We talked about the importance of family and friends, and our health. It was another good talk...in a day of great talks, and understanding of the people who are closest to me. 

I don't know if I could have shown the strength that her and Scott showed that week. Scott loaded up his three boys and wife on Wednesday night...and made the 6-hour drive down here just so he could sit with his father and pray with him...before he was cremated (per his request), then stayed the night with us...and we all drove back up to Huntsville the next morning. He said that seeing his dad made him feel a lot better.  My respect for Scott...never before even in question...just continues to grow all the time. He is an amazing father, a great husband...and just one of the best people I know. Having been around him for the past ten years made me nervous to have a child, not thinking I could ever be even CLOSE to the type of dad he is. My hope is that I can just be close.

So Sonny has left us. He was a member of my poker club. A lot of people said a lot of really nice things about him. When his surgery was over...and they determined he didn't have cancer (which several doctors thought he did have) it was a great moment for all of us. He got back on and was playing poker while he was here staying with us. He collected a few wins...but mostly had a lot of frustrating results. Yeah...I know the pain...in the month of May...out of 152 games played...I have bubbled 41...FORTY ONE...times. It's been insane. Whatever. So when Sonny passed, he left me with a negative balance that was pretty significant. I wasn't upset about it. It is what it is. As was the bill for the funeral arrangements. It's life. It's family. 

It did give me a little perspective on my future though. Me and Cheryl. No more eating bad, and not exercising. I don't want my child having to bury me at a relatively early age.  Also made me glad I took out a good life insurance policy for me and Cheryl last year...so that if something does happen to one or both of us...everything we leave will be taken care of, bills, daughter...and family. It has changed my whole outlook on this trip I am taking to Vegas tomorrow too. Now that I have a solid little business going with the poker club...that is doing wonders for me and Squirrel's bills, as well as our relationship...in addition to my other side business, an online marketing business...that is doing great since I made a few changes in April...I finally have the opportunity to go to Vegas not HAVING to win. 

I sold out my 50-share package in just a few days...and will play for 38% of myself this summer...on my 20-day poker trip that will have me playing primarily at Venetian. I have a total of 26 investors. They are in for 62% of EVERYTHING I play...sit n gos, satellites, and tourneys...all of em. And they will get as close to daily updates as possible. The number...which will start out at $7500...and just go from there. If it ends on $7500...they all get their money back. So for you wizards with your snappy markup math that you like to do....save it. It doesn't work with this game plan. It's real simple...if I cash....I get 38% of what I cash..and the rest goes in the bankroll. At the end of the 20 days...whatever that figure is...gets chopped up and paid out. I predict I will probably play about 25-30K worth of tourneys and sng's. Pretty good action for $150 a share...and I don't have too many investors who have ever felt like they didn't get their money's worth. Or at least not that I know of. 

Back to Sonny. Whether you believe in God or not...there are things that happen that sometimes are very hard to explain. Well, last Sunday night...we were up Killen, Alabama at Cheryl's mom's house. Cheryl had spent the day at her Daddy's house going through all his stuff, trying to get his affairs in order...and I was at her mom's house. I logged on to Lock..which I hadn't played on in a while...at least a month. I bought into the $20 MTT and their $10k Guarantee $109 buy in. I started great in the 20 and terrible in the 100. I would final table the $100 and not cash the $20. Once at the final table...I was 7th out of 9. Then the breaks started coming. One suckout after another. What is going on? This NEVER happens to me on Lock. EVER! Then I got heads up. And with me trailing 9 to 1...fought my way back slowly...got it to even...then lost a huge pot to fall back to down 6 to 1....I was feeling hopeless, but still good about winning $2200 for 2nd....when all of a sudden, I raised with 99...got re-raised....put in a fourth raise...and had him shove on me. Had to call. I was up against AA. Ooops. 

The board ran out dry until the river...when a nine hit! Holy cow! No way! I took down a huge pot, momentum swung my way...and before I knew it, I had him on the ropes and finished him when we both flopped two pair...mine better than his. I had won. $3200. Biggest score ever on Lock. And for a moment I looked around...and wondered if Sonny had maybe had something to do with it. That his guilt that he maybe was feeling over leaving us with his burden had been lifted by steering a few breaks my way. I would like to think that is exactly what happened. I know Sonny had a rough last decade. But he was a good man. And his kids loved him unconditionally. And despite being a great student of religion in his earlier years...before losing his confidence in the lord, and before losing most of his confidence in a lot of things...I feel that our father in heaven has invited Sonny into his haven and provided comfort to him.  And that we will all be reunited with him one day. 

So me sharing this with you? Is this me wanting sympathy? As this jerk who leaves these comments would suggest? I don't understand how. Why would I expect anyone to feel sorry for me? That's stupid. My life, I think...was made better by having experienced this. I want to think that something positive has resulted from this terrible tragedy. I know what a good wife I have in Cheryl, what a tremendous person she is. How caring she is. And I know that my daughter will always be in the best care...whether its from me, my wife...or members of our family. 

As I get ready to leave for Vegas...the most important things in life, in my life...are solid. Bills are paid. Home is secure. Child is healthy. Wife is still recovering, but surrounded by a loving family. I am not leaving tomorrow with any feelings of desperation. I know I'm a good enough player to win something decent. I also know that no matter how good you play, sometimes...you can't fade bad luck. If I play good enough to get deep, and put myself in position to win a good amount of money...that is all I can really control. The rest will be up to the Poker Gods. Because no matter what anyone tries to tell you....you can only get it in good so many times...and if it doesn't hold, you aren't going to win. AA always beats 77 preflop. But once those five cards come out? Anything can happen. What I can't, and WON'T do...is let the bad beats eat me up.Yea...it's frustrating...it truly is, and anyone who does what we full-time poker players choose to do for a living is going to experience it. More than we care to believe we ever thought we would. You have to have some major intestinal fortitude to survive it, if you plan on being successful in poker.

So...tomorrow, at around noon, I will leave my beautiful wife...my baby Carley Grace...who has changed my whole world....and I go in pursuit of something that will simply make our lives more easy to live. My goal? Win enough to get us out of this rental house...and into our OWN home...big enough for Carley to grow into...an even bigger yard for our dogs to run free in. That's all I really want. Our own house. In Biloxi. And maybe someday move closer to Cheryl's family in North Alabama...so Carley can grow up surrounded by the amazing love of her family. Because I don't care where I live. It doesn't matter. Now...its just all for my family.

Monkey

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