Saturday, December 29, 2007

2 x bottles of wine & a packet of crisps...

Look out there is a hypocrite about…

It's 3:34 in the afternoon and I have just got out of my pit my head is spinning and the carnage is all there in front of me. One times large bottle of Jack Daniels with about shot left in it, 2 x empty wine bottles and a little bit of nan bread. I have just looked up at my bookshelf and noticed a bottle of Amaretto with a bit missing, oh dear…

Now I've been heading back to the cash tables and really enjoying the poker. I have also been enjoying the fact that I can play constant winning poker regardless of suckouts. So last night while the booze was flowing and my confidence was ever growing and I went on the cash tables well oiled. That's all I can really remember, other than a few all in moments for 5/6k pots.

First thing I did after analysing the carnage and to be honest thinking I don't really feel that bad for the amount I have drunk was checked my poker account. 2.5 K. released into the poker economy just for old times sake. Obviously I am a little pissed off especially after the poker that I have been playing and the discipline I have been applying, but hey it's only money. Okay, stop right there before we go any further I am coming back to this paragraph to explain myself. However without further ado…

Here's my excuse, I have two daughters aged 13 and 14 from a previous relationship and I haven't spoken to them for three months. I have been studying and have become a master practitioner of NLP. Some say NLP is the study of excellence I like to describe it as the art of freedom. In a nutshell you could describe it as the way we communicate verbally and nonverbally and I haven't spoke to my daughters for three months. They have a reality tunnel which has been created by their mum and in their reality tunnel dad doesn't exist. Yesterday I took them their Christmas presents and a long letter explaining my feelings and offering them the choices available. I've tried everything apart from pen to paper so I thought I'd give that a go.

I included metaphors as my last ditch attempt to communicate past the barriers that have been defended ferociously from a young age. I bought them a laptop each so that no matter what they have a means of communication - no excuses. One of the girls seems uncomfortable with the situation the other gave me a dirty look. Now before anybody thinks it's the thought that counts, my Christmas present from them was a tumbler with a miniature whisky inside it. It was very unique and even looked aged, in fact it looked about 10 years old. Isn't it amazing what they can do these days to make things look old?

Anyway, I sent them a letter it was more like an epic to be honest because when I start writing I generally can't stop. And I poured out my heart, my feelings, my frustrations. One of the stories was about when I lost my mum and how It took 10 years to for me to realise she was still a part of me even though she'd gone etc. One of my girls sent me a text message ‘thanks for the presents dad x’. That was it. Fucking marvellous I thought, isn't it great to be appreciated. My new abilities to control my state disintegrated for the day and even nearly ended up in a road rage incident. However, I managed to recover and brushed it off as “hey just one of those things”.

So I got pissed lost 2.5 K. playing poker and lived to tell the tale… the following is an excerpt of what I wrote to my daughters which I've just decided to share because sometimes you should take a leaf out of your own book…

Part of my epic....
I was thinking back to Florida the other day and how it was meant to be the perfect holiday the one holiday that we never forgot. The week before the journey I was so excited, everything booked all the spending money arranged, first-class flights with Virgin Atlantic what more could I ask for. That night a week before I decide to go to the jujitsu club and do some training open to burn off a few calories before I hit the buns big time. Training went as normal until it came to doing the throwing and I thought “oh dear here we go, knowing my luck probably injure myself”. I did a few throws and got thrown a few times until it was my turn to throw the big guy. Guess what was going through my head?

“If you throw him you will end up injuring yourself.”
Guess what happened?
Well you already know the rest, sometimes we are just so good at creating our future. The doctor told me I had injured my knee that bad when I needed surgery, major surgery as soon as possible. I told him about Florida with my family and he just said don't worry I will write you a doctors note and you will be able to claim on your insurance. I sat and thought about what he was saying and then pondered what everybody else would think and asked the doctor if there was anything else that could be done. I didn't want to let my family down, not to be the hero but selfishly I want to be holidaying just as much as everyone else. He said the only alternative was by wearing a knee brace go on the holiday on crutches, well you already know the rest.

It had been my life's ambition to one day have a holiday of a lifetime. What better place than Disneyland to make that dream come true. Bring it on... There are lots of things to learn from the holiday, I was going to call them bad memories but I'd much rather class them as learning opportunities. One thing in particular springs to mind and that is the ability or lack of as far as Disney was concerned ability to control our own ‘states of mind’. I remember thinking when everybody was whingeing about the heat, “does anybody consider the fact that I am here with a mangled knee in the same F*****G heat?”

Have you ever heard somebody say “ put yourself in my shoes”? Have you ever put yourself in someone's shoes? Yes, actually I can answer that for you because if you remember in Spain we played a game whilst we were driving in the mountains. I asked you before we went in the tunnel to pretend you was an artist and look through an artist eyes - take an artist's viewpoint, can you remember? Then I think after the tunnel I asked you what you saw and you described the mountains, clouds, colours etc. Then I suggested that you imagined you were a motorway maintenance man in charge of the roads and I asked what it is you saw then (remember how different the experience was). I don't know whether I actually went in and explained about how we filter our experience through our beliefs and values but the exercise was to give you an insight into just how easy it is to see something from somebody else's point of view.

So back in Florida I understood that it was hot and that’s why I bought you water sprays to cool yourselves down. I stepped into your shoes! a quick look through your filters/lenses and accepted why you were feeling hot and flustered. Wouldn't you agree that probably if somebody would have took the time to see things from my point of view then the heat probably wouldn't have been as important? In fact you probably wouldn’t have noticed it was hot. They are some memories I can choose to select and dwell on.

Alternatively I make a CHOICE - I change my lenses/filters and put the past behind me and guess what? I can look back at Disney and recall the good times. Having the Godfather theme played to me in a big Italian Resteraunt., Tony and Tina’s wedding and the drunken Vicar “was he really drunk?”. Tubbies and loading up for breakfast and realising why a lot of Americans are fat. The magic of the Disney characters. Losing the bottom of my crutches when Levi dropped it in the water. That parking spot “what number was it again?”.

The things I learned then and the things that I still learn now just by reflection give me hope for the future. Sometimes just floating back in your past and having a little look round give us the opportunity of new discoveries. Just what can you discover?
Can you see now its what lenses you CHOOSE to wear? Why not CHOOSE to wear someone elses for a change instead of putting the same one’s on, you may be surprised !

Mmmmmmm Food for thought :)

Merry Xmas & good luck at the tables (sober)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

You're not what you think you are, but what you think, you are..

So I have decided to start updating my blog on a regular basis again. The reason is that I have started to play nice smooth recreational poker and I'm enjoying the ride. Before I talk about the present just been doing a little reflecting on the past and where my poker journey has taken me. Things were going well actually and at the time of my poker beginnings, things couldn't be better. I was living a life of riley. The poker filled in the gaps and I remember thinking to myself this is the life, flashing off my three screens and talking to anybody who wanted to listen about poker.

Poker on the surface level so simple but as you drive down into the realms of the poker world you enter an intricate web with more facets than the finest cut diamond. As I drove down into the realms of the poker world I sampled some of the different roads available on my journey. The further and deeper I travelled down some the more I felt I was escaping the reality of the fact that something was missing in my life. Anyway I carried on regardless and wherever it was, whatever it was I was still making a tidy profit even though now the alcohol had crept into my game.

Alcohol and poker do not mix, it was great at first playing on the play money tables with my friends and the old Jack Daniels but Jack and real money poker was a recipe for disaster. By the year end I was winning the 30k tax free recreational poker player profits that could have been treble that. However, I was still pleased with my progress until I blew the lot in a tilt infested frenzy that lasted about three weeks culminating in my decision that online poker was rigged. I really did what Robert Anton Wilson says in his book ‘Prometheus rising’, (what the thinker thinks the prover proves!) I thought online poker was rigged, and deleted everything from my experience that suggested otherwise, how laughable but true.

So without further ado from a little reflection of the past to my projection of the future in the context of poker. I realised whilst on the emotional roller coaster that the reason I was playing poker so much was not that I was living a life of riley but there were just gaps that needed filling in at that time, pretty big ones. I had achieved my goals and as a result took my foot off the accelerator. Now, with no sense of direction had tried to adapt to the life of leisure but it wasn't me something was missing.

I'm playing poker now with a new-found vigour and I play for recreation and to test my ability to control my ‘state of mind’. This is my new challenge and part of my new goals. I am focusing more on live play but don't mind firing up the odd six-pack when I feel like doing so and if I don't feel like it I just don't do it. That's all part of the discipline. The discipline to be able to take it or leave it and not to become a victim of its complexity. The journey has been a fantastic one to reflect on and as I sit here now writing this poker taught me a valuable lesson.

I have the ability to walk away…

Good look at the tables Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

P.S I am now a certified master practitioner of Neuro linguistic programming and my training was taken with the co-creator of NLP doctor John Grinder. One of my goals is to work with professional poker players in helping them achieve their potential and I am currently in the process of setting up this aspect of my business.