The Last Hurrah

As I write this I am sitting on an 8th floor balcony in Peurta Vallarta watching the sunset over the mountains. It’s a perfect 75 degrees with just a hint of a breeze that carries in the salt smell of the pacific ocean a few hundred yards away. My pina colada is perfect. When I’m done writing this I’ll take it with me into the hot tub that is conveniently located out here on the balcony. I’ll be the first to admit that my life has not been hard these last few months. I never forget how incredibly lucky I am to be able to have so many incredible experiences and live a remarkable life.

Since I was quite young it has always been my goal to have unique experiences, see the world, and collect stories. There have been sacrifices along the way, risks I took when I was younger, the lack of any significant savings since Black Friday, A lack of job security and certainly some injuries and illnesses that could have been avoided if I had simply stayed home and watched television. But the stories wouldn’t be the same. The life wouldn’t be so rich. And regardless of the tough times, the sacrifices, and some close calls along the way, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I’m the luckiest person I know, and no amount of hard work changes that fact. Sure, I put in the hours, I studied, I worked hard, but I also took advantages of opportunities that very few people have ever had. I was born a healthy American male, big enough and healthy enough to be safe in situations that would be reckless for many people. I had a good education and good parents who raised me well and tolerated my rebellious ways about as well as anyone possibly could. I met the right people, and I started playing poker and studying the game at a time when there is a lot of money to be made.

And most importantly, I caught the right cards at the right times to win a world championship this past summer in addition to a significant sum of money. My friend Chad Holloway was one of the first people I talked to after the win, and his words ring more true every day.

“It will change your life.”

I see it every day. It did change my life. I know that I play HORSE well, but the best player in the world, whoever that may be, wouldn’t win that tournament one time in a hundred. The experience not only provided me with money, a host of new opportunities, and a hell of a story, but it made me a better person. I’m even more driven, even more certain that I can achieve anything I set my mind to, and most importantly I am more thankful than ever before.

I haven’t turned down an invite to a charity poker tournament since the bracelet, and while I rarely turned them down before that, I couldn’t have spent so much money on charity events without the big win. This weekend I played two charity events, both at Canterbury Park. Kudos to Canterbury and their staff for raising over $15,000 for charity this weekend. Steve Fredlund did a great job with All-in for Africa and Keri Marsh and Kelly Day kicked ass for Protecting Paws. I was lucky to be able to help out with both events.

This last few months has been incredible. First a trip halfway around the world to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and California to celebrate the bracelet win and now this amazing all-inclusive resort in Mexico for a week. But it’s almost over. This week will just be relaxing and getting ready to get back to work, because the party is over. When I get home I start out with the Check Shove Poker Tour event at Running Aces, and as soon as that ends I’ll be headed to Council Bluffs to play the WSoP Circuit event until April 19th.

When I return home from Council Bluffs, hopefully with a circuit ring, I have a ton of work to do with lots of students wanting lessons before the WSoP, work with iNinja and Blue Shark Optics, some other interesting deals in the works, tons of training videos for Ivey League, and preparation for the World Series. I want another bracelet, so I’ll be playing as many events as possible and have already sold out a $60,000 investment package without even advertising it.

After this week, it’s back to work. I’m going to bust my ass until the end of the WSoP, and hopefully I’ll have some new stories to tell by the end and enough money to do it all over again! Thanks for reading.

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