Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ship of Fools

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I thought about crafting together an intricate April Fools Joke, but decided against it. Most poker players are savvy enough to sniff out a bluff and know when they are being lied to. Alas, I'm not going to pull the wool over your eyes today.

However, I tried to pull a fast one on spun out hippies. Check out Coventry (my music blog) and Phish Reunion 2.0 and Summer Tour!

My original intent was have a multiple-blog prank (that spilled over Tao of Pauly, Tao of Poker, and Coventry) and tell everyone on Tao of Poker that I'm quitting poker and jumping head first into the music scene because Phish is getting back together, and because the drugs are way better in music, and most importantly no one will ask me for a chip count on Trey Anastasio.

I wanted to publish a 6,000 word post about how I'm absolutely sick of poker, especially tournament poker, including all of the low lives I have met along the way... assclowns, angle shooters, star fuckers, thieves, drama queens, and corrupt suits. That's when I realized that I didn't have to verbalize my thoughts into a new post. Simply re-read my archives over the last couple of years.

In 2003, I entered the poker world as a naive writer and now I'm totally jaded and can't wait to get out of the scene. Or rather, I can't wait until all the negative aspects about the poker scene clear out for a bit. I'm afraid that might not happen for a while.

I feel sorry for the fools who get into poker thinking it's their short cut to wealth, power, fame, and fortune. Like those poor sots who are going to vote for Obama thinking he'll actually shake up DC.

Doesn't matter if it's poker or politics... the bigger the machine gets, the harder it is to stop it.

Why fight a losing cause? Why do more damaged to my already tweaked soul?

I cannot change the poker world. I have been fortunate that I made my mark as a writer, albeit brief. But I realized the only thing I can do is shine a light into the darkness and point out the pitfalls so that others will not make the same mistakes that I made. I wish that I was flawless. I am not. And the poker scene, especially Las Vegas, preys on your weaknesses, both physical and emotional.

I spent a lot of time with old friends over the last two months. These are people who have known me for a while, especially the person who they used to know before I got into poker. The metamorphosis is nearly complete. Las Vegas and poker and the gambling demons have all corrupted me. I'm a different person and I honestly don't like the monster that I have become. In short, I became a person that I dreaded... a obscure and disillusioned version of myself.

I cannot change the poker world, but I can change myself. The Buddhists remark that change comes from within. If I can become a happier and healthier person, then the people around me will benefit and thrive around that positive energy. I've have always felt that if individuals spent more time working out their own issues instead of pointing out faults in others... then we'd live in a more productive society.

That's what I have been trying to do over the last couple of months. I'm frantically searching for the one road which will lead me back to the person that my friends adored and missed, and not the chewed up version that Las Vegas spit out.

When I partied with the hippies in Langerado I forgot how much fun I had and that I have been living in a surreal bubble where people carry around wads of $100 bills and totally caught up in the materialistic lifestyle.

I see poker players, even some of your favorite pros, go broke everyday because they are blinded by reality... that over the long run, it's so difficult to maintain a healthy balance between life and gambling. So pros burn out. Others fade away never to be heard from again. Remember those hotshot WPT winners from 2003-05? Pick a random one. Where are they now? Most of them are busto.

Now I understand why there is rampant cheating in poker, and why athletes take steroids, and why Hollyweird celebrities get plastic surgery, and why politicians fix elections. Once you get a taste of power and money, you want to do everything possible to maintain that buzz. And as I know too well, chasing that first high of the day is the downfall of modern society.

Of course, money is the root of all evil. I originally thought that Shakespeare said that, but it's from the Bible. "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

It's hard for me to walk away from the poker machine. I have been well compensated. I also know that I'm unemployable outside of Las Vegas and outside of poker. That's why I'm still here. If I wasn't pulling in the Benjamins, I would have quit years ago. In short, I'm still here because of the money, which makes me a whore.

My biggest fear is that I turn into an old French whore that smells like dirty feet. I either have to get out and walk away for good, or diligently work hard at changing myself. I never want to become a caricature of myself, yet that's the path I'm speeding down.

There you have it. My existentialist crisis in blog form.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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