Monday, August 04, 2008

Tao of Five: Reflections, Strange Trips, and Crumbs

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Five summers ago, I started the Tao of Poker because the readers on Tao of Pauly were perturbed, annoyed, and embittered about an excess of poker content that drowned out my musings of every day life in New York City.

Back then, maybe a dozen or so people regularly read Tao of Pauly and those hardcore readers were my closest friends. When I flashback to the summer of 2003 and I think about my core group of friends in New York City from that post-9.11 era, none of them played poker and most of them thought that any gambling content was boring. There was an actual mutiny on Tao of Pauly. They demanded that I start a new blog so in order to keep the peace, I started the Tao of Poker.

Tao of Pauly and Truckin' originated in May and June of 2002 and Tao of Poker sprung to life in August of 2003. Coventry (which started out as a Phish blog and evolved into a music blog) was created in August of 2004. Although I have started/stopped a dozen other blogs since then, those four remain the core of my existence on the internet. A year ago, I stopped updating my resume and hording writing samples. It's much easier to simply point prospective employers to the various websites.

It's sort of a happy accident that Tao of Poker came to be. Yeah, there is some sort of irony in the fact that what my friends rejected in 2003 ended up catapulting me into the cosmos. That would be the only and last time I give into the demands of the readers. If it weren't for the great blog mutiny of 2003, I never would be in the position that I find myself today. Then again, if it weren't for them, Tao of Pauly could have become the celebrated blog on the intertubes that Tao of Poker became, and I wouldn't have to hustle to maintain another blog.

Alas, I am where I am because of the choices I made and the randomness of the universe. That is unless you believe in fate or destiny, then all of this was mapped out for me way before I set forth upon this earth. Of course, that a series of ongoing debates I have been struggling with for two decades, some of which have spilled into these pages. Do we have freedom of choice or is it an illusion because life is rigged? And if life is rigged (or any compartment of life whether its politics, online poker, or American Idol), why do we even bother?

Those are questions that I have asked myself and others during my extended stays in Las Vegas or during the course of my travels over the last five years.

Sometime in the early morning hours on August 17th, 2003, I wrote my first entry on Tao of Poker...
"I know there are fanatics who share my same disposition and now there's a site for them to visit. Combined with the knowlegde that there are not too many poker blogs out there... I decided to start my own."
I love the fact that I spelled 'knowledge' wrong in my first entry. But that's what has always been great about Tao of Poker and Tao of Pauly and that some readers just couldn't grasp.... that I don't care about perfect grammar, pristine spelling, and journalistic integrity. If I did, then all the fun would be sucked out of it and then blogging would become a job and by definition all jobs suck.

The Tao(s) are what they are. A blog on a address. You can't take anything too seriously if you are peering into these parts of the interwebs. I'm not a journalist. I'm not a prophet. I'm not an entertainer. To quote Charles Barkley, "I am not a role model."

I'm a writer.

And here? I write about poker and gambling. That's all I ever set out to do and in theory, that's my goal today, tomorrow, and the next day.

Tao is loosely translated into "the road" or "the way" so Tao of Poker is the way that poker and gambling flows through my life. Sometimes I'm drowning in it. Other days, thoughts about poker are non-existent in my mind. When I look back at the early 1990s when I was in college, I gambled a lot on sports and played poker and other card games with my fraternity brothers. After college, I continued to play poker throughout my angst-ridden twenties whether it was with hipsters in NYC or hippies in Seattle, I actively sought out a home game. All of that was pre-Tao of Poker and I never even heard of internet poker.

You have read about my gambling exploits during my thirties including my first experiences with online poker. All of that has been chronicled here on Tao of Poker over the last five years. Of course, life is about perspective. And writing is how I interpret things... from my perspective. If you were one of the early readers, you could see the growth and evolution as I made my journey through poker. I started out as the outsider looking in. That was five summers ago. And now? I'm considered an industry insider.

As the Grateful Dead summed it up best...
Sometimes the lights all shinin on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip its been.
Tao of Poker has been very very kind to me over the last five years. To that, I'm eternally grateful. Through the Tao of Poker, I've got to see the world (like Sweden for the first time and Australia three times), climbed out of debt, grew closer to my brother, met my girlfriend, and forged dozens and dozens of sincere relationships.

It's difficult to encapsulate five years into one single post, so I'll write a series of nostalgic blog posts over the next month weaving the past, present, and future of the Tao of Poker. Stay tuned.

And don't forget about...

In order to celebrate the Tao of Poker's fifth birthday, I'm throwing a private tournament on PokerStars with a special bonus to the winner. They will also receive two nights at the Borgata Hotel & Spa in Atlantic City and they will also gain an entry into a $5,000 buy-in NL tournament during the Borgata Poker Open on September 12th.

For more specific here.

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

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