Los Angeles, CA
After some soul searching in Miami, I formulated a game plan for poker in 2010; a three-pronged approach that involves the Tao of Poker, playing more poker, and Lost Vegas.
First of all, Lost Vegas is not ready. We're still a couple of months away from the release date and the French version probably won't be ready until the end of the summer. I could have rushed Lost Vegas out by early December, but the result would have been a piece of garbage. Plus, three other major poker-related books were published around the same time and it would have been foolish to go up against Doyle Brunson, Jim McManus, and Vicky Coren in an era when fewer people are reading books.
To put it in Hollywood terms (as my girlfriend likes to explain), Lost Vegas is an indie flick from an up and coming director that would get pummeled by three major studio flicks. I made the wise decision to postpone the release date at a time when I don't have to compete against three giants. The benefits were that I enjoyed the holidays and had time to re-write the current draft with a new editor that I refer to as the German Butcher because he was merciless and precise with his edits. Sure, Lost Vegas is way past deadline, but the end result will be a better book.
Here's the backstory. In August of 2008, I attended a Radiohead concert at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. I had a life-altering experience as I stood on the same sacred ground that my favorite band, The Grateful Dead, who had performed at the same spot too many times to count. I could not help but absorb some of that mystical energy which inspired (and challenged) me to finally complete the elusive Las Vegas book that I had attempted to write three times before and failed on each attempt. I vowed that I was not going to fail on my fourth attempt. Maybe it was the liquid sunshine, but for the first time since I embarked on this crazy journey in poker, I had a clear and concise mission objective. Thus, Lost Vegas was officially spawned.
I spent the rest of the fall of 2008 clearing my schedule for the first quarter of 2009 so I can set aside chunks of time to write. My girlfriend even fixed up the spare room in our apartment in the Slums of Beverly Hills and transformed it into a home office. I had the time. I had the space. I had the experiences. All I had to do was crank it out.
However, I did not anticipate two major obstacles; the economy tanking worse than expected and Phish getting back together. That meant my attention would be diverted to working more than I originally wanted and I got heavily distracted with a Phish reunion.
The postponement of the book was the best thing that happened to me in 2009. Since the end of the summer, I struggled with trying to handle the stress that accompanied the book. I slept even less. I popped more pills and battled addiction too many times to count. I lost my mind a couple of times and freaked out. In short, I was miserable and not on top of my writing game. Lost Vegas was a trainwreck waiting to happen, so I'm glad that I slammed on the breaks before anyone got hurt. I shelved the project to preserve my sanity and a tremendous weight had been alleviated. I lived life and had a kick ass time for the last two months of 2009.
Now, I'm in a much better head space to complete the last leg of the book.
Lost Vegas is not my only goal in 2010. I also want to play more poker. I have to keep my game sharp plus I need to make a little extra cash on the side just in case the freelance market continues to run dry and the book tanks.
I won't focus on tournaments but I'll continue to dabble in cash games; grinding out multi-table LHE and the good old hit and run at the NL tables.
I want to branch out to a new site. As much as I love PokerStars and FullTilt, I have a desire to play anonymously. That's what I missed about Empire Poker the most.
Since I live in L.A., I want to play more live cash games at the local casinos. While I'm at it, I enjoy having a good time at the tables. Life is short after all and I'd like to get in a regular home game for shits and giggles.
Also, I have a specific goal to play more poker outdoors. I have to take advantage of the Southern California sun, so why not get the best of both worlds instead of rotting away in the darkness?
And yes, Saturdays with Dr. Pauly will return to PokerStars. PLO madness shall ensue. I'll do at least one tournament a month. Stay tuned for more details.
So what about Tao of Poker? It will always be here. It's never going away.
Even with the explosion of Twitter, I still managed to find a way to integrate both pieces of technology. Let's face it, Twitter and other social media networks have a shelf life. Just like Sanka, VCRs, and Friendster... the current darlings du jour like Facebook and Twitter will someday become obsolete. But for now, they hold the top spot while I look for new pieces of technology and social media to adopt.
I tell stories and 140 characters cannot contain the thoughts and themes rattling around inside my head. I never know if I'm going to post every day or every other day or once a week. But when the words I write have a poker or gambling theme, I'll be sure to post those ramblings here.
In 2009, I experimented with guest posters including the Tao All Stars during the Main Event, and my friend Trisha helped out as a reality show correspondent. I hope to do a little more of the same in 2010 featuring some of my favorite scribes. I also hope to convince Change100 to become a regular contributor here.
I don't think I'll miss any of the 2010 WSOP because Phish's summer tour is not scheduled until late summer, plus I have book to plug, so you can expect more of me roaming the hallways at this year's Mecca of poker.
I guess that's it for now. You have my game plan for 2010. More poker. More fun. Tao of Poker will continue to be a corner on the web that showcases some of the best poker writing around. And I'll finally finish off Lost Vegas. As of right now, let's just say April 20, 2010 as a tentative release date.
Best of luck to everyone in 2010. I hope to cross paths with you at the virtual tables, in Las Vegas, on the road in South America, and in the L.A. casinos.
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