Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Moving Forward (Not Starting Over)

Moving ForwardWas listening yesterday to Change100’s interview over on PreGame.com, conducted last week just a few days after “Black Friday” smacked us all in the face like Teddy KGB holding aces full.

Change shares a lot of insight throughout the interview. And foresight, too, especially considering she was talking so soon after the indictments and civil complaint had been unsealed and the sites’ shut their doors to U.S. players. There was one moment in particular, though, where I felt particularly connected to what Change was saying.

Asked what she planned to do moving forward, she brought up Pauly and explained that even if the future is somewhat unclear for the two of them at the moment, one thing is certain -- they’ll keep writing.

“Both of us are writers,” Change explains. “That’s our chosen profession. We've written about poker because we love it. And because it was this incredible, booming industry and we had an amazing run in it. And I got to see the world through poker, which is something I certainly wouldn't have been able to do if I was still stuck in an office....”

Like I say, that kind of hit home for me in a few ways. For one, a change of careers is something I have in common with Change. I, too, had a possible future mostly spent inside an office from which I was steered away by poker.

I also identified with that reference to the past few years and all of the opportunities that have come our way via writing about poker. Would I have ever gone to the Ukraine? To Morocco? To Peru? Not likely. Hell, even getting to Atlantic City might’ve been less of a priority for me, had I not gone there on an assignment.

I like as well the reference to choosing to write about poker because of a love for the game. These other things -- the chance to travel, to get paid, etc. -- really are secondary for a lot of us. We love poker. And we love to write. And that’s where it all begins and ends, no matter where we go in between.

Been thinking some lately about the blog and why I write it. “Black Friday” certainly got me contemplating (again) the whole idea of keeping a poker blog -- especially at this present moment when I’m not even playing poker! The fact that the five-year anniversary of the sucker is coming up on Thursday has also perhaps encouraged me to indulge in such self-reflection, too.

Will I keep writing about poker? I think so. The game is too much fun and too damned interesting and full of stories for me not to.

I’ll probably be doing other kinds of writing, too, including pushing forward more earnestly on the second novel. I see another poker player and writer, Matt Matros, talking in similar terms in his Washington Post piece from last Friday, a thoughtful defense of online poker worth checking out if you haven’t already.

In that article, Matros speaks of how for him the sudden unavailability of online poker “almost feels as if I’ve been stripped of one of my college degrees -- as if a career skill I’ve been honing for all of my adult life is suddenly useless.”

That’s not entirely the case, I don’t think. As Matros himself points out later in the piece, “Poker teaches life skills,” among them “logic, discipline, psychology, [and] mathematics.” I’m going to assume poker has also taken him many places, become the means by which he’s gotten to meet and know many people, and allowed him to experience many things he wouldn’t have otherwise.

There really is no starting over.In other words, much like those college degrees and other life experience he’s gathered, poker has helped prepare him for what comes next. (Including the writing of that novel on which he is working.)

Same goes for a lot of us.

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