For those keeping score at home, I have done nothing since my incredible August. And I mean “nothing” in one sense only: I haven’t made any money.
The truth is I’ve been working as hard as ever at playing live poker, which makes the “nothing” more frustrating. In my effort to come up with one final big score for the year, from September onward I have been tirelessly traveling the East Coast circuit with nothing to show for it. Since I love my home and my wife’s company, September, October and November have involved an epic amount of driving, mostly up and down I-95 and the Garden State Parkway.
I feel a sharper and more poignant sense of exasperation from a fruitless poker tournament after a 6:00am wakeup and a three hour drive than I do when I simply walk downstairs from my hotel room. Either way, it’s a lonely way to live. The pile of coffee cups and fast food wrappers that reside in front of the passenger seat are a constant reminder that there’s little separating my lifestyle from a traveling salesman’s.
I know that one more final table would erase some of these feelings. I know that I’ve had a great 2009. I know that I don’t want my old life back. But I think I’ve overdone it recently. I’m officially tired of the scene. My days feel monotonous. The same people are always telling me the same stories. The stories always end the same way. I listen dispassionately, sip my second coffee of the day, and walk away.
Lest I forget: the melancholy I’m feeling these says is exacerbated by the near certainty that my Sug D’s sweatshirt is gone. I’d call it my “lucky” sweatshirt, but that’s not quite accurate. I’ve lost my taste for superstition (a.k.a. mild OCD) over the past year or two, but my sentimentality remains. I have worn that Sug D’s sweatshirt for every big moment in my poker life, dating back to the days when poker was not my career. Nearly every picture of me playing cards, in both my times of triumph and failure, finds me in Sug D’s cozy confines. Now it’s gone. I haven’t worn my it since Aruba, and after turning my apartment upside down, I’ve reached the conclusion that it didn’t make the trip home with me from the Caribbean. I feel like I’ve lost a close friend.