Sunday, 18 April 2010

My Poker Career

Earlier this year I wrote that being a professional athlete, and travelling the world while playing the sport you love, is living the dream. I came to the conclusion that pro tennis players probably have it best.

It seems I forgot one obvious one though – professional poker players. While some may not necessarily consider poker a sport, my rule is ifs its on ESPN its ok, and these guys really do have it good.

Professional poker players travel the world while staying in some of the best hotels, and making lots of money. That’s a pro sports career I could get into.

They have their own superstars too. While other sports have Kobe Bryant, Payton Manning, David Beckham, Tiger Woods and Alex Ovechkin, Poker has Gus Hansen, Patrick Antonius, Phil Ivey, Joe Hachem and Daniel Negreanu.

And the best part? Unlike other sports, to be a superstar at poker you don’t have to have any natural athletic ability. For someone like myself – short, unathletic and a prisoner of gravity – its probably the only hope I ever had of being a professional “athlete”.

While in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, celebrating my 30th birthday – and that of my best mate – with some of my best friends from home, I took my shot. Entering a tournament with a couple of mates at the Flamingo Hotel, I had dreams of putting my skills to the test. The result? Keep dreaming.

I didnt have much luck gambling in Vegas

It turns out that, while I’ve gotten to a decent level playing with my friends in semi-regular tournaments back home, playing in the world capital of gambling is a whole other matter.

I managed to play a total of four hands before going in on Ace-King suited and losing. 25 minutes. That’s how long my pro poker career lasted. Still longer than my pro basketball career. My attempts at Black Jack bore no more luck.

That’s not to say the trip was a write off – far from it. While my poker career was short lived, Vegas offers more than that, and the four days I spent there with some great friends – from both Australia and the US – were worth the money lost on the tables.

I did manage to get one great surprise while in the Vegas, with my friends organising for one of my closest friends to be in town without my knowledge, showing the unexpected, normally gives better experiences.

The Surprise

So while my last attempt at being a “pro athlete” may have come up empty, I enjoyed having a crack, and spent the rest of my time in the US getting back to what I do best – travelling to different cities, watching sport – more on that next week.

I cant say that I wont ever attempt to play some tournament poker again – in fact I’m sure of it – but next time I’ll know better what I’m getting in to, and hopefully, I’ll get a little more luck.

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