Confessions of a Poker Writer: Willie Tann and the Lee Davy Fan Club

Confessions of a Poker Writer: Willie Tann and the Lee Davy Fan Club

Lee Davy continues his confessions series by telling a tale of the time he met Willie Tann. A meeting that got him thinking of the need for self-validation.

Confessions of a Poker Writer: Willie Tann and the Lee Davy Fan ClubMy wife thinks I am always seeking validation from others. I think she’s right. Don’t tell her that though. When I was a kid I wanted everyone to tell me that I was special: schoolteachers, parents, and football coaches. I yearned for their praise. They sprinkled me with it, and like a little weed, I grew.

This need for validation has followed me through my relationships, my chosen professions, and with my mates down the pub. It was woven into the very fabric of my Vivienne Westwood clothes, dripped over the Bang & Olufson Beosound that hung from my wall, and gathered in the dust around my Player of the Year football awards.

The writer is a perfect profession for me. I spill my guts onto the page, release it to the world, and then think I am a little bit shit because nobody commented. Nobody cared. I had a comment the other day. Someone called me a bell-end. I sent a message out to my social media followers. I tried to turn the abuse into a joke. Deep down I guess I wanted someone to tweet me back telling me how great I was.

I was recently working at Dusk till Dawn (DTD) for the World Poker Tour (WPT). During my rounds I saw Willie Tann. I remember watching Tann playing on Late Night Poker when I was a kid. In my eyes he was a bit of a legend in the UK poker scene. I hadn’t ever seen him before. I placed him in the ‘too difficult to interview’ pile and went about my day.

A few days later, I am tapping away on my keyboard when I feel a presence above me.

“Are you Lee Davy?” Came a voice from above.

It was Willie Tann.

“Yes.” I replied reaching out to shake his hand.

“Do you know who I am?” He asked.

At this time I had one of those Johnny Chan moments. I really wanted to say, “Of course I do. You’re Willie Fucking Tann!” I decided to drop the ‘fucking’ although after talking to him for a bit I really didn’t have to.

It seems Willie had seen me talking to Sam Trickett and asked about me. Trickett told him my name and, lo and behold, Willie had been reading my shit since the very beginning.

“I know you…I know you from the very beginning,” said Willie. “You went through a divorce, you love your son very much, you quit your job, you were an alcoholic, and just like me, you hate gambling.”

I wasn’t too sure about the last part of that statement. I thought Willie was a gambling maniac. It just goes to show you don’t always know half as much as you think you do.

Willie sat down and I asked him for an interview.

“Maybe one day Lee…maybe one day. Not today. Today I want to learn about you?”

He probed around my addictions, questioned me about my son, and talked briefly about gambling. I had a fan, and his name was Willie Tann.

“I have so many crazy stories to tell people.” Said Willie. “One day I will write a book…you will write my book…I will get you to write it for me!”

He told me a few gems; sparklers that I will keep to myself for now. I don’t want to spoil that book project now do I?

So what’s the moral of the story?

When you write something, and send it out into space, just because nobody comments, doesn’t mean that nobody is reading. We all mean something. We are equally as important as the person beside us. We are all inspirational; someone, somewhere, will be touched by us. We change people’s lives, every single one of us, and half of the time we don’t even realize it.

There is nothing wrong with seeking self-validation. As long as you don’t go overboard with it, a little pat on the back makes you feel warm inside. It creates confidence. You get a rush and the energy propels you forward a lot quicker than before. It provides meaning and purpose to who you are. It makes you smile. It creates stories to tell people like you.