Confessions of a Poker Writer: Are You Doing Something You DON’T Love?

Confessions of a Poker Writer: The Magic of Number ‘222.'

What are you missing in your life? Are you spending countless hours working on things that are devoid of joy? Are you stamping on your dreams?

Confessions of a Poker Writer: Are You Doing Something You DON'T Love?What advice would you give to your teenage self?

It’s a question I have asked plenty of poker players and they echo the same answers.


Do what you love.

Don’t do anything purely for money.

Go to school.

Listen to your parents.

The honeymoon never ends. The advice you wish you received when you were a teenager is still self-stabilising today. The same colourful, emotive spectrum shines on our souls despite our age. One emotion is more kaleidoscopic than most.


It’s like rohypnol.

Last week, I spent over 100 hours working at the World Poker Tour (WPT) UK Main Event at Dusk till Dawn (DTD). Before that week, I had to lock myself in a room and write until I found myself in the blackness of a tunnel called Carpal.

My wife couldn’t see me.

My son couldn’t see me.

Why did I do it?

I did it for money.

I worked for 17-hours on that first day. Midway through my son rang me to tell me he had scored his first-ever goal in football. A header from a few millimetres out. Had I seen it I swear it would have replaced Ryan Giggs mazy dribble through the Arsenal defence as the most spectacular goal of my life.

But I didn’t see it.

I was standing on the shoulder of poker players watching them take 30-seconds before folding seven-deuce offsuit from under the gun.

I missed his first goal.

I might as well have missed his birth.

I also missed Halloween and Bonfire Night. I can’t remember the last time I spent these moments with him. I have missed large chunks of his life travelling around the world watching people play cards.

The perversity of this situation is my son has grown to believe that it’s ok. He believes, through me, that people have to work to earn money, and that sometimes those they love have to take a back seat.

One day, as I travel to the club, I ask the taxi driver what he does when he is not driving his cab? He tells me that he is a cricket agent. His passion is helping young Indian cricketers find clubs in England. As he speaks I can feel the passion burning through the back of his seat.

“Why don’t you do it full time?” I asked.

“I can’t afford it. I need to drive the taxi to pay my bills.”

“I am going to work over a 100hrs this week doing something I have little interest in, ” I told him. “I work in the addiction industry outside of poker. I could change so many lives in those 100hrs.”

“If I had a free 100hrs, I could stop driving my cab, and do my agent work full time.” He replied.

It was at that moment I realised this man would always drive a cab. He would never achieve his dream. Fear had him. Fear was crushing him. When I looked in his rearview mirror, he had vanished. The face that looked back at me was a familiar one. That face was mine.

As I left, I thanked him and made him promise he would find a way of ditching the cab to pursue his dream. Then I walked into the club sat down with my manager and told her that I would be stepping down from live reporting after WPT Prague in December.


Do what you love.

Don’t do anything purely for money.

Go to school.

Listen to your parents.

I am 40. I was 14 yesterday. That was 24-years ago. In 24-years time, I will be 64. My son will be 38. That will be tomorrow. Time waits for no man. 100hrs is more precious than all the money in the world.

The only thing that prevents me from doing what I love, and spending time with those I love, is fear. It comes in all manner of costumes but more often than not it arrives dressed as money.

Apparently, if you do what you love, then the money will follow.

It’s time to find out.