Why Poker?

My move to Las Vegas and blogging at pPlayer is starting to attract a question I hadn’t given much thought to….why? As in, why poker?

Me being me, it seems natural. I’ve grown up in a family of gamblers (except for my dad and most likely not my mom if she were alive). Sound funny? Well, my great grandfather owned an underground casino during the Prohibition in Portland’s Chinatown. My grandfather taught me to play craps when I was 21 and for the first five years or so I was going to Vegas 2-3 times a year. I loved it. Craps, Vegas, indulging in an attitude of extravagance that seemed reserved for our visits, and I especially liked the way I transformed into the Vegas version of me. Though I’m no showgirl, I never feel more womanly than when I’m gambling.

So…back to the new question….why poker writing? For about four or five years now I’ve fantasized about having a gambling column. That and I wanted to write a book called Looking for Luck, it would be a first person travel memoir about looking for and at indigenous betting games from around the world. Only, in my search for these kinds of luck, I would additionally discover that the real fortune to be found was in the people that I met. Forced book, maybe, but knowing a tiny bit about travel, it could happen. I got my ass down to the Gambler’s Book Shop in Vegas, let Howard Schwartz show me all around his store, his files, and stack me up with books that would help me prepare for this kind of writing, whether it was the Looking for Luck book, or a column.




bigdeal.jpgAnd I started this reading with Anthony Holden’s Big Deal: One Year As A Professional Poker Player . Thus began my interest in poker. I went to Europe and found that there was more interest in sports betting and American roulette. But I came home to read John McManus’s Positively Fifth Street. And this is when I found that the TV was smattered with it. I began to watch, when I could, and the interest picked up. I started talking about it here. By the beauty of word of mouth and the followers here, I was led in the direction of Weblogs, Inc., and the next thing you know I’m at tournaments, watching the players you see on TV, and getting to write about a new passion that caught me somewhat off guard. Bonus? I’m passing out the coolest business card I’ve ever had. (Thanks, Harold!) It’s got all my pPlayer info on the front, and on the back, it is a queen of hearts card. 🙂

I’ve got a lot to learn and I’m on the fast track to get history and playing under my belt so I can do some kick ass articles over at the World Series this summer. No doubt, participating in and reviewing Howard Lederer’s All In Camp will raise my poker understanding and writing to a new level. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am, or how excited I am about this shift in my life. It’s going to be challenging, but this could be the summer of my life….until ten years from now when I’m taking my someday kids around to all the great American baseball parks. Let’s cross our fingers Hebrew National hot dogs and great big fatty polish sausages haven’t been banned from existence by then.

So, here we go. I’m not leaving the world of travel writing, just adding on something else while I still have time and minimal attachments. Too bad the Summer of ’05 doesn’t quite sound like a song. Hey, get over to Vegas and come say hello! My brother and Uncle Jon are already lined up along with three different sets of friends in May and June. It’s going to be a summer to remember, that’s for sure.