Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Winds Of Change

This blog is going to come straight from the heart. It's going to come from a man, not a boy, who has sat down and taken stock of a life that should have been lived differently. Of a person who should have behaved differently. There will be some people who likely don't understand this, some who most likely not want to read it. I am not going to send this to anyone directly, it will be on Facebook for people to read if they choose to. But it's somethings that need to be said. And should have been said long before i turned 22.


I owe you all an honest apology. I have spent the majority of my life living a privileged existence, ive been blessed with parents that loved me and gave me the world, i've been privileged with friends who have stood by me through thick and thin. And most recently I've had a woman in my life I considered my soul-mate, that I promised the world to.

And i threw it all away.

For whatever reason I cannot truly understand, it seems as if ive lived a life where I was always right, nobody could tell me differently, that the things i did were beyond anyone else's knowledge, there always had to be a reason for the things i did, there always had to be barriers. I spent almost all of my life making excuses for failings where I should have just been looking in the mirror to find where it had all gone wrong. Where it could have been fixed.

To my parents, i am truly sorry...i never treated you with the love you deserved, i took what you gave me for granted and then threw in your face sage old advice that could have prevented so much hurt and pain over the years, especially over the last few months. I should have got a job sooner. I should have made myself independant, got myself a drivers license, kept my body in shape. All these things should have been done long ago, and i truly feel hurt that you were put through such heartache.

To my friends, i again am sorry for the way ive come across to people, there will have been times where ive been stubborn in a cause i probably shouldn't have even been fighting. I have lost friends over the years that simply could not stand my attitude, never once did i learn from that, it was always their fault. They couldn't understand me. When in fact all i should have done is tone down my aggression, tone down my stubbornness. Just been there for people like ive shown i can be.

To Coral. You are the one i owe the deepest apology of all. I've chosen to write this section out for you to decide if you want to read it. I will not force it on you, I will not force others on you. This is me opening my heart out. For what little it is now worth.

You gave me love and affection in ways most people would have killed for. You showed compassion and care that brought out emotions in me i never thought i had. You showed me a world where i could express myself in ways other than anger, other than frustration. And yet through all that i never once treated you with the love and care you deserved. You gave me far more chances than i deserved. And it pains me to know it took losing someone as precious as you, to make me realise how far my life had gone. I will always be sorry for everything ive done to you, all of the pain i've caused. all of the heartache you never deserved. You were my soulmate, and i drove you away, you were in love with me, yet day by day i chipped it away until you were glad to be rid of me in a way. That pains me. And will for many years to come.



To you all. I promise this will be the end of it all. It should have been a long time ago and i understand that i have made promises in the past and never kept to them. But i am now going through the motions, and this following week i will act upon them all. I plan to get myself a job before the week is out, at the end of the day my excuse of "wanting to wait and see" does not apply, people can manage, as Coral has showed, with a job as well as sorting out other things. So i have no excuse. I am already working little bits here and there but i need stability.
I will go to the gym and get myself into the shape i used to be six years ago. Back then i was confident in my body, that is something that extends out into the real world as well as a personal feeling. And i want to feel that again.
I plan to learn to drive, five years ago i was offered the chance and it would have given me a sense of independence nothing else can, it would have also required me to understand money more, to maintain the car i would call my own.
I plan to get on a masters and improve the mess of a degree i created, the problems were my own, they were something i should have fixed. But was too stubborn to admit things had gone wrong. It may be late, but it will be a step in the direction i should always have been heading.

All of these things i do without recourse, they are not things i do for anyone else, but they will benefit everyone around me. And that gives me a sense of motivation not only to get my own life in order. But also to improve the relationships of those around me...

For everyone else, you can stop reading now.





Coral. I am sorry, i could think of no other way to write this. You wanted space so i am giving it to you, one day i may show you this, when i feel it is the right time, but if you decide to read on then i hope you do not feel ill of it. I'm not an emotional wreck as i write this, im focused on trying to present a side ive never been able to get across right. But again, i might not be right in what im saying, and i'm willing to admit that. What happened with you and me was, at the beginning at least, the best 22 months of my life. I found in you a person that i loved unreservedly, i found in you a person that even right now gives me goosebumps just to be able to talk to you, when i was talking to friends and i was able to say you were my girlfriend. The smile on my face was always there to see. You gave me the world, and yet i threw it all away. I know you may read this and decide never to speak to me again as i'm pushing you too much. And if that is the case i will regret it but accept it. You may decide to extend the olive branch of friendship, to which i will gratefully accept. But i do have one thing i have to say, and you know what it's going to be.


I do want, at some point in the future, the chance at getting back together with you. But what i want may not be what happens. I know you have given me a stupid amount of chances and by all rights i do not deserve another one. Nor will i ask for one anymore. That decision is yours to make. I want to show you the mature man that you deserve to have in your life, i should have made these changes sooner. And i regret having never listened to you in the first place. Now if we become friends again and it never develops into anything, then i can accept that, it will hurt at first like all breakups do. But i will accept it and wish you nothing but good fortune for the future. And i'm not saying the next bit will happen at all, but if you notice that i make good on these changes i am promising, that i can turn into the person that you fell in love with all those months ago. That i can be there as you fall into my arms like you used to. To comfort you in your time of need, rather than having to look after a 22 year old that by all rights should look after himself. If you notice that i have made good on everything i have promised. That you consider it. I am not going to ever say defiantly do it. And i know right now your mind is pretty much made up. But feelings change, you fell out of love with me, there's nothing saying you wont fall back into love with me.

Just please, keep talking, let us build a friendship based on mutual respect. Let me, every so often, take you out, be it just for a coffee, to the cinema, even to the harry potter world i promised you so long ago. Which by the way i was looking at tickets today but thought it might be a bad time. Just please don't close your mind off to the possibility, even if it is months down the line. Potentially even years. Don't rule out one young man's mistakes and lack of listening now to deny the future potential. I love you. I still do. And it will be a hard thing to let you go at first. But i know it is the right thing to do. I do want us to build up a new relationship in the future, but it will be entirely at your pace, when you feel ready. If that happens to be never, and you still think never even a year down the line. Then fair enough. But please, just give me one chance to be friends with you again. From there, you may warm to me down the line. Not saying for certain. But please don't rule it out completely. That is literally all i ask. I know i don't deserve it. But i love you too much not to ask. I know merely promising these things is not enough. But hopefully you can appreciate how sincere i am. I understand this is late. Very late, but i pray not too late.

If you do read this. Let me know what you think, i know you'll likely say its never going to happen and i need to move on. But the future could hold anything. At the very least, let me take you for a coffee as friends, away from all the emotional clutter of the past few months, and just see how we get on. You never know, i might still make you laugh :) At the absolute least, i want to just keep talking to you, just to see how your day is, how you are doing, and how you are getting on :)

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The True Aftermath

That One Big Chance

Alot is spoken about how bankrolls come and go in this game, you see people make it high, then crash down soon afterwards...I find myself in that situation on a regular basis, over my lifetime (and in poker terms, still a small one) I must have lost upwards of thirty bankrolls...each time trying to take that one shot too high. But i've never made the same mistake twice, so each one has been a valuable life lesson going forward...But for someone in my situation I have alreadt had that one score that was big enough to make a serious shot out of it...until the real world got in the way...

Always Dreaming, Never Succeeding

14th July 2013, Can hardly forget it...three of my best friends had found who are now long term girlfriends, one had proposed on the steps of the Louvre, i'd been asked to be their best man, my first ever deepstack day two and was actually smashing it...all in the same day. It was a wave of euphoria that i hope to see someday in the future...

27 Players left with me and J-Gill tossing banter across tables, me with the obvious chip lead, him grinding away nicely...and even then i knew what was coming. Something in the pit of my stomach told me what was to happen, and it didn't dissapoint. Second to the man himself for £7k, AT LAST! A bankroll to call my own! Obviously some went to backers but they had all sworn by my side for the future! That coupled with money that i'd been saving for years meant that the impending trip to america was going to be the greatest ever. I was going to spend four months in the land of my dreams, then come back armed with enough of a roll to give the tournaments a reasonable crack. Sure bankroll management was going to be a bit iffy, but whats not to try and achieve?

When The World Falls Apart

14th September 2013, two months afterwards...and my entire life could not have been more different. The trip to america had been a complete disaster. Everything it had been billed to be was a lie, 5,500 miles away from home, with nobody in the place i was staying that spoke english (Multilingual universities my arse) and feeling completely lost...Now i know i'll likely hear the line of "should have just held out, might have got better"...I got told by three residents of where i was staying (Long Beach, California) that every problem i had raised was "the way it was there" and there was no way around it...I lasted five days in america, didn't eat a single meal (the two i had both got thrown up), lost over a stone, was in constant emotional states and with knowing what my past was like (I'd suffered depression like this before) i knew, for the sake of my health, i had to get out of america regardless of the consequences, knee-jerk reaction yes, but i know in my heart it was the right decision.

Being back home was torture, i had to spend almost every single penny i had to get back home...to (as you'd expect) one of the frostiest receptions imaginable...now it wouldn't have been bad if not for my parents known method for dealing with issues...threats and violence...lots of them, in the end about a week later i got thrown out of the house and ended up spending all of my remaining money and then some trying to survive...i comfort ate this time round, putting on the best part of 2 stone (still suffering that weight gain to this day) and owing out thousands to the parents after they demanded i pay them back for all the time and effort they'd wasted in getting me there...

Worse still, coming back had put my degree in serious jeopardy, i needed to have 6 months abroad and 6 months working OR 12 months working within that year, what this meant (and another key reason i came back so fast) was that i had until the 14th to get a 36 week placement, naturally given the job market i failed spectacularly...

So here's me, two months off the back of having nearly five figures at my disposal and being on top of the world...flat broke, owing out, jobless, homeless, disowned and about to sign on...i'm not going to lie some fairly drastic things went through my head in those days...dark things i'm not proud of.

Silver Lining In A Mushroom Cloud

If there is one thing i am good at it's talking my way into and out of anything. And this time showcased that to it's truest potential. I had my first meeting with the job center planned for Tuesday 24th September...and i had decided (off my own back, obviously, seeing as the parents wouldn't even speak to me at this point) that on the monday i would get myself back on a degree, whatever it took. I had rang up Derby University (where i'd spent my clearing year) and explained the situation, they'd told me to ring a specific person who could get me back on the course i had been on at the start (Business Studies)...so i had a backup plan. My line was going to be walking into trent and basically reading them the riot act, clearly there had been no "safety net" for me and i refused to believe that i was the first person in the uni's history to have gone down the route i had (turned out i was, not a record i want)...we were to get me onto a degree that day or i was going to withdraw that afternoon.

I'd been given the private number of a tutor who ran a course for business defectors (Something that had been kept from me while i was in america and, in hindsight, could have avoided all of the worries, but my dad purposely never told me about it) and the idea was to try and get on his course...i still remember how the phone conversation went:-

Me: I've been told that Yvonne has explained my situation to you? Or should i give you a quick overview
Angelo: No need she has told me, basically i would love to help you but if you don't have 240 credits then there is nothing we can do
Me: But surely there has to be something, there is no way that the university hasnt got something in place! I've worked too hard to see this all lost over a health decision
Angelo: I'm just not sure, it's a very strict procedure.
Me: (Eureka Moment) You know this 240 credits, does it have to be from trent specifically or can it be across the whole academic career?
Angelo: Whole career.
Me: Well then i don't have 200, i have 320! I spent a year at derby before coming here!
Angelo: OH, I was NOT told about this...now we can look at this in a more favorable light!

Information was kept from me, and hidden from them...but in that moment i had felt a wave of emotion unlike any before...i ran, ran like never before to the university...i cleared nottingham from one side to the other in six minutes flat...i was red faced, panting, puffing and heaving, but the smile on my face was all to clear...around a few hours later i put pen to paper and transfered onto my course. The parents never did appologise for keeping it hidden from me, stating it would have been "just an excuse to come back", but it was solved...i rang the job center up right then and there and told them under no illusions how much i cared for it. And that was that...Life saved. Just.

The Aftermath

Hopefully this goes to explain to you all why i'm in the state i am...while you might not agree with how this has gone down, i don't regret any decision ive made...i thought i'd wasted an entire life's work in the space of five days, now im seven months from graduating from a degree that people tried to hide from me, in a country i should never have been in, with parents that have finally seen my way of thinking four months later, flat broke, with no fixed income for at least a while...looking to poker, the reason i had the money to travel at all, to realize a dream that had stood the test of time long before anything else...

Alot of dates got mentioned here...but there's one that overrides them all.
December 22nd 2013
...It was the day i would have arrived back home.

Amazing what can happen in the space of a season. Don't you think?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Aftermath

NOTE: This is going to be a LONG blog, as it encompasses a month that has had more emotion and reaching consequences than almost my entire life. Be prepared for a long one...

A month that will forever change me.

I write that line not sure what it truly means for me...I was supposed to do this blog weeks back but every time i sat down to write it something new would throw itself at me and those around me...so i thought it best to give it chance to, as it stands, cool down. And while at the present moment things have died down, if I leave this for another week then another 1,000 words could easily be tagged on. Seems as good a time as any.

An experience to forget.

America was the focus point of my life for almost ten years, each moment leading up to it was spent questioning if what was about to happen was truly wanted. If the experience was too much for someone on my relatively narrow shoulders...I had stomached big changes in my life before, and this would be no different. At least that was the plan.

Every reason I chose America as my point of call was a complete falasy. Preconceptions about the country, its people, the surroundings and everything else was thrown aside like a typhoon...each point that made Long Beach sound like the place I wanted to be shot down in the opening moments. And when talking to those that live there, nothing sounded much better either. Note before you see this that ALL of these reasons for going were told to me by people I had confidence in, as well as travel agents!

The transport is one of the best in the country, just like home!: Lies, in the entire of my area we had five buses, they ran every hour at best, some didn't even turn up at times...something that was clearly a normal occurrence as taxi's would pull up, suspiciously, five minutes after a bus should have turned up, and the locals just seemed to accept this. I'm a kid with a world famous transport network, and while willing to accept failings...that many? Really?!

The nightlife is immense, you will never be stuck for things and places to do and go!: Lies, when we got given the list of these things it barely fit on a piece of A5 paper...we had the grand sum of three bars that they recommended, everything else was apparently "too sketchy" to even go near. No nightclubs of any description, only LA had these...and as points will show, this simply was not an option. Even if we accepted these three bars (which closed at 10/11) then the issue rose that drinking just was not a culture at all, if anything, in this area, it seemed as if it was frowned upon...I'm a brit! Get real!

World class beaches, and some of the most vibrant city-life imaginable, you're day-times will always be full!: You kidding me? All of the beaches are around three miles away from an off shore oil rig, or six...which means that the amount of crappy slurry coming up onto these supposed golden beaches begs belief. As for the city-life...You know things are bad when the locals spend fifteen of the allotted twenty minutes for this section in the induction...wait for it...telling you how good the museums are. THE HELL MAN?! For someone who, while working at uni, still wants to be a tourist. At worst this is all worthless...even at the best case scenario. After about two weeks you'll have seen everything!

All the major cities are close-by, you're never more than twenty minutes from LA and getting there is so cheap, imagine it being like at home!: This one was beyond bullshit. And also misguided. Sure, twenty minutes from LA is technically true. If your in a car....without traffic...on the busiest freeway into LA...Yeah....NO! I was told by the shuttle bus driver on the way into Long Beach that if we got there in under an hour he'd be shocked. That alone filled me with worry because clearly getting to the vibrant metropolis of the world was going to be harder than i first though. But that's fine right? They said it was cheap? Or not...to get to LA costs by taxi around $80 (£60)...and that's if you don't tip the guy...which just isn't the done thing...so let me get this straight, to be a tourist i would need to spend around £130 every time i wanted to get to LA and back...and thats assuming i don't come back past midnight where as i was told "the taxi's charge whatever they like...they deduce, correctly, that if you dont take them, how else do you get home?". I'd budgeted well, better than anywhere before...but this shot my budget to bits...

Standards of living are higher, but with the exchange rate, it'll work out the same if not cheaper to eat places...plus you have catered halls, so it's basically free anyway: Not only is this a lie, it's also a direct gripe with the uni...When we applied for catering, it was said i had three meals a day...but they never mentioned that when you landed for the first week you had no food at all and had to fend for yourself, when the nearest food outlet was three miles away, with no public transport...Plus with the exchange rate it was still absolutely hideous...I have never before paid £19 for a breakfast and trust me, i have no intention of doing it again!!

Got this far? Good, long way to go.

The surrounding area is one of the most pleasant in the entire state!: Bitch please. I had bars on my window and that was not because of people trying to get out! (Although at this point, I already did). Crime was apparently one of the highest worries around the area, I barely saw a single white person and, while I am not racist, walking through a crime ridden neighborhood where the shadows move is not something i fancy doing...although with public transport...yeah....fuck. That's not so bad in August, but think ahead to December, when the nights finish at four, and im walking down there at 7 hearing nothing but hip hop blasting from the houses? Sure, i could walk through a veterans housing estate to get home...and extend the trip by around five miles...nine miles just to dodge a bunch of convicts every time i want to go and do anything? screw that. Also another point with the surrounding area, down the road of my uni was basically the direct route to LA (As it turns out, my road if you take out the freeway may as well have been the A1, around 60 miles in length) and as such EVERY shop was geared to people passing through...I could have built more cars than meals on that road and i'm not joking either! SIXTEEN spare car parts stores against...wait for it....one. Yes. One. convenience store...and it was a Chinese one...fuck. Oh and one quick note. I was at BEACHSIDE college...I was told this was near the BEACH...total distance? Miles...total distance to a decent, non oil ridden beach? Don't know, never found one.

The people of California are some of the most friendly you will ever meet, and the course-mates you will have are just as eager to meet new people as you are!: If ever an award for "biggest hyped up pile of crap" existed...this would be the only one allowed on the shortlist. It'd win on the spot! California is full of some of the most arrogant, self absorbed arseholes ive ever had the pleasure to meet...in my time I have spoken to X factor contestants and self made millionaires with a more humble nature about them than these idiots could manage in their entire lives. You are there to please them, pay them, service them or be sued by them. That's the image you get, and that's the image they seem to embrace. Now it wouldn't be bad if the course-mate thing was true. But in a halls that fit 400 people (Soon to be 600, thats how many extra entries they had), us internationals had to come early. So only 25 were on campus, when we finally met some proper students I was all giddy with excitement...at last! people to speak to! time to get mingling! Yeah or not, the only person out of the few hundred at my induction that would speak to me was some french guy. Nice guy, but when he went off as i left to go back to the apartment and tried to get people to go for a drink a group of 30 sitting around just blanked him outright...felt for him that day. Hope he's done better for himself since.

Halls life is amazing, the people are brilliant, parties are mad and (for my halls specifically) it's been the one everyone wanted to stay in for five years running!: What idiot did the vote for that? No seriously im asking. He needs to get shot...although in that neighborhood he probably already had! The halls were terrible, your room was stone white walls with mattresses elevated 5 feet high (No reason at all, just cause), bars on the windows and the entire ceiling was surrounded by the air conditioning...not hidden at all, just there...along with the fuse-box for (what i later found out) the entire third floor...yeah, one drunken night and that is not ending well for anyone wanting power ;-)
Well, I say that, the reps we had in our halls had been hand picked to be the most boring arseholes imaginable, clearly the halls MAY have had the reputation for rowdiness because these lot were poised to dance all over that fire the second it appeared. And im sorry, I cant take orders on drinking and general antics from someone two years younger than me...who has never touched (yeah, believe it) a single drop of alcohol in his life...the hell? I'm gonna answer to that? FU SON, FU!

Not even halfway yet, keep going!

Now I'm fairly sure that I've missed loads out on that so feel free to ask me for more...but suffice to say that all of that, coupled with the fact i was 5,500 miles away from home, with, clearly, nothing to do, nobody to talk to, nowhere to go, and nothing to eat...it destroyed me. I spent almost every hour in tears, I kept trying to think of good things but it made me more depressed when capable of shooting them down. Within a day I knew this was not for me...Nothing i was told was true, had I known even half of this the flights and trip would have never even been booked! But the pressure from home was completely relentless. At a moment where you could do with comforting and supporting (Remember, I have never been away from home, and now im on the other side of the world) I was instead attacked on all fronts...It's the closest to the depression days of my school life ive ever reached...violently sick for almost the entire trip, never ate a single meal until the day before I left (And still chucked that up), depressed and, coupled with the heat, disorientated. Meant that I simply had to leave. Now I know the argument for "just wait it out" was all over the place, but my reasonings for not doing that are threefold:

1. I was told by the tutors who live in Long Beach that my gripes are well founded, but "its the way it is" and that the things i have an issue with are simply part of the fabric of Long Beach and the life of uni in America.

2. I know from past experience if im feeling depressed on that scale, waiting it out damages me. I waited out things in the past and, with regards to school and bullying, have spent almost ten years having flashbacks...I still have not fully recovered from that to this day. So to put myself, optionally, through that again was just not right

3. The longer I stayed the less likely i could stay on my degree, and that is something I simply could not let happen. No matter the consequences.

So the decision was made, off my own back, with all of my savings, I would organise my own flight back to England. When I had made the booking it was the first, and only, smile shown on the entire trip. It was no longer four months of torture, it was going to end......That smile did not last. And i've barely cracked one since.

The Trip Back

I hate Germans. I hate them more than you could ever realise. Because of the lateness of my booking I basically had to take a connection from LA to Dusseldorf and then into Stansted. That was fine, the bags would be moved for me and all I had to do was move flights. But let me tell you, being on a place with a screaming kid that was crying and bawling for SEVEN FUCKING HOURS...while you're trying to sleep because you have had, at most, two hours per night. It is the most torturous experience you can imagine. What was worse was the fact that, in true Germanic fashion, the kid's crying was uniformed, and drearily repetitive. It got to the point where halfway through I was praying the kid would do something out of the ordinary just to mix things up! Burp halfway through the crying, make one particular cry last longer? ANYTHING!. Nope, waa-waa-waaaaa...waa-waa-waaaaa....every 7 seconds, for seven hours, with the parents not even attempting to stop him...they were both fast asleep with earplugs. Kill me now seriously.

Once we landed in Dusseldorf we'd struck lucky in that our arrival terminal was the same as the departure for the next flight...pure coincidence apparently, was rather happy about that! (although i did go through border control to leave the room to find this fact out...tedious). But then it got worse...alot worse. 106 flights were on the board during the two hours I waited. Two hours because we got delayed...the ONLY delay of all 106! Now think about it, i've pissed off, and cost thousands, to a dad who's driving at stansted who wont know of this delay...I'm tired and ratty, and he's gonna have to wait around...this wont end well...didn't help that my iPad had ran out of battery and I couldn't even prewarn him! or anyone for that matter!

Oh it gets better! The plane we got was propeller powered...think chicken run and "chocs away" and you have it pretty much nailed on...another bonus that, while fueling, this plane was clearly older than the refulling nozzle is...so half of it was going in, and half all over the floor! Pretty sure if someone lit up, we were all history...And then to top it all off...to add insult to intense injury...You know that kid? the Germanic crying one? Yeah, ONE FUCKING ROW IN FRONT OF ME!!!...And yes. He still was.

Once we'd landed fortunately I'd managed to learn the German for "bastard" which i was singing in a chorus out of the damn plane...think I pissed off half the aircraft but at this point I'd have happily knocked out the first person to complain. Getting my bags however was deeply depressing, as i knew what was about to unfold. This was the bit I had been dreading...I had said on multiple occasions that I'd sort out my own transport back...it was going to be more peaceful, but stupid me got talked into letting him take me home. Why did i do that? Sure enough a face of pure disappointment as i walked into the arrivals terminal. I've let down the man who bought me into this world, gave me everything and spent thousands on this trip. I was distraught, but couldn't show it. I mean how can you? He clearly didn't care about my feelings otherwise he'd have respected my decision (The first i'd ever made against their wishes i might add).

The ride home was torture, every so often we'd have a reasonable conversation and it would lighten me up slightly, thinking that he'd come round...but then some comment would get thrown out about how i'd let them down, or made it so the family could laugh at them, or the money worries, or how i had to be prepared for some flack...I'm distraught, this is completely not necessary. I managed to last until five miles from home before i burst into tears...he didn't care about me? he was more interested in sticking the knife in and letting me know under no uncertain terms how id fucked everything up...i wanted love, i wanted that one piece of affection that, you know, parents are meant to give...

It came to a head when i basically admitted that all i wanted was a piece of comfort, even a "dont worry it'll be alright" would have sufficed, im a bawling wreck at 21 years old...there clearly has to be a reason for this! look past your money/family problems for two seconds and look at how your son is in agony at what has happened!....


...He threatened to kill us both and started speeding at the 4x4 in front of us.

That is the reaction that an distraught 21 year old got. No love, no support, just anger and death threats...that's a complete joke, and dad, if you ever read this, i hope you realise just how much love i lost for you that day. You've spent your entire life living through me trying to have the life you never could. At no point has what ive done been enough. The pressure has always been too much, the expectations have always been too high. I've fought back against it my entire life and all you've ever known is violence and anger. It's your upbringing, i understand that...but you've had years to curb this, and to your own son? No son should be pinned against walls as a child, no son should be thrown into a cat litter tray because of a simple heated argument, no son should have to watch as his mum has to time and again get in the way of his own dad coming to knock him out...to watch his dad through anger or drink or both start lashing out, smashing various doors and anything in his way. You are one of the most important people in my life, but when you behave like this...when you seem to be of the impression that whatever you say is right, everyone else is wrong and to deviate from your demands or opinions is high treason and just cause to start getting all angry and violent, you are a complete joke. You get away with it because you have a wife who wants an easy life and cant be bothered with the hassles of the past and a son who has had it engraved into his head all his life that its not what he wants, but what you want for him. This has to change. And it will change.

To my mum, i love you more than you will ever realise or indeed ever appreciate, but i am sick to death of the passive aggressiveness you have shown as well...you both work well because your both as bad as each other! I've seen you in tears in bed wishing he was different, wishing things were different...and yet you do nothing about it, and when push comes to shove you become two faced in your intentions, you'll happily tell me somethings wrong one day, then fiercely defend it the next. I'm sick of being treated like a complete child. You have constantly given me "that look" which translates as telling me to shut up and just accept whats going off, because it's not worth the argument. I'm sorry to be blunt, but if you want to spend your life as a walkover that's your problem not mine!

I've done everything for you two. Most of my life has been built around the way you wanted me to be, the things you wanted me to do. You've spent most of it thinly veiling it around the concept that "it's what i wanted" when in fact i was never asked. Only once, America, was i properly consulted. It went wrong, it was a mistake and I have sworn to repay you for it, more times than i can count. But is that enough? no. You still have this deep down issue with the idea that, as far as your concerned, everything you've done for me has been thrown away...It's nice to see the faith in your own flesh and blood, it's nice to see the years ive put into what you wanted, the son you wanted...been worth nothing.

Oh and at a side point. I don't care if you don't agree with what is written here. It's my opinion, and as of writing this, my opinion is the one that matters, not yours. I've spent too long answering to you two to care anymore...at the age of 22 you still think you can tell me how to live my life. The way you've treated me around it makes me not care. Sure, you've showered me with a life most kids would be envious of...but that was only when you was in a good mood, when you were both content. When things went wrong, when you were both angry, annoyed, tired, upset, irritable or just plane violent.....I wouldn't have wished you on my worse enemy. Sorry, it's the truth. Take it however you want. Violently probably.

Still going? Wow, I'm impressed. Sorry about the tangent, ive wanted a place to say that for years.

Back Home, What Happens Next

So im back home, my parents are dissapointed and probably hate me. So what do i do? spend my days wallowing in self pity? no, i need to get out and make good of what i can. Within two days i decide to make good on a promise i made going into America, I had promised to play in a 7 event poker festival during my birthday. Now i couldn't, i said i would play what i could to make up for that...obviously that didn't end well...the second that the parents found out they went apeshit...apparently "things aren't going back to the way they was"...what, trying my damnedest for you wasn't enough? yeesh. So in a rage he threatened to kill me yet again..."Peter Thorpe r.i.p" was what i heard downstairs in the mix of the threats...he stormed out the house, then rang up an hour later. Saying he wouldn't come back until i had left...

That's it, thrown out of the house for essentially trying to do my friends a favour. I was distraught yet again and left the house in a rage, upset and confused i confided in my friends for a week, it was a struggle, it left me completely broke..but gave me a sense of freedom, making my own choices, sorting out uni my own way, free from the shackles of family life. It was a week i shall cherish for many years to come and Neil, Craig, Matt, Greg...if you read this i am forever in your debt, your gave me sanctuary at a time i thought the world was crashing down around me...You showed me a simple life, but a life where i could still strive to achieve.

Another piece of two faced irony coming up...my girlfriend asking what the hell had happened to be told by my mum that "it wasn't her"...funny that, because the very next day your his staunchest defender! Fucking irritating...They then decided to flip it round that everything was my fault and that it was my decision to make...the door was open they said. It was something i mulled over for an entire week...They were unwilling to compromise, i basically had to give them more control to return...in its place i got a roof over my head and food...necessity drove me back, my overdraft maxed, money being borrowed all over the place...I had little choice. Upon returning things almost went back to the way they were, i felt at peace, we had all had our little spat, and now things were on the mend...oh wait, it's never that easy!

University, The Final Twist

If you've honestly read all of this, i hope it's given you an insight into the troubles ive been facing, it needed to be long...any shorter would have not done it justice

I've spent the last few weeks trying to salvage a uni degree i had made a complete mess of by coming back. The short of it was i needed an international placement by September 13th otherwise i had to take a year out...thousands of searches and, thanks to one modules, Spanish, screwing me over (one i was supposed to fix in America, go figure), my grades are ranked as a 3rd at the moment...no placement is even tolerating 2:2's so you can imagine what comes next. I failed in the attempt...Sure, it sucks, and i'd give anything to get back on a uni course for this year. But it looks so unlikely its unreal. So thats fine, I go to the job center to sign on and get some help getting a job for the year off while trying to solve the Spanish...And thanks to the Spanish it looks like they might not even be able to help me! Oh and the parents, ever reliable, always have another part to play...as literally hours after ive left the job center, before they could even send me anything...before i could even get my CV to them...he's making demands about where i should be working! effectively going over the jobcenter's heads! I'm going to be totally blunt here. Fuck off. it's my problem, im aware of that, but im trying to fix it in the way that benefits me the most...i'm willing to accept almost any job but my only reservation is working in supermarkets...I have my own reasons for this, and they are very well founded...but this is MY problem, not his, this is not his mess to try and stick his nose in...doing so causes arguments, ive said that for years, hell he's even agreed it does...yet still does it? funny that...always seeking arguments...knowing i'll bite. Gotta Love It.

The Aftermath

This is longer than any essay i have ever written, it's half the words towards a dissertation. And im fairly confident i have not done the situation justice. The long and short is that America was a mistake, and because of that simple and honest mistake its made me question the very family im with, the people i love, the friends i trust, where i want to go in life and what i want to do with it. It's a bunch of decisions that have been long overdue, i just prayed they never collapsed quite like this. I'm sorry this was so long, im sorry for the grammar, it's far too long to go back and read again so ill just hit publish and see which way the wind blows.

But know this. I want to write the wrongs. I want to fix the problems that my mistake has caused...I only wish the people who i love would not interfere and make it worse...or more to the point, threaten to drive into something the second their son shows some emotion. Is that too much to ask? Is this The Aftermath that is really necessary?

It doesn't have to end like this...there is a new chapter still to be written.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Thorpe On Tour: T-2 Days: Nowhere Else To Hide

There's no turning back now

Truer words never typed onto a computer...and ive known it for weeks. I thought of doing a blog prior to this but realized I'd just be writing four or five blogs on exactly the same thing, just with different superlatives. Waste of time and waste of effort, this one will be alot more detailed too.

The Penny Drops

I realized around two weeks ago that there was no going back, I can't remember for the life of me what triggered it, but whatever it was is largely insignificant in the grand scheme of things...it wasn't the plane tickets...it wasn't being handed dollars for the first time. Heck it wasn't even the realization that all of the little niggles and hurdles were finally gone...But sitting down one evening I realized the scale of what it is I'm about to undertake. Yeah sure I won't be out there for long, and sure some people have been away longer and some further away. But when you are the type of person that has lived a life so blessed that you have a stable family, never had to move house, had dinners prepared and clothes all sorted for you. To then all of a sudden have literally zero luxuries, and be cast onto another continent where the nearest help is £1,000 and 36 hours away? It's a bit of a leap. I think prior to that moment I had put the thoughts out of my mind, any distraction was a good one to keep me preoccupied.

I cried, like a bloody baby. I can't say I'm proud but also cant say I'm surprised in equal measure either. Change is something humans in a majority tend to dislike, I had always relished in challenges but clearly that was because the end result was not too bad, I always had a massive safety net around me that clearly was more integral to who I am that I first thought.

The Challenges Ahead

Not a subject I even want to put into my mind, makes me choke up. I now understand what some people go through with jobs that require being in multiple places for long periods. You miss those you love. Four months without my family is going to hurt, four months without my friends is going to suck, but four months without the love of my life...fucking hell I hate the idea of that. Skype says we will keep in contact, the connection I have with all three parties is stronger than most would ever think. I can imagine some would kill to be in the same position. But all I ask from this trip is for those bonds to never break. Not even weaken.

Meeting new people is easy, I've had so much turbulence in school life that finding something from a foreign scene has become easy, my childhood has prepared me for that. The culture shock is what I need to be prepared for. Sure there is no language barrier to contend with, but people will have different ways of living, being around others. Unlike before, I can't just ignore them...where else do I go?

Silver Lining in a Mushroom Cloud

At least that's what it feels like. Being in America and being of age gives me such freedom to do what I want while out in the states, along with a healthy bankroll. That should things fall out of place I can at least immerse myself in those things that are all too familiar. I have hobbies that can distract for weeks at a time. I have a career that is still to be formed, albeit in a brand new place filled with new challenges to conquer. But most of all, if all else fails. I have a simple reminder that it will come to an end eventually.

Honestly, I don't think it will be necessary. I hope all of this is me just worrying too much, being afraid of something new and exciting. It could turn out the place is amazing, the people are fantastic, and the game I love is thriving...If i can come back a changed, more independent person. With a few thousand in winnings under my belt falling into my girlfriends arms come Christmas. Then I'll be happy.


...To be fair, give me the last one and we'll call it quits!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Thorpe On Tour: T-35 Days: Some Kind of Dreamer

This is the happiest week of my life

That statement is no exaggeration...I am not saying that lightly, the past week has made me smile and cry tears of joy more than I have ever done before, and by quite a margin as well...everything that could go right has gone right, both for me and for those that I love...Eventually this will all come to an end as all good things must, but for the moment this is a wave of euphoria that I hope lasts for a long while yet.

Finding A Diamond in the Desert

Amidst scorching heat, in the city of love itself, one of my closest friends proposed to his girlfriend (also a very close friend of mine) and are now engaged. I literally broke down in tears the moment I read the news, not because it affected me at all...but more for the fact that over the years the pair of them had found bad luck, had generally been stiffed in relationships or found them to be too good to be true...when I see them together it brings a smile to all those around them. Sure there's been conflicts as there would be in any relationship, but considering how much they've been through in the past its been relatively plain sailing...on the steps of the Louvre two people spent a moment together happier than they will be for some time to come...and for them both I, heck all of us, wish them all the love in the world. They both truly deserve it.

The Party of A Lifetime

What made me proud, and got me crying twice in the space of ten minutes was one simple message...that not only made me realise id grown to be a man but also realise that i have the most amazing friends in the world...

So you're planning the stag in style right mr best man? #obviouschoice

Me? As best man? It's an honor to be chosen to carry the title, I understand the responsibilities that the position carries and will carry them out to the best of my ability. But the stag do...People who know me understand I LOVE to organize massive occasions, this will easily be the biggest I plan...think of it this way, for my 21st birthday it was a two week festival...can you imagine the things I have planned for the stag/my best friend on his last days of freedom? Watch This Space.

The Dream Becomes Reality

These tears were all being shed during the tournament that was literally scripted from my dreams if only they tore out the last page! This weekend I took part in DTD's Summer Deepstack...£115 of backers investments got me into a place like you would never imagine...I played my heart out, it's the best I have EVER played...given my friends happening not to mention my dad winning loads as well it seemed almost destined to be a good run...it sure was!

Two days, 461 players, £50,000 in the prizepool...

A-Game? Check.
Day 2? Check.
Cash? Check.
Final Table? Check.
Win? Not Quite...

The best A-Game I could muster produced the best result for a poker tournament I have ever achieved...2nd place, for £7,000...let me put that into perspective, that amount of money is more than the whole years student loans I will receive for 2013/2014...its four times more than my largest ever cash...it has DOUBLED my lifetime earnings overnight! Sure I only get £1,050 of that for my 15% share, but it has opened up new realms of possibilities...

Backers are over the moon, stakers are now starting to be interested, i've been getting prominent coverage on the largest poker news outlet in the country! (http://uk.pokernews.com/news/2013/07/jonathan-gill-takes-down-the-latest-dtd-summer-deepstack-11198.htm)...All for one tournament!

I lost to a good friend, which made it bitter sweet...from 27 players I knew it was meant to be...the banter was terrific and I truly lost to the better man on the day. Jonathan, I tip my hat to you...1-0 motherfucker ;-)

Where From Here?

That is anyone's guess...a stag do to plan, a wedding to help with, a trip to America only five weeks away off the back of my largest ever win...I may just end up playing something massive after all of this...

To bink that....can you imagine? I can....guess you could call me some kind of dreamer.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Thorpe On Tour: T-40 Days: That Escalated Quickly

Well, this has got awkward fast.

The exam board have just released my results and i'm not going to lie....they're shit. Honestly I thought I had done miles better than this...sure the Spanish was always going to be a car crash but the fact both exams were JUST passes really worries me...especially with one of them, i thought id nailed it!



Module Description Credit Weight % Grade Mark Result

BUSI22630 Marketing Management (HY2) 20
Low 2.2 53 Pass


Presentation
40 High 2.1 68


Examination
60 Low 3rd 42

BUSI22680 Exp. Strategy and Innovation 20
Low 3rd 41 Pass


Examination
60 Low 3rd 42


Coursework
40 Marginal Fail 38

INTB20101 Acct & Fin for Intl Mngrs 20
Mid 2.1 65 Pass


Coursework
100 Mid 2.1 65

INTB20121 The Intl Busi Environment 20
Mid 3rd 45 Pass


Coursework
100 Mid 3rd 45

INTB20440 Intercultural Effectiveness 1 10
Mid 2.2 55 Pass


Report
100 Mid 2.2 55

INTB20445 Intercultural Effectiveness 2 10
Marginal Fail 38 Referred


Report
100 Marginal Fail 38 Referred by Coursework

ULPS10102 ULP Spanish stage 1 20 Low Fail 18 Referred
Coursework 70 Low Fail 18 First Sit In Aug/Sep
Coursework 30 Low Fail 18
Referred by Coursework

So yeah, makes for quite shit reading to be honest...i can take some solace in the fact that mid term coursework is still going alright (Accounting is saving my grade SO MUCH) but what annoys me is marketing...I mean look at that coursework, I know more than the damn exam would lead on! The Strategy & Innovation doesn't surprise me all too much but considering 40% of the exam was multiple choice that should have been a given...

Total Aggregate Score:  44.7%
Now that sounds awful but we have to remember Spanish is contributing to that...once that gets bumped to a 40% at the least then it will be far better (If i work it out right, up to about 48/49%...which is alot easier to work with) And thats not saying i don't get more than the base 40%, theoretically speaking i need Spanish v2 to be roughly 55/60% for me to walk out of the first year with a 2:2 and a realistic shot of getting a 2:1 in the final year overall...so at least i have an aim!


Where to go from here?

I'm lucky i one fact in that the entire of Spanish is being given a second chance, after some much needed negotiations on my side (selling sand to the Arabs style...FU MARKETING!) I will be taking that again out in America completely uncapped ...given the current aggregate percentage I need to basically be fluent come exam day to drag this up to an amount that doesn't require sucking massive dick to get an overall 2:1...sort of proves that next year i need to pull my finger out even more (and believe me, i had already!)

Intercultural sadly is a capped resit, its tedious because 2% can be compensated by the board but in my case they seem to have refused, normally i wouldn't mind too much but at first glance i was told it was 48% not 38%....such is life.


Summary

Got boned, hard. One of my modules in America now matters ALOT and one of them needs to be resit before I even fly out...can't get that one wrong really...Slightly worrying, but defiantly salvageable

Monday, 8 July 2013

Thorpe On Tour: T-42 Days: Growing Up

Right, i had a feeling id be doing this, and with exactly six weeks until the longest and most life changing season of my life. I thought it best to write a blog about the experience before, during, and after. That and the fact my dissertation can be based on this, two birds one stone anyone?

Now i will say from the outset that these blogs may not be day by day, heck there might be large gaps between them. I will write (and sometimes video) my thoughts of the moment whenever they seem enough to warrant a mention. I would imagine that these will get more frequent in the days leading up to the flight and the days following, but we shall see.

I will also warn you i tend to go off on tangents alot and this particular blog is LONG being the first one...feel free to leave comments and suggestions for how I can improve, i'm no amazing writer so things will be shaky at first.


It strikes me that what is about to happen is a leap far and beyond anything i had anticipated. At the beginning of this i was clearly blind to the scope. Ignorant of its effects. I'd spent ages thinking this was just a long holiday, and while that may be the case in some regards it is symbolic of the changes ahead, not just short but long term also.

For those that do not know i will summarize it. For four months i will be moving to Southern California for a study abroad placement in Long Beach...from there i will be working abroad for another 15/16 weeks or working in Britain under a international capacity. Both of these are necessary parts for my current university degree (International Business, as you do) and will also go a long way to developing me as a person.

I am a fairly easy to please 21 year old, i strive for perfection, competitive on the highest levels possible, an honest and blunt person with a heart of gold. I have traveled the world with my family over the years and experienced many things that have changed me as a person. However i have never moved home, I have never moved out of my home, I have never experienced a life outside of some sort of authority or parental capacity. And it is rare i actually have to make decisions for myself...A blessed life yes, would not change it for the world.

But this...is a leap far beyond what any normal person faces.

Moving away fills me with a sense of adventure, sure i have university work to do while I am there, but only two days a week with a four day weekend. I was given free reign to choose my lessons and what times they were placed, which has given me the ability to be free for every weekend to enjoy what the West Coast has to offer, if not more. I plan to visit various areas, live out dreams, live a life free from the shackles of authority and control and enjoy life for the grandeur that it is.

Least i think so. I have never left the house, so who knows what's out there?

One thing that has recently hit me though is the new found weight of change that is about to befall me...I have never had to cook for myself, never been forced to clean for myself, important decisions were made for me, ive had a close group of friends which has since blossomed into a very popular life...

Everything was so easy.

Now however I will have to sort out everything for myself, almost all weight off my shoulders apart from my own expectations. I will have to decide how to function as a member of society where my decisions will affect me in all kinds of ways. And with no help for 5,500 miles should things go wrong (and with me, that will not be hard)...each decision will be important.

Friendship groups, at long last, are splitting up...This is what hurts me the most, pressure i can deal with, worry i can cope with...But of my closest friends (The "Inner Circle" if you will)...one couple are moving to Birmingham, one already lives in Suffolk, another stays in Nottingham and me and my beautiful girlfriend are separated as she moves back to Northampton. Even when i return, those things will be the same...even as my life returns to some degree of normality, those people will be gone. Always the ability to visit, but never the spontaneity that I have grown to love.

I guess that's the way it has to be, everyone has to make leaps and make changes in their lives at some stage, and while yes I may be doing mine far later than alot of people usually do...it still affects me as it does others.

To my friends, I will always cherish the moments we have shared...I promise to visit all i can and maintain the bond that has carried us through so many years.

To my parents, I promise to carry the family name with all the honour you'd expect of me. Flying the nest is not something that will come easy and i will return afterwards even if only briefly. But now is the time to make something of myself...find out who i truly am.

To my amazing girlfriend...Coral, you are my guiding light, and as I sit here with tears streaming down my face it is apparent just how much you mean to me. Nobody in the world makes me feel like you do and even though we will be apart for 4 months...maybe alot more. I know where my heart lies, and i hope yours does too...no amount of time or distance will change how much I love you. And when we reunite at Christmas I hope to have one present early, one that will mean more than any other...you to be there waiting...God, having to stop three times to wipe the tears from my face...I need to man the fuck up.



Everyone. To growing up...it sucks, it's worse than I expected, it's something I underestimated on all levels, but its a moment to cherish....for all the right reasons.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Refreshed. Refocused. Ready.

I was crushed.

APAT worlds was the culmination of my amateur year, people put faith in me on a scale id never before seen...six events, world championships, high rollers...id been in them all, my reputation and past form getting me the chances of a lifetime. But it didn't happen. Six misses, some of my best play mixed with some of my worst...it wasn't nice to watch, even worse to be a part of. No silver medals, no bracelets, no cashes....barely a respectable finish.

I was crushed.

A good friend of mine was unflinching in his advice...take a break from the game...i did, it was something that needed to happen...my mind wasn't where it needed to be. I'd burnt myself out and had nothing to show for it, so the break was welcome, it gave me a chance to focus on other things, my relationships with people, friends, family...and to be honest my life couldn't be in a better position than it is now...and just the thought of it is making me have to choke back emotions.

My family life is back on track, arguments a thing of the past, we made amends on all fronts...coming back home isn't painful now, we work as a unit towards a common goal again. For the first time in years the focus point of getting to America is now in full swing. Long have i dreamed of flying the nest and becoming the independent soul ive always wanted to...soon i will get that chance, with it comes boundless possibilities, a possible career, new friends, a new lifestyle...all of this is to come...along with the chance to be only four hours away from a place i have dreamed of my entire life.

Also for the first time in my life i have found someone that i cherish (now i really am choking back emotions, sigh)...ive managed to find a woman that appreciates me for everything i am, qualities and problems alike...i couldn't ask for more. The smile on my face when i see her, the warm feeling when im around her. It's unlike anything ive had before...people who know me know im not one to show emotions, not one to experience emotions, but she has changed all that and for the better...Not a day goes by that i don't understand just how special she is to me, and how lucky i am to be where i am now...and even if it wasn't to last, i would always cherish what we have had...i hope it never ends...she lights up my world like nobody else. And as it currently stands i want nobody else in my life than the most beautiful amazing person i know right now...she really is perfection.

All of this has allowed me to refresh my mind, it's allowed me to go back into the game i love with renewed determination. Sure to some people the level i play at is small, pointless, largely not deserving of such a post as this...but you don't understand, nor will you ever appreciate how much it means to me. I give my everything to this game, recently it was causing me problems, but now those have all been sorted, im back to the good old days...the days when i was a bratty 18 year old, no ties, no targets, no aims, nothing to distract from becoming the best...there was a time where people were taking notice...long may they return, and long may they stay.

It's allowed me to refocus my mind, i've got to know some amazing people in my life...and now i am utilizing everything i have at my disposal, the team i have behind me, from reporters to players to rising stars to professionals alike, all of them seem willing to aid me in this most grand of causes...again you might think im overdoing this...imagine what im like when it's on the scale i dream of?

All of my life is poised perfectly. I'm Refreshed...feeling as great as i have in a long time and ready to take on the challenges ahead of me come what may. I'm Refocused, a revitalized determination that has always astounded people with its ferocious intent...i will become a champion of this game before too long and i dont care what it takes to get there. I'm Ready.

I was crushed...but not anymore.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The World Marches Tonight

Oh it feels good to be back! Writing these always gives me a sense of pride, a sense of purpose...i only come to the blog to express myself at times of doubt, worry, joy or anticipation...fortunately this time round its the latter two...and boy, this one's been building for some time! I apologize if this becomes rambling and inspirational speeches...its bound to, but you'll get a glimpse into what this all means to me.

This week marks my third assault on the amateur championships, worlds 2013...it feels great to be back amongst such a crowd, to see the familiar faces, the friendly atmosphere, the unrivaled banter...this comes around once a year and it gives me such a buzz every time it does...you cant match how this feels, the mix of wanting the titles, but still with people that can have a laugh along the way...its just beautiful. What the APAT team put on for us is truly special and we are blessed to be able to play in such a series...long may they continue to amaze us with such a spectacle

This year however...i arrive with a purpose, and its a purpose more fired up than ever before...

Two years i've attacked the amateur establishment with all of my might...and two years ive come up one spot short...both times feeling i deserved more, both times feeling slightly robbed of what i believed was my rightful victory. Don't get me wrong, the people i lost to on those occasions were just as deserving...but i don't enter these tournaments for "a good showing"...i don't enter these for second, i enter to win...and each year ive walked away licking wounds that anyone else would consider battle scars of victory...not me...i was born for more.

This year ive trained more than ever before, practiced more than ever before...last year hurt, to have navigated the field i did, to be taking pictures with a silver medal in my hands...silver...i felt sick, i was in tears...i threw it across my bedroom floor when i got home, but as the days and weeks have gone by it filled me with such a fire and passion you would not believe it possible. Sure to some this is just a week of poker, many people reading this would consider me stupid and over hyping the situation...yes maybe, but you have no idea what it feels like.

APAT Worlds represents the highest point i can reach given my situation. It represents the pinnacle of amateur poker the world over...people recognize this title and they appreciate the prestige that comes with it...when you wrap that bracelet around your wrist, they know you've won against a strong field...it wasn't a fluke, it was something to be proud of...and thats the way i feel every time i sit across from people on the felt...I'm representing myself, my friends, my backers, my family...but most importantly my country...the series in my view garners such respect that people travel thousands of miles to be here, i represent Great Britain when i sit down to play...and it brings a tear to my eye just thinking that...

I was never a true sportsman, i was never an athlete, never played something that was world recognized...so this is my world series, this is where i get to represent...and there is no greater pride in the world...the amount of effort i have put into this year has been with one purpose in mind...to represent at the highest level and take it right to the top...and its a purpose thats been three years in the making...i'm not about to let that slip.

When Thursday arrives, people walk into my back yard...they walk onto my tournament floor, my home advantage...and i plan to use that advantage to the best of my ability...ive got a friendship group the likes of which people would dream of...the support they give me fills me with the inner confidence and inner belief to take it to the world...I Believe i can make it, I Believe i deserve to win, I Believe this year will showcase that perfectly...

To win a title...lord only knows the reaction, the elation...the sheer joy that would follow...id have realized a dream, put myself out there...the world would take notice, they would have little choice...you just watch...ive thrown my soul into it this year, more passion that you will have ever experienced before...i don't want silver this year, i wont accept a close call this year, i cant take another near miss this year...the gold standard is what people measure themselves against...they don't remember second place...the the title of "best without a title" is not something i plan to take on...i have a monkey on my back this year...and i don't like monkeys.

The world marches tonight...they converge on the mecca of European poker in under 72 hours...ill be ready, my team will be ready...whatever the task before us, we will be ready.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Three Minutes And Your Dead....Poker's "Shot Clock"

Its been quite a few months since i last made a post on here, and i appologise for that, largely the reason was that nothing relevant was coming up and the fact uni has started up again (Workshop tomorrow run by the group...should be fun :D) but something recently has got me debating...

Poker is a game of tough choices, niche circumstances, tough players and defining moments, some can think lightning fast, some take stupid amounts of time...this is true of any game you play, be it a simple five pound home game, be it a freezeout at your local casino, or be it on tour or at the world series...everyone has seen it, everyone has seen the extremes...but now the topic has become front page news, ive sat down and thought about it alot.

During the world series final this year, 3 handed play took as long as entire days can take....yes, two people busting took as long as 3000+ could, now obviously im not drawing direct comparisons between the two, but the simple maths is that to bust two people took nearly TWELVE HOURS....people on the east coast got a good nights sleep and still technically missed nothing!!

Now alot of pro's and amateurs alike have been calling on the idea of a "Shot clock", by which i mean a forced timer on people's actions...say for example in a hand, no matter what, you have...say 60 seconds to make a decision, don't make it by then? your hand's dead. simple as.

One of the main advocates (what a surprise, he's an advocate/opinionated for/on almost everything) is Daniel Negreanu, ive recently been listening to a video interview over on Card Player that he did this week (You can find it here) about his idea of a shot clock and the reasons behind it...im going to outline them all with my opinions, along with personal takes...now im fully aware i wont get even 1% of the views he does, nor will i get even 1% of people giving a damn....but its a public forum, damn me if im gonna voice an opinion xD. At the end i will draw my own conclusion so if you wanna go all tl;dr on me, feel free, my views at the bottom.

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1. One tank, 2 minutes after that - Now i like this idea, obviously people are going to have that one moment in their tournament which is, as i said earlier, a defining moment. After that they wont get another chance and he will give them a standardized amount of time, which under current tournament rules is completely allowed...now a few things i would say is the obvious question to Daniel (in the 1,000,000-1 shot he reads this)...is that once per day? or is this one tank for the entire comp? because id be getting intensely pissy with you if i drew your table day 1, and thought it was worth my tournament life, then you decide to hound me on the final table...2 minutes is enough there yes, but not always, and far less than normal that's for sure...

2. We can read people for longer than 2 minutes - Now this is a fair argument, i have been known personally to stare someone down very deep into a tourney, and its been a solid four minutes before they started to crack...and those cracks ultimately have led to decisions which won me the hand, i would hasten to add though that you don't need that long for EVERY hand, there are some players in the poker world that take 30 seconds to decide if they are gonna call the big blind...now that's completely ridiculous, at the end of the day all of this is situational, and in the end no matter who you are you cant standardize each instance or each hand...its impossible to truly quantify each decision made without being in that persons head...

3. Self policing vs TD policing - Now this is one of my own that im thinking to the masses...with the current rules in place, in a traditional tournament that's not shot clock specific, we would have to personally enforce this idea every time someone overstepped their time limit...now i personally want to focus on the players, focus on their movements, the way they handle their chips, my hands, my choices...its less of not being bothered but more about prioritizing things, and im sure i share the sentiments of others in that we are all there to play poker, not to enforce our own "clock" on everyone else, every single hand...sure its not alot of effort per say, that said i wouldn't make it my top priority either...another factor to consider is that is the "police" fair minded or an asshole? sure, two minutes into one final minute seems reasonable...but what happens (and it does, we've seen it) if you get "that guy" who calls the clock on you for what they think is an acceptable amount of time because they make decisions by then...which may happen to be 20 seconds, id be going insane if i got the clock called on me that fast (Can you imagine Salaburu calling the clock on people every time he would have already made a decision? like the hell?!)

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My take on this and my ideas - The idea is sound and i agree with the principle that people, on the whole, take far too long for their decisions...the problem i have with the current solutions is three fold...one is the simple fact that self policing is not only time consuming for the players, inconvenient for all those concerned, but also open to some SERIOUS bias amongst some players (count all your chips for an all in at a WPT final table, then call the clock literally two seconds after? you sir...make me sick), it should be used as a tool to keep the game flowing, not as a tactic for others to exploit...my second issue that the idea of "one tank" is just not enough, nobody runs through a tournament and only has one time where he has to seriously sit down and think...ive always been a stalwart for the idea that you have five game changing decisions per day...now obviously some are simple, but there is no way one tank would ever suffice...my third issue stems from my first and actually partially contradicts it, if we were to implement an actual shot clock, who enforces it? do we burden the dealers with even more work? does every casino have to buy a bunch of stopwatches/clocks? do we just offer this in specific tournaments and defeat the idea of this discussion altogether?

Solution - 90 seconds to make a decision on any given street, with three "Extension Cards" which can be traded in for an extra 90 seconds in that decision, but only one card per street. Extension Cards are re-distributed at the beginning of each day, and during a final table these times become 120 seconds with a 120 second add-on...to be implemented by clocks on each table, operated by a simple button the dealer presses next to them, along with a five second countdown.

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Now my solution is relatively sound, it might not be practical for every card room to get the clocks with proper buttons and all that, although that said picking up simple stopwatches these days costs less than the rake you get off a player in a simple comp! so the benefits far outweigh the costs...it gives people the chance to use extras where required, adds a new level of depth to the game in the fact you only get three cards per day, there is the very real possibility you could use one on the flop, turn and river....cool story bro...now what are you going to do for the next 9 hours? plus the simple fact is that 30 second comps work all over the place, literally 0 people can moan with triple that time...not to mention 90 seconds is where most people call the clock anyway, this just removes that extra minute unless the person REALLY needs it.

So, thats my take on this entire debate, feel free to comment below, or message me at @PeterThorpe1991 or even message me on my Facebook page, apart from that, have a fantastic christmas and i shall write more ramblings soon!