Tuesday, July 11, 2006


One thing I've never been able to pride myself on is my choice in friends. I am horrible at deciding who I want as a friend, and knowing who is a true friend and who is a fraud. I have gotten stabbed in the back so many times that I'm ashamed to even talk about it.

Sometimes it's money. I've been very candid about AOL and our situation. I'm usually such a tightwad that I don't fall for scams by my so-called friends and family, but I've gotten burned a few times. Like that famous line, it was the best money I ever spent, in one respect, because I found out that I didn't actually have a friend at all.

Um, to those of you who have borrowed money from me and are reading this site, go to hell. I don't ever want you to contact me again, and don't pay me back. It was worth every penny to have you out of my life.

Jeez, I hope some of them read my journal. That felt good.

Ranting always feels good to me. I'm someone who just has to get it out, so I throw a big fit, and then it's over, and I don't have a frigging coronary or something. I'm back to shiny, happy, Kumbaya Felicia (harhar).

As far as non-money scams I've fallen for, well, there have been many, many more of those. In fact, I tend not to want to make friends these days, preferring the hermit lifestyle and the maxim of "I'd have more friends if I had no standards."

To me, a friend is loyal and giving. A friend is there during the very worst of times, along with the best. A friend gives as much as he takes. He is honest and forthcoming.

I know that it is very, very hard to be a friend of mine. I'm not deluding myself here. I have super high standards for my own lifestyle and behavior, so I have a set of similar expectations when making friends. I can't stand a flake, a small talker, a gossip, etc. I take every friendship seriously, and behave in a manner to show I care about my friends at all times. For instance, I would never hesitate to call or write (mostly write since I hate the phone) a friend who had just told me about something horrible going on in his or her life. I would keep up on that situation, frequently asking how the friend is doing, how things are getting better or whatever. I would never just leave a friend hanging out to dry.

When I got cancer, I was really surprised about who came forward, and who slunk away. It amazed me that some people I considered friends just backed off and pretty much stopped talking to me, like I had leprosy and it was spreading. Those people I've pretty much never spoken to again. Not real friends, obviously.

I understand people who have trouble approaching someone with cancer, aids, handicaps, etc. If they are up front about it and admit that they feel awkward, that is great, in my book. I can completely respect that, and hope that I will make them more comfortable as time goes by. It takes big balls to admit that one is uncomfortable.

Other people whom I'd barely talked to came forward like champs. They sent cards, messages, gifts. I was flabbergasted. I didn't even really know these people!

I guess I knew from the beginning that I wasn't a true "poker blogger" in the sense of the word that meant a casual, recreational poker player who had a full-time job outside of the poker industry. I started the blog because of 2+2. I used to post trip reports and tourney reports there, and soon people started asking me for copies of the stories (after they were archived). Eventually I was sending so many of them to so many people, that I decided enough was enough and started a Yahoo group.

This was obviously before the so-called "blogs" became so popular. I was comfortable on Yahoo and belonged to many other groups there.

Eventually Scott and Iggy whined so hard about the software of Yahoo that Scott offered to buy a domain name for me and pay for Typepad for two years. I felt so bad about it that I agreed. Probably one of my biggest poker mistakes ever (not your fault, Scott).

Right from the beginning I knew something was different between me, and the recreational bloggers. I would go to their sites, I would comment when they had a question or concern. I rarely got any thanks or feedback. I realized pretty quickly that they just wanted to whine and pout, not to learn. I aligned myself with the more serious minded players. Brits were my ideal, full-time and/or pro players were also much closer to my mindset and lifestyle.

Things came to a head in December of 2004. Joaquin was a Stud player, and asked if I would give a seminar on Stud games after the blogger tournament. He offered to pay me for my time. I said I would be delighted to talk about Stud, and that I would never accept money for my help.

After I won the blogger event (Max and I actually chopped it evenly but played for the "title"), I swear to god I have never seen such a rush of bloggers eager to get out of Sam's Town and avoid listening to me talk about Stud. Not only did Joaquin not show up at all, but not ONE blogger stuck around for the seminar.

I came home and said I was through with them. I should have stuck to my guns. Unfortunately, not long after that is when I found out I had cancer, and so many kindhearted bloggers came forward that I felt like I had to stick it out with them. I should have just said a sincere thank you and gone my own way. I was a fool, deceived by kindness and nice words.

I truly thought I had some friends in the blogger community. Just a few of them, sure, but I thought they were true-blue, not fair weather friends. Naturally I made another horrendous mistake that hurt me terribly this past Saturday and Sunday.

In fact, I was hurt so badly that I felt worse, and closer to crying, than I did when I had cancer. It was that terrible, that much of a betrayal.

Some of the bloggers whom I was still close to, I have communicated with extensively. On Yahoo, in chat, on the phone and in person. I was so unbelievably stupid to think that they really wanted my friendship and my help with poker. I taught them games other than Hold'em. I gave them lessons in O8, Stud, Razz, mixed games, Stud 8, PLO, etc. I spent a ton of time with them, and put several of them into satellites with my own money, trying to boost their confidence and show them how much I believed in them.

I was really deceived.

On Saturday I played in the O8 event. Things went really well. My readers probably know this already. I played for 14 hours and considered it an amazing stride that I was able to endure that long, given that I never thought my health would allow me to do that again.

I busted out about 36th, or eight from the money. I wasn't really even disappointed, feeling I'd acheived something that I couldn't have done last year.

I was so happy to see some of my tourney friends again. Some of them I'd not seen in a year, others I'd just seen a few days before. But what made me so happy, what impressed me so greatly, is how they kept coming over to my table, rubbing my shoulders, rooting for me. They were THERE for me. 

But who wasn't there for me? The few bloggers whom I felt were my true-blue friends, though times of trouble, times of good, times of joy and pain. The ones I'd taught poker to. The ones I'd put into satellites and tournaments. The ones I'd talked to for years, given advice to, constructive criticism to. The ones I'd listened to when things went bad. The ones I'd cheered on when things were good. The ones I'd sweated through tourney after tourney, both online and live. Not ONE of them showed up during the entire 14 hours. Not one of them even called or wrote me an e-mail. Not even the ones I'd said I buy in. Yes, I had offered to buy in players whom I believed in, whom I wanted to succeed. Not only did they not show up during the entire 14 hours, they didn't call, didn't write, nada. 

I had gone back to the room, hoping, praying that I had some messages from people, someone saying, "Sorry we didn't make it out there today, but thanks for the offer of a buy-in.  We were so busy with the blogger event, and then something came up later, but I'm happy to see you aren't answering the phone, that must mean you're still in."  Nope, nada.  Not a message from anyone.  Zip, zero.

Waking up on Sunday I was sad, of course, but things got even worse. When I tried to reach out, hoping to hear some story about a horrible car accident or someone in the hospital (praying that I truly was not betrayed, that they simply had an emergency come up), I was met with total apathy.

"So, where were you yesterday? I played until 2am, I was only 8 from the money."

"We were with our friends."

"Oh. I thought you were coming by?"

"We had things to do. Today we're going to watch our friends at Rio."

Worst phone conversation I've ever heard. Worst betrayal I can remember in five years. My so-called friends turned out to be my worst enemies and I never even knew it. I was completely blindsided.

I was so upset and hurt that I couldn't play. Glenn played the NLHE event at Orleans, the $540 buy-in event. There were over 300 people there, and Glenn finished at about 1am, just 15 from the money. Oy. He didn't take it as well as I had the day before, but after a few reassuring words, he bucked up and realized he played well once again. How often is it that one can win a multi-tiered freeroll on Party to get a main event seat, then right afterwards cash in a big field of a NLHE tourney without even having to do a rebuy, then the very next event, get 15 from the money??? That is a great accomplishment in my book.

And although none of the so-called friends who sold us out were there to see it and share it with us, tons of our tournament circuit friends were there, cheering us on the whole way.

Now I know who my real friends are. I hope never again to be deceived in this manner. This hurt me more than almost anything I've had to endure in my lifetime, but it's over. I ranted and raved to Glenn for 15 minutes or so, then it was over with (15 is a loooong rant for me, I usually can get over anything in about 5, lol).

I will never speak to the Judas's again. Don't contact me. Don't comment, don't write, don't call. Your efforts to contact me will not be met positively.

You do not exist anymore. I should never have trusted you to begin with. You are out of my world.