Click here for Part 1.
Click here for Part 2.
Click here for Part 3.
Leaving Chicago was very difficult for me. From a poker playing standpoint, however, I was finding it a struggle to constantly be playing with people I consider, or at one point considered to be, close friends of mine. I obviously don't want to lose when I play, but what fun is it watching people you care about lose either? I thought it might be nice playing with a new group of people where there was no established emotional investment. Retrospectively, I still agree that it can be difficult to play in a game that is 100% friends, but I didn't really consider quite a few things that I would find myself faced with after the fact.
1- Having no emotional investment with groups of people I see on a regular basis is not who I am. Only a small group of people play games that aren't No Limit Hold 'Em, so if you decide you're going to specialize in mixed games, you're going to be seeing a lot of the same faces, more-so the higher in stakes that you play. As desperate as I am to fully embrace my inner misanthrope sometimes, I am highly concerned with people's feelings and level of comfort. I think I tend to project my own mistrust in humanity onto humanity, and overcompensate by wanting to show compassion all of the fucking time; I don't know, and it's embarrassing to write something like that. Maybe that movie 'Powder' just loops in my dreams, and it's fucked me subconsciously. In any case, it's difficult to change who you are.
2- When you go someplace new, not only do you need to be aware of your surroundings, you need to re-establish your own reputation as well. It's a simple thing, but in this profession it's such an easy one to fuck up, even haphazardly. Here's a personal example:
New to the Commerce, I'm playing a late night session of 2-7 Triple Draw 4 or 5 handed. If you don't follow poker you may want to gloss over the jargon. A very loose, overfolding, opener raises the HJ, I make a similarly loose 3 bet with 467 from the CO with plans, and an old pro cold calls the button. 3 ways HJ Draws 3, I draw 2, button draws 2. I hit 8X and bet, BTN calls, HJ folds. I draw 1, BTN draws 2. I make a J, and bet planning on patting and opting to bet instead of check river hoping he will incorrectly fold a better J or a T, and additionally if he folds, I don't have to show my hand which I thought was a bit better than showing it at this point. I wasn't very familiar with the BTN yet, only that he was an old school FTP pro. I pat, and he draws 1. I bet, he calls, and this is where it gets weird.
At this point I'm like 90% sure the hand is over, but it's at least 2 in the morning, the dealer hasn't dropped the deck, which is protocol after the third draw completes, and I'm pretty delirious. I decide to make the pat gesture again just in case there happens to be one more draw, assuming that if the hand is over, he or the dealer will ask me to show my hand. I don't want to accidentally flip my hand over with one draw to go, and let my opponent play perfectly against me. BTN thinks my tapping the table is an indication that his hand is good, and flips over Ace low. He basically called with a really bad hand thinking I was bluffing, but I was bluffing with a slightly better hand than he had called with. I turned over the J low and tried to explain my tired thought-process. I should've asked if the hand was over, or remembered to look at how many burn cards were out ( 3 means the hand is over ). I was very tired, and all I was thinking at the time was "FOLD, FOLD!"
I tried explaining exactly what I wrote, he responds, "no you just thought I beat you, but I happened to call with a worse hand", and while I could've just agreed to his interpretation, I wanted him to see the true absurdity of my folly. He doesn't believe me, and quits not wanting to play with who he assumes to be an angle-shooter. Right then I realized that I have nobody around me to act as a character reference, and that there isn't a note-box over my head that lists why I should qualify as somebody decent. What a gross and helpless feeling when something like that matters to a person.
With the exception of a few new friends, I find myself missing both the familiar cast of characters from my old game, our established relationships, and just feeling comfortable being understood regardless of what could ever come up. All of these things will develop in time, but it's been an interesting experience.
Obviously I didn't leave Chicago for the reasons listed in the initial paragraph. My girlfriend moved to the Midwest from Vegas to live with me through 2015, and now I'm returning the favor so she can pursue her dreams in LA. I think she missed being close to her family most of all. I shot way above the rim landing her, so it's no sweat off my back. Next up WSOP 2016.