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Sleepless in L.A.

by Xuan Liu |  Published: Feb 02, '09

Maybe it's all the coffee, tea, and energy drinks I consumed trying to stay awake for the tourny, but I was only able to sleep for 2 hours before I had to go downstairs to feed my belly. Oh, and I only had a muffin and apple to eat yesterday, which made my usually bland seafood rice noodle soup taste wonderful. I was debating whether to play or not, but instead I decided to try this new self-management thing and came back upstairs to clean my suite instead. This new age thing better work!

I have to admit I've always been quite messy and unorganized. Perhaps I'm just making excuses (again), but I think it may have to do with my unstable lifestyle since I was very little. I was constantly on the road traveling between my parents' places and I just never got into the habit of being tidy because I never stayed at one place long enough to become settled. I've always had this "what's the point?" mentality, but now that I am older I can definitely see the theory behind orderly self-management as a reflection of inner productivity. I've never really had much incentive to change my messy ways, but I'd like to think that I'll never be too old to change for the better when the motivation is there.

Slumdog Millionaire is my most recent two-thumbs-up flick. A heart-touching hollywood/bollywood tale of a boy with a seemingly written destiny; every milestone of his life brought him closer to a single goal. It has a really great screenplay and makes you feel good inside whether you believe in fate or not. I'd like to think that a lot of my past decisions have brought me closer to poker lol. My memories of my grandma on my dad's side in China was almost purely those of her playing Mahjong, and I took every opportunity to annoy adults with stupid questions. I've known my poker hands since I was about 5, and played variants of Big2 with my other grandma and my cousins for as long as I could remember. I used to watch God of Gambling movies over and over when I visited my dad on some weekends, and I was beating adults in connect-5 and GO into the wee hours of the morning every week when my mom and stepdad threw parties. I was a worthy competitor to national junior chess champions, and though my high school years were more about survival than gaming, I soon found myself waiting outside the casino for an influential ex-boyfriend while he played Hold'em when I was 17, and getting into the game itself in the first year of college. I visited Atlantic City for the first time when I was 18 and though I wasn't allowed to play anything, I was absolutely intrigued by the atmosphere and seemingly limitless potential of the gambling underworld. I started playing 2-5 at Brantford casino, a 30-minute drive from school right when I turned legal (an academically detrimental decision that costed me 2-4 days a week). For the first 3 years of college when poker blew up, I was making change online off SNGS and low limit hold'em, running a campus $1/2 game with partners, dealing and supervising at a charity casino in the summertime, and taking down local and school tournys. I took every opportunity to read up on the game and discuss strategies until my determination and drive to continually get better stalled when I ridiculously became addicted to Warcrack. When it became more difficult to win while duo-screening online poker and the MMORPG, I regrettably chose the latter. I then quit playing live poker for about a year around the time of a turbulent breakup (limited transportation and players I used to rob blind had bought a clue), and dealt at a couple of underground joints. It was during this time when a lot of players in the Waterloo community whom I was well acquainted through poker flourished ahead of the pack and are now highly-successful competitors in the field. Upon some supportive persuasion and limited options after retardedly not showing up to any finals one term, I moved to Niagara Falls and made a profitable living grinding the soft 5-5 ($500) game for a couple of months. I then went back to school to finish off my superfluous liberal arts B.A.

With my reinstated freedom, I have since then been on the road quite often coming and going where and when I please. This has proven to not necessarily be a good thing. I have gotten into a terrible habit of undervaluing money and making sub-prime lifestyle decisions. There are days when I absolutely crave more structure and perhaps even someone other than myself to answer to. This has been an incredible journey of self-discovery and I am incredibly thankful that I have made it thus far. I want to believe that I have reached an entire new level of my goal, where any further success can only be achieved when elements of self-actualization are present. I have an ego problem at times. It may be because I'm a girl in a male-dominated field, or I'm young, or because I know I am resilient and have overcome so many obstacles in the past that I think I can get out of any ditch. Poker is so awesome because it's self-correcting. It's my therapy. If I respect the game and its challenges, I believe it will treat me well in return, like it always has.
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