Unloved Boy Finally Grows Up, Starts A Blog And Forgives Everyone

Childhood

My dad bounced before any memories were formed and my mom basically went into survival mode. The only real attention I got during “the important years” was from my older brother- he and his friends would beat the shit out of me daily.

(my brother had love taken away from him- even worse for a child than never having it imo)

My mom remarried one of the most solid men to ever walk this planet. I still didn’t receive the attention/affection a kid needs to grow up well-adjusted (it was probably too late anyways), but the beatings stopped and I was fully parented otherwise from then on. I did great in school- when I was incentified to (my step-dad was creative and generous). I would also show up with a 1.8 gpa or whatever on occasion as well. Most importantly, I always stayed eligible to play basketball.

Younger siblings are generally competitive as hell. Younger siblings that grow up unloved/beaten down everyday by an older brother and his friends- they are psycho competitive… I was naturally a pretty gifted athlete too. And as soon as I was old enough to play youth sports–> Voila, I was loved (adored actually, but close enough) for the first time in my life.

I obsessively practiced whatever sport I was in at the time, and my step-dad hooked me up with some great camps and stuff too. I was the best player on pretty much every team I played on (in every sport), mostly just because “I wanted it more”. I wanted it WAY more than all the kids who grew up loved.

And then puberty forgot to happen… I literally had a Driver’s License and was cruising around town with no hair on my nuts. I had girls that I would kiss and stuff (I have always loved girls- they are the best), and then when it came time to break out the heavy artillery I would have to be like “ughh, nah, can’t, didn’t bring a rubber, dammit”, or something like that. And then I would have to break it off with them the next day.

Kids who could never hang with me before (subconscious pun?) started getting my spots on every team/in every sport in middle school. By the time I was halfway through high school, I was almost completely out of sports… I was getting smaller and slower and weaker by the year- literally a boy amongst men. I kept playing basketball though, working on my game hyper-obsessively, and I kept making the team- albeit at the very end of the bench.

Sometime during my junior year my voice started to crack… I got my starting spot back. By senior year I was a man amongst men- men who just couldn’t match my fire. Our league was legit (lots of kids went on to the NBA, NFL, etc), but I was the fiercest- of everyone. I had “a real mean streak” according to a rival coach (he told my step-dad that after a game- as a compliment lol).

The best athlete I ever played against was this kid who went on to play DB for the Detroit Lions. He put the clamps on me pretty good in our first matchup, and I was beyond embarrassed/disgusted (even though everyone knew he was a beast)… In our second matchup I went for 31. And I wasn’t even a good shooter (I’ve always struggled with focusing in general- and with actual eyesight). I was just jacked to the moon on adrenaline/competitive juices, and whenever I got like that- I basically played in fast forward (while everyone else played at regular speed).

So much of doing well in sports really is just effort- like all coaches say it is…

Being a high school hoops star got me maximum adoration. No lie- even my math teacher wanted to fuck. I was too shy for that, so she started hanging out with my basketball coach… Anyone who knows me now won’t believe this, but I was painfully shy until my mid-20’s. I always got girls though a) because some of them absolutely eat up the shy-boy thing, and b) because I have always been good looking.

^^^ I don’t ever try to brag, and if I do it’s almost always about my amazing (see!) kids- certainly not something I was born with that doesn’t mean shit (other than you can get laid a good amount despite having social anxiety or whatever). I’m merely trying to paint a picture, as accurately/objectively as I can- cuz that’s what I do.

I got drunk once when I was like 7- it was on a rare trip with my dad somewhere. I got drunk again when I was in 7th grade. My friend’s older brother was a boss and he had all these high school girls in a jacuzzi drinking Coors Lights, so my friend and I basically said, “Fuck it, let’s go look at some boobies and try some beer.” I got drunk pretty regularly after that, which was no easy task- because I could drink A LOT.

A few times during high school I got in trouble for drinking. My basketball coach even came to my house to discuss the issue with my parents and me- there was even talk of expulsion… I didn’t get expelled, and I finished high school with a pretty decent resume overall. I got a few offers to play D-2 or D-3 hoops in college, but they were on the East Coast (where I had played the best ball of my life at some big time camp- likely because I couldn’t party while I was there). And I am nothing if not West Coast.

 

The College Years

I completed 3.5 years of college and then just stopped <– tendency to just quit on stuff right before I finish it is weird AF, and it has plagued me many times in my life. It’s one of my few tendencies/behaviors that I haven’t come up with at least a solid theory for yet. I’m leaning towards it just being a freakish fear of commitment, or just a super self-destructive act of defiance. Either way, I have to literally trick my brain to finish stuff (if this bio gets completed, I’ve successfully tricked myself into finishing it from this point on).

 

The Dropout

I worked every shitty job known to man after college. I worked a lot of them before/during college as well. I have crazy strong work ethic<– a mostly good consequence of my shitty early childhood I believe… I traveled the CA/AZ state fair circuit and drove and lived in a bunk truck for an entire year. I was a manager for some janky little company that looking back almost certainly wasn’t on the up and up lol. I learned WAY more on the road that year than I ever did in college.

Being alone on the road with no friends or family for a year is a real test. It forced me to work through/get over my social anxiety… It was fun meeting new people new girls (I naturally just trust girls so much more than guys) in the different towns we went to, and the adventure of it all was like watching an incredible year-long movie.

I left the theater a lot less shy and a lot more savvy and street smart. I was also depressed AF by the time I got home… All the money I had made on the road I basically lit on fire at off-track betting. I also bought a “bitchin’ Camaro” (that’s an old song from somewhere in the back of my mind) and spent my last 1k or so to have it painted black. IDK. Soon my Camaro stopped running and basically became its owner- pretty and badass, but also hopelessly stuck/out of commission.

One of my most loyal childhood friends (“Camo”) took me in one day (I was sleeping in a sleeping bag in my car). He had a tiny apartment that he only pretended to live in because his girlfriend’s father was super Catholic or something. I stayed there day and night and lived on the spare change he had laying around. I would just write songs using a tune in my head (my guitar was R.I.P. in the pawn shop), and I would walk to 7-11 once a day to pick up a 99 cent frozen pizza. There was an old TV in the apartment that got a few channels- very fuzzy though. I watched all the late night shows, laughed never, but usually found my way to sleep…

 

Eventually a fire ignited inside of me<— another tendency, one that kicks in whenever things are at their bleakest/there appears to be absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel for me- an unfailing (so far, fingers crossed) survival instinct that I love and is no doubt the reason I’m even here today spewing away in this bio for my blog as poker player/dad/writer/artist/aspiring businessman/etc, “DGAF”…

 

FTR- I do not think my story is special. I know everyone has had relatively (I fully believe in the Theory of Relativity when it comes to human experiences and emotions and all that) the same trials and tribulations. I’m just painting the picture of my specific trials and tribulations so readers can understand/feel my blog better (if they want to).

I do not feel sorry for myself, nor do I feel like I am any more awesome than anyone else (I do finally feel like I am awesome though). The ONLY thing I think I am that most aren’t is ENLIGHTENED. And my enlightenment only occurred very recently, after I hit another rock bottom- one much deeper than when I came off the road and my Camaro broke down, one much deeper than I ever could have imagined existed….

As I lay pinned down on the floor of the abyss, something made me rip open my chest, pull out my heart, un-stitch all my old wounds, and for the first time ever, study my own history… It took a while (and lots of stitching back up), but I believe I now understand pretty clearly how my specific genetics x environment x variance shaped me into the person I have always been. And because of this understanding/enlightenment–> I believe I now have the rare opportunity to actually exercise some free will and fade my “destiny” (which I don’t think is very pretty).

I also feel like I understand others much better. I realize they are almost always just products of their own specific genetics x environment x variance (same as I was until just a few months ago- 43 years into “this thing called life“). I realize they really have no choice but to be who they are (some are great already though- props to their parents AND their good fortune) unless they become enlightened themselves. And because of this, I’m coming dangerously close to not being able to be mad at anyone ever again…

“Everyone just does what they think is right.”

My dad said ^^^ actually. I don’t remember the exact context (I’m pretty sure we were talking about an athlete in the news who had just fucked up- sports has always been our go to topic during our rare visits/conversations), but for some reason that sentence has been bouncing around in my head for ~ 20 years now... Maybe because some things just ring true in our ears when we hear them, but we don’t know why until much later. Maybe because I immediately thought back to all the times I had fucked up- and I still can’t recall fucking up on purpose even once… Maybe because I sensed my dad was subconsciously trying to fade his own guilt for abandoning his kids when he was likely just too young and too weak (and too unenlightened) not to…

I forgive you, dad. I forgive you, mom. I forgive you, brother. It’s cool, I get it. None of you really had a choice… Just please don’t try to deny me my enlightenment/a chance at a much better 2nd half of my life by pretending/arguing that what happened, didn’t. Thank you.

Note: I’ve basically been substituting “enlightenment” for “total self-awareness”. It’s that big of a deal imo, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE LOTS OF REPRESSED MEMORIES.

Pro tip: if you are going to take a torch and trek into that dark and deep cave that is all your repressed memories from a fucked up childhood, know that the hike is going to be extremely miserable both ways. I suggest bringing someone along with you that can really hike, a professional hiker- not a loved one. You are going to cry (yup) and get angry and realize that so much of what you always believed about yourself/others/the world is a facade. You are going to get lonelier than you have ever been before, distracted and confused as all hell, and you are literally going to feel great weight and burning in your chest. You will think you aren’t ready for it/that you can’t handle it, but you are/you can. Just do it with a professional. You do not want to weigh on loved ones (especially if they weren’t the ones that fucked you up)- even if they promise you they can handle it.

 

The Hustler

Anywho (never used that word before, but this seems like the right time lol), I started doing EVERYTHING I could to generate some income (there is always stuff you can do- you just have to put all ego aside and think long-term/be patient) so I could get my Camaro (and me) running again. I washed dishes at a restaurant, did manual labor at a construction site, worked customer service at a bowling alley, etc.

Soon I had enough money to get my car fixed and move into an apartment with another old friend an actual roommate!

Companionship, I now realize, is EVERYTHING…

I got a food delivery/catering job at a company that would later get bought out by Grub Hub, and I made some pretty decent cash zipping around in “Midnight Run” (that’s what I named her after I painted her black). I also got back into poker…

I was always a poker player. I played as a kid, I played in high school when I wasn’t playing basketball or partying, and I played around the clock in college. I was born to play poker. I am smart- but I look like an idiot. I can act/lie (about trivial stuff) and mind-trick seamlessly- and I can detect all that stuff from others extremely well. I’m competitive/resilient as hell (absolutely necessary to make it in poker), and the ONE subject I MURDERED growing up was Math.

(Obv I majored in English in college)

I delivered food in the day and played poker by night. I never saved any money, but I had plenty to live a very chill, fun and simple life…

Note: I could likely never go back to a minimalistic lifestyle- mainly because I have kids now and it’s been too long and I’ve developed this ridiculously strong purpose to try to make the world a better place, but I have incredible respect and admiration for those who just live that way forever. It’s so level 3 imo to say “Nah, I’m good not having all that stuff and all the stress that comes with it. I just wanna chill.”

Eventually I got my dream girl. She had been my dream girl from across town my whole life- despite the fact that I didn’t even know her. I just new she was a goddam super model with a smile that made me forget EVERYTHING. She agreed to marry me and it was time to get my shit together.

 

I did something crazy that changed me forever. I joined the fucking rat race. It was my version of “hustling”. I basically just forced my way into operations/an official hire one day at my delivery job (the company that would later get bought out by Grub Hub), and I worked my way up from entry-level dispatcher to Regional Manager of San Diego and Vegas within 3 years. I had natural leadership skills (is that the same thing as being alpha?) and some self-taught management skills from my year on the road, but I really didn’t know shyt about business…

The company I worked for was a mess when I got hired. The culture was one of apathy and entitlement, and the operations were very sloppy. Luckily for me, they did something insanely smart right after I ascended to General Manager (which happened very quickly because the GM before me got caught taking company money to the casino everyday after work). They found a proven business consultant and paid him heaps (I can only assume) to develop all of us that were running the company. This guy- his name was Lee (his company is called MAP– I just Googled it), really made me what I am today. I listened to him INTENTLY whenever he was around. Everything he said just made sense. He was smart AF and he called bullshit on me and everyone else every time we started to spew it. I fucking loved Lee.

I quickly became a workaholic-sponge-soldier. I went from a procrastinator (on boring tasks) who would smooth-talk rationalize everything that didn’t get done (like SO MANY people I know do) to someone who believed in absolute “Accountability“…

Basically, you get something done or you don’t. No one is perfect and things happen, but don’t make things worse when you don’t get something done by spewing a bunch of nonsense that no one wants to hear. Just fix it. 

I also quickly saw the light that is “Customer Focus“…

Customer loyalty is invaluable. All good businesses obsess over their actual customers’ actual wants/needs. They basically work backwards from the point of an ideal customer experience.

I also learned about the importance of “Focus“…

Not only is it easily most efficient to work on one thing at a time/finish one task before you start another, but everything you do at work should be aligned with your company’s mission and vision.

I also learned the real meaning of “Teamwork“…

Pick up others when they get knocked down and encourage them to do great things, but mostly just do your own job well so you don’t let down the team.

And lastly–I have always been incapable of doing others dirty so this wasn’t that ground-breaking for me, but it will definitely be a value of any company I ever start–I learned the importance of having a culture of “Integrity“…

A business can just never come close to reaching its potential without having the utmost integrity. Eventually small cracks become big ones. And people really want to do business with people they can trust- above all else.

And oh yeah (I guess I lied about “lastly”- so much for having integrity :p), the most important thing Lee/MAP brought to our company actually–> you have to measure/track EVERYTHING, and then set monthly goals for your specific “Vital Factors” (the measurements you can affect most in your position that are most important to the company’s success)…

And if you don’t hit your goals, you’d better present some damn good action steps and hit them next month- or go work somewhere else basically.

(not sure why I put all ^^^ in my bio lol, my bad, I can really spew)

I was quickly transformed into a sharp manager/businessman. I excelled in creating operational systems and running meetings (despite being shy growing up, I always knew how to talk to a team). I loved how efficient the company was becoming, and I especially loved the Vital Factors–> they turned work into a competition.

Our company took off exponentially and I was a big part of the growth. I was the outside the box/objective thinker who turned everything into a math problem- and then did the math. I always stood my ground in meetings and guided the company away from wasted energy/bad habits and directly towards what was most logical/+EV. Occasionally I would have to call bullshit on an owner of the company during a meeting- if he was being overly fishy (in a poker sense) about something and it was going to slow us down too much. I would always look for Lee out of the corner of my eye when I did this, and I could usually spot him shifted back in his chair, smiling ever so slightly- like a proud coach…

The Executive Team loved my fire and my strategic mind. They sent me to amazing and expensive seminars run by some of the biggest and best business leaders in the world (i.e. I would spend 3 days in Portland learning from IBM bosses or whatever). They didn’t promote me to the Executive Team though (which I strongly felt they should have) and they didn’t pay me or my people nearly as much as I thought they should have (I had access to all the financials/the entire company’s payroll- I could see what was up)…

 

The combination of me being a poker player/degen at heart (despite now shaving and dressing business casual and drinking coffee and reading business books and running Vital Factor meetings and all that) and No Limit Hold ‘Em suddenly being hotter than a 2-peckered goat (Hi Grif)–> I was grinding poker at casinos (or online) whenever I wasn’t working.

The very moment No Limit hit (true story: I started the very first NLHE game at my local casino in late ’03), I started playing ~ 30 hours/week. And I did this for almost 5 years straight, the first 2 of which I delivered food in the day before hitting the casino at night, and the last 3 of which I did so while becoming a corporate man in the day before finding the nearest phone booth at quitting time…

I never slept.

Eventually I had to choose, work for The Man- underpaid but over-developed, or work for myself- overpaid (I was KILLING it) but with no security/benefits/guarantees…

 

I was the first full-time No Limit Hold ‘Em poker pro at my local casino (did you think I was going to go the safe route?). I officially traded my Regional Manager get-up and “Good to Great” for a comfy poker uniform and “Theory of Poker” at the beginning of ’08 (no need for phone booths anymore, I just left the house with a cape on). I immediately upped my play to ~ 50 hours/week, and it was easy to maintain that workload with no other job to worry about. At least it was easy until I started having kids…

The energy it takes to be a professional poker player is main reason it doesn’t work as a career. When you dive in, you don’t realize how hard it will be to maintain the intense focus you currently have over the course of decades, nor do you consider that someday you are likely going to want to live a much fuller life than the one you are currently living (never mind that your monthly nut might grow from 2k to 15k without you really even realizing it!).

Officially a “poker professional”, I played a pretty strict 9-7, M-F at my local casino. I would wake up, do a workout on my elliptical machine while watching CNN or whatever, shower, drive to the casino, eat a healthy breakfast, and just grind until quitting time. Then I would go home, review the interesting hands I had played that day, lurk Two Plus Two Poker Forums for strategy, have a couple beers in my jacuzzi, and sleep…

After about a year of slaughtering my local (and juicy AF) casino- and being pretty much the only No Limit professional there (can you imagine?), the recreational players started to get sick of me- I was polite as hell, humble and friendly, but I didn’t really “get it” yet. I had forgotten to apply all my Lee knowledge to my new profession.

Things got so bad that one of the recs- an ex-con with a temper, threatened to kill me one day (because I played too well/ran too well/won too much). He brought a Hell’s Angel in with him the next day to kind of stalk me while I was playing. I quickly called two of my boys (I know people too, bitch!) who made the ex-con and his muscle leave the premises pretty quickly… Still, it was time for me to move on. It was time for me to “fish in a bigger pond” as one of the nicer recs put it. It was also time for me to apply my Lee knowledge to poker…

 

“DGAF”…

I moved to Vegas, ditched my poker pro uniform (hat, backpack, earphones, etc), started drinking at the table (nothing sets people at ease/makes them think you can’t possibly be a pro more than when you drink at the table), turned my social dial to 10 (and then pulled off the knob and threw it in the fucking trash), and I became “DGAF”- the booming poker business that had its customers happy to spend their hard earned money– over and over and over again…

 

I had been lurking Two Plus Two Poker Forums for a while with no screen name, but eventually searching for stuff drove me crazy- so I signed up for an account (you don’t have to type in a blurry image that I can never make out when you are logged in). On the very morning I did this, I was also reaching out to my brother (the one that beat the shit out of me when I was young) via text and offering him a lot of options for meeting up. I put a lot of thought/effort into my text (reaching out was a big step for me), and his reply was simply/hilariously… “DGAF”…

 

I didn’t start contributing to the Two Plus Two community for a while (I just used my login to search for stuff), but eventually I started posting in strategy threads here and there- and later I started creating my own strategy threads. I got flamed to death at first for my rogue, customer first/always have integrity/sacrifice a little short-term EV in exchange for massive long-term EV/”play super unbalanced because no one can ever get a sample on you and people just have certain tendencies they can’t break” approach to live poker, but eventually it got to a point where everyone would pretty much just write “+1” to all my posts…

The more turnover there was in the forums/the big games (poker is a fast revolving door for most), and the more I continued to fade it- because I was doing things differently and people were basically (happily) giving me their money, the more respect I got (online and irl).

Eventually common sense kicked in and I realized I was being a real MORAN by spewing poker strat online/to anyone that wasn’t a close friend… Poker is a brutally slow, zero-sum game that depends on a TON of edge being available. Wtf was I doing making people better at it?

Also, I was suddenly ready for a new challenge in life (I can turn the page FAST- a blessing and a curse of a defense mechanism) after running bad for a year and only making teacher money, as opposed to my normal doctor money (lol at that entitlement!). That and the increasingly nitty, depressing, socially awkward, delusional AF (wrt variance mainly) environment was really starting to wear on me…

So I decided to give something back to the Two Plus Two community (I wasn’t the only idiot that spewed strat to the masses!) and then be done on there. I would use the significant (insane?) amount of time I was spending lurking/posting in threads everyday to work on my exit strategy from poker- and then I’d be gone from the game altogether a few months later…

On the morning of 2-15-2012, I posted the original post (OP) for this:

2k- a poker story (wtmfl;dr obv)

I figured I’d answer some questions for a few days (this is called being “in the well” on 2p2- similar to an AMA on reddit I believe), and then my thread/my story/”DGAF” would simply disappear into the archives of 2p2.

That was nearly 6 years ago…

 

As many strippers, bartenders, waiters, etc can probably attest to, it’s really hard to leave “easy money” jobs, no matter the toll they are taking on you. Especially when your monthly nut (see also “spending habits”) is through the roof. Luckily for me (this is pretty glass is half full to call this lucky lol, but whatever, I’m trying to be more positive these days), I eventually ran SO FUCKING TERRIBLE FOR SO FUCKING LONG that it put me in a gigantic financial hole and sent me to that aforementioned pre-enlightenment rock bottom/the very floor of the abyss (which I was probably destined to get to at some point anyways). As I started to put my life back together (after re-stitching all those old wounds), I had no choice but to seek other income/work- for more than just financial reasons…

FTR, it’s not that I lost a lot- I didn’t (this year is going to go down to the buzzer it looks like, but I have never had a losing year in my life- not even close). It’s just that I stopped earning doctor money- and I had long been living “paycheck to paycheck” doing that…

My “2k thread” also lived on longer than I anticipated. My 2k thread is STILL living on longer than I anticipated! Almost 6 years, 600k views and 4k replies later- I’m STILL in the well! What was supposed to be a little farewell gift to the Two Plus Two community evolved into a seemingly endless tale of human nature, variance, and a bunch of other unsolved mysteries… Eventually the thread got very dark- but then something beautiful happened. Out of my unintentional blog/place to vent/how to win AND be good for the game handbook grew a community- a real one, where people are COMMUNAL (not only in the thread but also in private messages- and now, increasingly so, in real life too)…

To this day, 2k- a poker story (wtmfl;dr obv) is a popular online hangout for poker pros and enthusiasts, a place where (mostly anonymous) folks from all across the globe go to exchange ideas, for assistance (not fundamental poker strategy though- they know better than that by now), for compassion, etc. And it’s still right where it was the day I posted it- right at the very top of the Med-High Full Ring sub-forum on twoplustwo.com…

 

Never once in my life did I ever even consider getting paid for my writing (I didn’t even think I was a good writer until very recently). Nor did I ever even want to get paid for it- poker was my job, writing was my my outlet.

But now, severely in debt, unable to book a win in the easiest of games/with the utmost equity when the money goes in for some crazy reason (obv there is no reason- it just really feels like there is one sometimes), and more than desperate to pay people back and resurface financially, spiritually, etc–> I’m good with it…

On second thought, I’m more than good with it. I’m kind of all about it actually–> people shipping me a few bucks here and there if my 2k thread and/or blog posts have helped or entertained them significantly, paying 20 bucks for my book if they want to keep reading it after sampling it for free, etc… Especially now thatreciprocation” has replaced “variance” (thank God) as my #1 obsession…

 

There are many other details about my life I’d rather not share- yet (many dark and crazy, a few beautiful and light). And for sure I have said enough for now (I’m basically boring myself to tears at this point- proud of myself for finishing though).

Thanks for reading,

– DGAF

11-25-2017

 

***I greatly value my privacy/anonymity… If you know who I am irl, please keep it to yourself. If you don’t know who I am irl and want to find out for some reason, please refrain. Thank you.

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