I got into the game of poker a long time ago, kind of grew up around gambling and games in general. I played Magic: The Gathering competitively for money and all that good stuff back in the day, and family had a home game since I was 13. As soon as I turned 18, I started playing online, back on Planet Poker in '99. I played at the local Indian casinos in California and started keeping records in 2000 and by the end of the summer of '03, I was out of a job, looking for whatever dumb job would hold me over 'til next season, and that's when poker blew up and I made enough money online that I just stopped looking for a job, and 11 years later, here I am.
The money from poker and the transiency of it, if you will, has always been a means to an end of freedom. The ability to spend summers outside, to do things that most working people can't do. That's been the whole point of the money. Like, money is just a tool. So, I mean, poker's a game that I've always loved and to be able to play that game for a profession, it's a blessing, so I'm proud of it.
I've always been a professional outdoorsman before I was a professional poker player. Back in '99 I started working in the outdoor industry with camps in the summer, got my whitewater rafting certification in 2002, I guided commercially '02, '03, '04, '05 and a bit of '06. Back then, World Series were in April, so I could come out here, play cash games, head out to the river and spend all summer outside. In '06 it started late July so again I spent early summer out on the river and then that was when poker was really booming, endorsement deals were kind of a big deal, I figured I'd give tournament poker a shot, came out, took second place in the first event I ever gave a go, figured I'd move to Vegas and give it a whack, but by the end of '08 after I had my first million dollar year, I was made and I had money but I was less happy than when I was broke and living in a tent.
So I needed to find balance and I found that balance out at the ranch in Colorado. Friends that I had guided with back in '03 were now owners of the ranch, and so guiding is just the art of taking people into the woods and taking them outside and giving them an experience that they wouldn't have otherwise, and it's really what my life revolves around. I would love to start some sort of business that does that, just being in the business of changing lives just by getting them in the woods.
So, ownership of the ranch changed, last summer was my last summer there. In May, I strolled into the rafting office two blocks away from my house, and said, "Hey, I want to guide!" I was wearing this tie-dyed T-shirt and all hippied out. And he's like, "How many miles you got?" and I'm like, "Uhhhh...," you know, trying to count up 10 years' worth of river miles and he said, "Good enough, be here at 8 AM," and they made me head guide two weeks later. So that's what I've been doing all summer and loving it. Can't wait to get back.
I've thought about that a lot, like what are the contributing factors that make me so relaxed, that make me so laid back, and I don't know how to quantify it. It just seems logical to me. There isn't any positive outcome from getting bent out of shape about things. All I can control are just the things I can control. So, I guess a bunch of years ago I just gave up giving a damn about the things that I can't do anything about, and so if I can't do anything about it, then there's no reason to fret over it, and just figure out something that I can do about it.
Absolutely, I mean it's Day 6, people are tired, we didn't get much sleep last night and there's only three of us in the field left that have been here before. So that combined with just taking the flow, it's just like the river, it's all about letting the flow take you where the flow's going to take you and if you fight against that then you're going to struggle and you're gonna get all worked up. So I can't do anything about the cards I get dealt, I can't do anything about what happens after I put the money in the pot, I can control everything in between, so that's what I focus on and the rest will be as it is.