Darryll Fish: A Breakout Poker Star, Aspiring Master of Compassion

On paper, 2015 was the most successful on the live poker tournament front for Darryll Fish.

He won his first major title -- a World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC) gold ring -- and was runner-up at WPT Montreal.

All told he earned close to $800,000 in cashes in what was clearly a breakout year for the veteran pro.

But that's not why we tied Fish down for an interview. He's not only a great poker player but a beautiful human being.

Darryll Fish, Rare Character in Poker

He's one of those rare characters in the game who puts the needs of others before his own. There is a glow to him. A depth that creates a desire to hug him when you first meet him rather than shake his hand.

As part of an ongoing series for 2016 where we'll try to get to know some of the people who make poker tick on a more intimate level, we asked him a few rapid-fire questions.

Lee Davy: What do you want to do most right now and why?

Darryl Fish

Darryll Fish: To be present.

The world we live in has become so abundant with stimulus and things to be distracted by that it has become increasingly more difficult to experience fully whatever is happening in the now, without labeling each experience as good or bad but seeing it as all part of the unfolding of your reality.

I believe that being fully immersed in the experience of the present moment is the key to both appreciating and getting the most out of our lives.

LD: Describe your greatest life-forming experience?

DF: Taking pure MDMA for the first time. I was surrounded by close friends, and I felt more connected to others than I had ever felt in my life.

From then on I have lived with more empathy and compassion than before that experience.

LD: What part of your life requires the most patience?

DF: It might sound cliche but I'd have to say poker requires the most patience of any part of my life.

Darryl Fish

Sometimes you are required to simply not play a single hand for extended periods of time, and while it can be tempting to stray from what you know is correct play, it is vital to stay patient and not let boredom or impatience affect your decision-making process.

LD: What kind of cowardice do you despise the most and why?

DF: The type of cowardice I most despise is holding back from expressing your true self for fear of judgment from others. No matter what we do in life, there will always be those who judge us for it.

It's important to realize that this judgment has no tangible effect on us and as long as we are acting out of love and pure intention that we should never hold back.

LD: Whose thoughts would you most like to read and why?

DF: Anyone at the top of the corporate banking world, to have a greater understanding of why anyone would want to contribute to a paradigm that results in such drastic inequality.

LD: Who are you most open to and why?

DF: I share a similar degree of openness with a few different friends, not necessarily one in particular; each of whom I feel I can say anything to or do anything in front of without being judged.

They also have a valuable perspective to offer on varying matters of life.

Darryl Fish

LD: When have you felt the most uncomfortable being nude and why?

I went skinny dipping with some friends in Costa Rica this year. There were hundreds of strangers around and the first few moments were very uncomfortable.

But once the initial anxiety passed I realized that most people weren't even looking at us. And even if they were looking and judging, it would only affect me if I allowed it to do so.

It ended up being one of the most liberating experiences of my life.

LD: What would you change about your life and why?

DF: I would be more disciplined with my diet, which is something I am currently working on.

I strongly believe in the classic idiom 'you are what you eat' and I want to nourish my body in a way that is most optimal for my functionality while also being respectful of nature and compassionate for animals.

LD: If you could spend 10,000 hours mastering anything, what would it be and why?

DF: Compassion. To develop mastery of compassion would allow one to feel completely connected to everything in the universe, to have reverence for life and to empathize with all perspectives.

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