Pizza, Poker and Politics
In case we haven’t met before, let me fill you in on some personal details. First off, I eat entirely too much Pizza. Seriously, it’s gross. I’d say at least 4 times a week I’m eating pizza for one meal or another. Part of it is due to my schedule. Convenience food almost always trumps a home cooked meal. The other part is simply due to my great love of the triangle shaped, often greasy, but always delicious…pizza.
That being said, I really don’t have a favorite place to go. If my parents are ordering, they always go with Mark’s. I mostly split my time between Pontillo’s & Salvatore’s. Both offer some different takes on the crowd favorite. If it’s Salvatore’s, I’m getting their 2 slice special with a drink and a cookie. Pontillos, it’s Chicken Wing Pizza and the occasional Potato Cheddar Soup. Needless to say no matter how you slice it, I’m in.
The second thing you should know is that I love playing Poker. When in college, I began playing pretty regularly as I was just 15 minutes away from Turning Stone. It was enough to keep me living large in college for sure, but once my wife and I moved in together I soon realized I’d need a more steady income. A string of random jobs and a 13 month old later, I decided to jump back in the saddle.
This past weekend I went up to Turning Stone to play in their “March Madness” Main Event. The buy-in was $550. It’s a big chunk of money for me, or most anyone for that matter. I never thought much about buy-ins before our son came along. Now my mind immediately equates real money with physical items like formula, diapers and baby clothes.
As I played the tournament, which for me lasted over 18 hours, all I could think about is all the things I could have bought instead of playing cards. When it got to be midnight on Saturday, the field had narrowed down from 367 to just 41 people. The top 40 players would “make the money”. The next 30 minutes seemed to last an eternity. As I waited for the one last person to go out that stood between me and getting paid, I thought about how angry I’d be if it were me. “Congratulations everyone, you’re in the money” the tournament director announced. With a sigh of relief, I retreated to my hotel room and waited to continue the game in the morning.
I finished the tournament in 27th place, winning $980. Not fantastic, considering between the buy-in and 2 nights of hotel stays, I was just about even. As I drove home on Sunday, instead of being upset about not winning first place (it was $45K) I was proud of myself for taking a shot once again. I outlasted a field of hundreds of players, just like I knew I could. Sometimes a little faith in yourself is the best prize of all.
On a final note, you should know I follow politics, both local and national, very closely. Something about having a kid you know is going to inherit this place someday, makes you want to pay attention. However, watching the actual process makes you want to just ignore it. The bickering, finger-pointing and puffery is almost too much to take. But then I take a step back and look at the mess of a “political system” some other countries have.
Here in America, we know all too well, the role big business and the ultra wealthy play in our election cycle. Sure, they may hide behind Super PACS and anonymous donations, but most of us can see right through that. Now imagine a country where the same money and influence is in play, only there you get shot for disagreeing. Sure makes our mud-slinging and double-speak seem pretty calm, eh? Just one more reason I love this country, the good, the bad & the ugly.