As I’m sitting in 22D on an American Airlines plane to Vegas and trippin’ about my trip (American Airlines, AA, pocket Aces)…I haven’t even landed, shit, I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in the past week because my thoughts are a collection of scenarios playing in this colossal, first-time-ever, lowest-buy-in-in-the-history of the World Series of Poker event called The Colossus!
The idea of being in Vegas has the hype man in my Gemini mind pumped (it’s Vegas, I brought him along because I knew he’d have a great time). He’s got his mic in hand, but my thoughts are his stage and they’re driving him crazy, go figure. How does a hype man hype up an already hyped up brain (say that 3 times fast)? He breaks, submits to the white noise and gives me a piece of his mind about what’s on mine…
Actually, I ran into Flavor Flav twice — once on a Southwest Airlines flight to Vegas and the second time at a craps table at Mandalay Bay a few years back. He ran up to me and asked me to be his shooter, but I digress…that’s a whole ‘nother blog. To quiet the voices in my head and shut down the insane Flavor Flav in my membrane I pick up a magazine, the American Way, a fine piece of reading.
On past flights American Way had soothed my soul, like my calm meditation station on Pandora. It distracted me from the awful side effects of flying — bad turbulence and gassy passengers — with its scintillating articles about cities I’d never visited. But the clincher was in their eye-candied celebrity covers. The magazine always invited me in with a movie star on the rise…his/her stance just so donning a smile that oozed confidence. Fuck “Hello,” they had me at… “Forget about that choppy air and open me!!”
On this flight to my first ever World Series of Poker, I pick up this particular May monthly due to a different case of bad air – someone near me was having a World Series of Gas. I look at the cover and Chris Evans, the dude who plays Captain America, has got his head cocked looking at me conspiratorially…he knows this.
As I flick through the pages of stories about Salted Crack Caramel ice cream in Brooklyn, Yoga stops in LA, and technology for long duration stays in outer space, I find Captain America. I start to read through his interview and amongst the haystack of “blah-blah-blah,” I find a needle of a line — a quote that will become the inspiration and practice of my virgin voyage to the WSOP:
“…if you can kind of stay present and know that that’s all that you have in life – life is just a series of nows – if you can kind of surrender to that, you can never lose.”
OK, minus the “kind of’s” it’s a great quote. I mean really, didn’t that throw you off? Because it threw me off, kind of…and made me think. It made me think about why I love poker so much. Because it’s a game where you have to be present, be there now. If you’re not, you miss information, and you loose. It’s a series of now’s.
So my plan for the next 5 days is to stay present and live in the now’s. Whether I’m playing poker or just walking to my gratis shuttle bus, I’m going to practice this mantra, and I’ll never lose. So thanks, Captain America, for kind of reminding me about that.
American Way Magazine, May issue