Grinch no more

After busting not one, but two entries in the WPT Doyle Brunson Classic at Bellagio, poker was pretty much done for me in 2012. The next weekend, I was supposed to fly to Toronto for a Magic tournament and part of the reason I was excited to go was because I could play on PokerStars from Canada. I have a residence there, so I was ready to go up to my place, play the Magic tournament, and get some time in on PokerStars. However, at the last minute, I decided instead to stay home with my family once I realized how worn-out I was from all the travelling I'd done over the last couple of months. I also figured that if I did go up to Toronto, in a way I'd be incentivized to do badly in the Magic tournament because it would free up more time for me to play on PokerStars.


I decided to skip Toronto and stayed home to get ready for Christmas. It actually turned out to be a good move. My fiancé, Yvette and I had two weeks to plan everything out. We were also hosting both of our families for the holiday--my mom, Yvette's mom, Yvette's sister, and her sister's boyfriend were all coming, so we had a lot to do to get the house ready. It was also going to be our daughter Lili's first "real" Christmas. Although she had one last year, she was an infant, still drooling all over herself and didn't really understand what it was. Now she can walk and talk and was so excited about Santa Claus.

We prepped and shopped, bought a ton of gifts for Lili, and got all our errands taken care of. Then, on the Friday before Christmas, I got the fever. There was one last Magic tournament that weekend in Indianapolis and one of my best friends, Eric Froehlich, was going. Since Yvette's mom was arriving early and I knew they wanted to spend some time together, I got permission to go and booked a flight that would get me home that Monday, Christmas Eve.

I got on a plane to Indy. Although I didn't do well in the tournament and didn't even make the second day, I had so much fun just hanging out and playing side tournaments. Really, the whole point of traveling to Magic tournaments is to connect with friends you ordinarily wouldn't see. It's certainly not for money and glory, even though you'd like to do well. I play Magic tournaments because I enjoy the game, but mainly I do it to see friends I grew up with that live all over the world now. It really is a kind of a play on the name "The Gathering." Because of Magic, I get to spend time with friends from many different countries. We may live on opposite sides of the world, but I get to see them a few times a year at Magic tournaments. Even my friends who live in New York City that I wouldn't see very often because they're on the east coast, I get to see all the time thanks to Magic.

I came home on Christmas Eve and I was so excited because I wanted to put Lili to bed as early as possible so Yvette and I could set up all her toys. One of the bigger things we got her was her own table because she's at that age when she has friends over and wants to have tea parties. So we got her a little wooden table from Pottery Barn Kids with two chairs. We also got her a tea set, a tricycle, and a kids' tablet called the Leap Pad. Lili had actually been using my old iPad, and at not even two years old she is already a pretty proficient user. She knows how to unlock the screen, she knows how to find YouTube, and she even knows how to play videos she likes by looking at the pictures. However, we decided that an iPad was ultimately a little too advanced for her, not to mention the fact that there's no way to restrict content on YouTube. Her new tablet has lots of different games and a video camera, which she loves. She calls it her "Lili iPad."

When Lili woke up on Christmas morning and walked out to the tree, she saw all her gifts and just gasped "Oh my God!" Because there was so much stuff, we wanted to stagger the gift opening, and every few hours we let her open another gift so she wasn't overwhelmed. It was really just a wonderful day.

I've never really been too into Christmas. I've always been called a Grinch. I give a lot of gifts because I like to take care of everyone around me, but I never want gifts for myself. I hate Christmas carols and green and red everywhere, and I've never really been into celebrating. But having a daughter has totally changed that for me. Now I'm excited for her. This year, I was so excited I think I went a little overboard on the gifts! But watching Lili's face light up as she opened her presents, taking her to see Santa, singing songs with her (she loves "Frosty the Snowman")--all those things really made me appreciate Christmas. It's amazing that someone came into my life to give me back that Christmas Spirit.

I'm already excited for Lili's next Christmas, even though it's a long way off. Every year will only get better and better... until she starts asking whether or not Santa is real. I think I'll keep her in the dark as long as I can.

David Williams is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

David Williams
@PokerStars in PokerStars news