Excited about my new challenge

teampokerstarsonlinelogo.PNGI don't know where to begin, so first the news: I am now a member of Team PokerStars Online. That means the site that has been my main base of operations for online poker since 2004 is now the site that I play on exclusively and will officially represent in print and person. I could not be more thrilled.

For the past two years, PokerStars has invited all Supernova VIPs (players who attain a certain level through Stars' VIP loyalty program) to apply and become members of Team Online. 2010 was my first year to earn Supernova, so I applied.

My audience might recall that things weren't looking so rosy for me around Thanksgiving. My poker career had bottomed out, and I was faced with the reality of having to find other work, while simultaneously realizing that a) I wasn't really qualified for any other profession and b) I actually liked the work I had been doing for six years--playing poker tournaments.

Then, a sequence of fortuitous events occurred: I made the final table of the Sunday Million for some much-needed cash, and then I got The Call. I felt like Robert Evans poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel, getting "discovered" by Norma Shearer to play Irving Thalberg in The Man of a Thousand Faces. Except my Norma Shearer was a PokerStars VIP representative calling me from the UK to discuss a variety of issues related to my poker career, past, present and future.

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The most exciting aspect of all of this for me is the opportunity to improve my personal blog and try to reach out to a wider audience. Throughout all my ups and downs in poker, the sort of thing that has meant the most to me by far is when someone like Peter Rho, sitting on my left in a Bellagio tournament, encourages me to write more, saying: "You never know who's reading." Or when I get a tap on the shoulder at the Rio from some stranger letting me know that he likes the blog.

I have always attempted to make the poker narrative translatable to a non-poker readership, because I want my friends in New York to read a post and get something out of the story despite being unfamiliar with half of the terminology. Now, I also want to broaden my scope to reach out to young, aspiring pros and recreational players alike.

In a way, looking back at a six-plus year career with "nothing to show for it" is demoralizing, but I am now blessed with the possibility to rebuild from scratch and maybe provide some guidance for avoiding the pitfalls that snared me along the way.

And to my friends and family and my ex-girlfriend, who stood by me through struggle and triumph alike, I can't even begin to express my gratitude. In the words of the Zombies, "This will be our year, took a long time to come."

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