Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Final Table Part 3 - World Series of Poker Chronicles

after the world series, things got somewhat hectic. looking at your student account go from a couple hundred bucks to a couple million is kind of surreal imo. (wish i had screenshots). sharing the experience with people who helped me get there, strassa, ocho, ml4l, huskiez, msnl, mtt, dj sensei, fwf etc., was a great feeling.

my friend made a wikipedia page about me that almost got taken down because i wasn't really notable (i agree) but they kept it because i apparently was the youngest final tablist in history. (i'm sure hevad may beat me in that category by now).

i also shot a short interview with a new york news channel daily show (i believe it was nbc, not sure), and got featured in duke magazine and koream magazine (mag for korean americans). some of these interviews occurred when i was starting my first job for my new company.


i came from a korean household that is fairly conservative as my parents grew up during the korean war era. they were conditioned by very hard times in their childhood to believe that financial stability was very important, and wanted my sister and me to become working professionals, preferably in medicine or some area like that (my dad is currently a physician working at nyu). unfortunately, as generation yers, and as anamolies, my sister and i have resisted that strict path as much as possible (even without poker, i'd probably resist it).

my entire life was therefore geared towards trying to "make it" by studying and striving for that status and money. however i was the "failure" child, because i had not gotten into harvard, which had become almost the sole purpose of my being (probably only asians will understand this part), and had not gotten good internships or opportunities in college (despite having decent grades). it just seemed that my hard work was never good enough and that i was destined for "second best".

poker to me, was vindication. as sklansky says, there's no waiting around and all this other qualifying bs to see who gets paid more money, if you're better than the other player, you should see results. and having an intuitive sense (and intellectual curiosity) towards math, it was great learning about poker and how little people really understood about it. (i still think i don't fully understand it, jman's posts make me wonder how anyone can even think at nosebleed levels)

the tournament victory then, was a big sense of vindication from all the "failures" i've had during my life. it was a big **** you to all the haters (douchebags who were once berating me for every play were all of a sudden requesting friendship on facebook, promptly ignored), and a sense of yeah, this is what you mother ****ing passed up on, biatches. obviously, one tournament victory doesn't validate anything, but i couldn't help feeling that justice was finally served.

i didn't know exactly what to do after my score. i promised my parents that i wouldn't become professional. our family is a christian household, so my mother was especially adamant about me not becoming a professional gambler. (my friend huskiez found it funny how during the ppv interview phil gordon was like, "i know your parents disapproved of poker before, but they must be happy now, right?" and i promptly responded, "no, not really.") while i don't think gambling in and of itself is a sin, it can definitely be done with the wrong motivations (self-aggrandizement, greed, etc.), so i don't completely disagree with my mother's conservative stance.

so, out of respect for my parents, i started my job and i guess tried to start a normal, structured life. people always were like, wtf are you working for? i would respond pretty much with a lame, "because it's the sensible thing to do."

in hindsight, i should've taken some time off to reflect on what my options were, what deals i might've been able to get, what careers i could possibly pursue.

but i didn't and spent the next 1.5 years at the job that i left. while it wasn't the worst experience (i imagine banking would've made me want to quit earlier), it definitely made me more cynical and more jaded towards a "career life". i felt like i couldn't fully enjoy myself, even when i was on vacation for the WSOP, it felt like i was always on a schedule to have fun and never relaxed. i guess maybe that's why i wasn't thinking straight when i overbet bluffed into johnnybax's nut flush or let james van alsteen draw to his nut straight, but that's for another story.

i finally left my job around a month ago, more on that here:

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...d.php?t=161191

now that i've left, i feel like i can begin that journey that has been allowed by the serendipitous tournament. i feel like i'd be wasting my time if i did go the normal professional route, but fortunately, i have a good feeling about 2008. hopefully, this won't be my last final table trip report.