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Daniel - Poker Journal

A Little Bit Rock Star

16 Mar 2005

I got to Toronto late last night and woke up at 8:30am this morning. Before the flight I stayed up the whole night, and miraculously my sleep schedule was fixed.

I had a pretty relaxing afternoon. Other than making some appointments over the next few days it was pretty uneventful. By 4:00pm though, a limo came to pick me up to take me downtown to the Fan590 studio.

By 6:00pm I was done and the limo was outside waiting for me. Now I didn’t order this limo. In a sense, it was forced down my throat and who was I to complain! The organizers of the International Poker Tour gave me access to the limo for my entire stay here in Toronto- free of charge.

I was scheduled to attend the IPT event at 8:00pm, so with some time to spare I thought I’d drop in on an old friend I hadn’t seen in at least six years. A Jamaican brethren of mine that I used to hang with as a teenager.

Needless to say, Tony and his mother were surprised to see me show up in a white stretch limo all by myself. We chatted for a while and then I invited Tony to join me for the rest of the evening. He had no plans so he decided to tag along.

My next stop was across town to the Paradise Banquet Hall where there were over 1000 people playing in a poker tournament for no money… and no prizes! It proved to me beyond the shadow of a doubt that poker isn’t a gambling game exclusively, it can be played for no money at all and still be quite enjoyable.

The tournament started at 7:00pm but I showed up at 8:00pm as they requested. When I got into the room the organizers announced my arrival and I was met with a standing O. That was pretty cool. Once I was done doing a few particulars for the organizers I had a chance to mingle with the participants. Rather quickly I was swarmed with autograph and picture requests. Every time I thought I’d have a chance to take a breath somebody else wanted a card signed or a picture taken. It didn’t surprise me obviously, I knew that was part of the deal before I got there.

Also showing up at the event were a few good buddies from Toronto. Guys you’ve probably never heard of, but guys that I’d be HAPPY to have on my poker team going up against the rest of the world. There are a ton of great poker minds in Toronto that haven’t entered into the arena of high stakes poker tournaments. That’s too bad, because I’m certain that they’d be very competitive.

Also meeting me there was an old friend from the 1st grade. A buddy of mine that used to spend at least one day a week with me in detention for fighting. Who were we fighting? Each other! We’d usually laugh it off by the end of the day, but be right back in detention a few days later. My nickname back the was "Lickel Ruff Head" or in english, "Little Rough Tough."

So at about 10:00pm it was time to hit the road and head back downtown to do The Score live at 11:10pm. The limo that started out as just Tony and I was now full of old friends from back in the day. It was totally full. While I got dropped off at Peter and King to “work” the others went over to Wayne Gretzky’s bar aptly named “Gretzky’s.”

I did a really fun and laid back interview answering both e-mails and phone calls. At 11:30pm I was done and the limo had returned to take me to Gretzky’s. I met with the gang there who were all giving me the needle, “Hey dude, aren’t you that guy from TV! I just saw you on TV, can you sign my butt?” Ha ha very funny guys.

We hung out at Gretzky’s for a while and I was home by about 2:00am. As I was approaching home a bizarre feeling came over me. It was great to see old friends. It was fun doing all of the shows and meeting some fans, but the whole time I felt strangely alone. I’m not sure I can explain exactly what I’m trying to say really, but while I was happy with the day I didn’t feel like myself. Actually you know what, I better stop right there before the forum gets flooded with posts about how I should take meds for depression!

Seriously though, as fulfilling as the day should have felt, something was clearly missing and I still can’t put my finger on it.