By Mike Wolf
Are you living life to its full potential? Are you living every day as if it’s your last? Take five seconds to think about the question and answer honestly. No, huh? That’s what I thought.
Here’s my story for inspiration. Use me; go ahead. I give you permission.
After taking a brutal $1,800 loss in a $2-$5 session in Atlantic City I decided to embark on an adventure. I went home to New York and saw it was snowing, so I chose to head south. Maximum buy-in legislation had recently been lifted from Florida poker rooms so my destiny was predetermined from the get-go. I packed my clothes and $1,000 in my car and started driving. First stop, somewhat ironically, was the Taj Mahal in A.C. I mean, hey, it was New Year’s Eve!
I walked into the casino restroom wearing sweats and a hat, got changed, brushed my teeth and walked out in a gray blazer with a red tie, dress shoes and black hair slicked back. I used all of my comp dollars to eat seafood risotto and flourless chocolate cake at Il Mulino. I bumped into a local pro named Mike and ended up cutting the line at Casbar, being escorted to a VIP section with 10 different bottles of liquor for my choosing. Someone escorted us through a back elevator so we didn’t have to pay the $125 cover charge. At midnight someone handed us bottles of champagne and at that very moment I decided I wanted to be something more.
I woke up the next day in my car with $3 in my pocket after walking into the casino the night before with $10.
A writer/poker player friend of mine named Alec happened to be in Atlanta at the same time for a wedding. I drove 10-plus hours straight to get there and slept in a hostel in Atlanta for $20. We wandered a bit, grabbed lunch and talked about my idea: a School of Adventure, where students would go to learn about life. I know, total game-changer. I’m talking a complete worldwide paradigm shift on education. We have a drink at The W hotel and I drop him off at the airport for a flight to Amsterdam.
I drove another 10-plus hours to Miami, windows down, shirtless, all the while smiling in the knowledge it’s snowing back in New York. I slept on South Beach all day and headed to the Hard Rock’s Paradise Poker Room in Hollywood. The games were as juicy as I’ve heard. I won $1,080 playing $1-$2 no-limit hold’em in six hours. The game had a $200-max buy-in. I lost a $400 pot with A-A to K-J offsuit and still managed to walk away with $1,000-plus profit. I slept in my car in the parking lot. By the way, I chose to document my adventure daily on the popular poker forum site twoplustwo.com.
My friend Eric, who’s a professional dancer, decided he needed a vacation so he flew to Miami to hang with me. We booked a room on Ocean Drive and partied at every club in South Beach for the next six days, spending the $1K profit. After he left I grinded the $1-$2 tables at night and slept on the beach during the day for eight days, winning another $900.
My girlfriend flew in from New York with her friends for a vacation, but then decided to ditch her flight home and drive to Key West with me, living out of my car for six days. We smoked cigars and snorkeled 90 miles off the coast of Cuba. Eventually she had to fly home, so I hit the tables by myself for two days.
A Canadian Internet pro, Andy Smith, was inspired by my thread on 2p2 and bought a one-way ticket from Toronto to come down and hang out with me. I never met him before.
My friend Franny flew in from New York and surprised me. I won another $650 at $2-$5 the first night and then we drove to Tampa from midnight until 6 a.m. Over the next week I won another $1,000, visited a shooting range and fired a gun for the first time in my life, ate alligator, got a massage, relaxed in a hot tub and published my first strategy article here in Ante Up.
As I write this article I’m planning a six-month roadtrip throughout Canada, California and, ultimately, Vegas for the World Series of Poker. But first I had to join the Ante Up Brass in March for their poker cruise to Jamaica. It was blast, and I managed to increase my bankroll another $2K at the tables. I’m living the dream and making things happen. Just remember why you play poker. It’s to enjoy the freedom to explore and experience life. All you have to do is go for it; everything will fall into place.
— Mike Wolf is a 22-year-old professional poker player who goes by the name Insanepoker7 on the 2p2 forums. Email him at MichaelJWolf33@gmail.com.