Dealing with the big swings of life



By Matthew Gregoire
My articles always include a correlation between poker and real life. During 2013, I moved to Miami from Las Vegas. On the surface, it seemed like a wonderful decision. The weather is better, the tournament scene is fantastic and you can find some pretty good cash games.

Vegas always had been fun for me in short stints but living there long-term just didn’t satisfy me. The spot I chose to live in Florida is within a few hours of the Florida Keys, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, pretty much anywhere in the state I need to be is easy to accomplish with a couple of hours’ drive.

I found a perfect little studio where my expenses would be cheap and combined with a couple of casinos within five minutes it felt like I had ultimately made a great decision. Well, when all was said and done, it couldn’t have gone much worse.

My girlfriend got a job dealing at one of the casinos, so this was where I focused most of my play. Because of circumstances beyond her control, she lost that job and then it was a situation where I had to provide for both of us.
After this happened, I went on one of the worst downswings of my career. It was most likely a combination of stress, bad play and not running fantastic; it nearly ended up being disastrous. I compounded the issue by deciding maybe poker wasn’t for me anymore. I decided to try to invest in antique cars to turn a profit.

Being in horrible shape bankroll-wise and having limited experience in this new endeavor, obviously it didn’t go as planned. If you add the personal stress that weighed in on my relationship, things quickly went into a tailspin.

It was when I hit rock bottom that I realized things needed to change. I had been playing poker for a living far too long to turn away from the game that has kept me financially sound. At this time, I decided to brush myself off, change my approach and come out swinging.

I went back to playing a game that previously was lucrative for me and with my new mind-set started crushing it. My girlfriend, whom I taught to play this game, took some shots in it and had levels of success as well.

We quickly turned a bad situation into a good one. It will still take some rebuilding financially, but it will only be a matter of time before I am better than I ever was before. Sometimes it becomes difficult to shake off the effects of wild swings in life, but we must realize things don’t always go according to plan.

— Matthew Gregoire is a pro poker player living in Miami. You can email him at

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