Quasi Birthday Blog

True to my word, I haven’t written a blog entry in over 4.5 months. That’s not because a lack of interesting things happening in my life but more so because I don’t think the readers here care. As I stated back in December. But, here’s a quick update on the usual things that I’ve been posting about:

  • hookgrip: It’s going really well.  I’m closing in on 17,000 facebook likes on the hookgrip page.  I passed 10,000 about five months ago so I’m still adding fans at a decent clip.  More and more people are telling me how much they love what I’m doing and so on.  I had some good trips to Albania (early April for Europeans) and Peru (early May for Junior Worlds) and I got some really good pics at both.  I’m excited about the project.
  • My lifting has been on-and-off in terms of how well it’s going.  I go through streaks where it goes well and then I get hit with some sort of setback.  For instance, my trips to Albania and Peru didn’t really help.  Plus I got really sick in Peru and lost 13lbs in 8 days (I’m better now and thankfully I managed to gain the weight back without too much trouble).  I recently managed to get my squat back up into the 360-370 range (and I did a triple with 335 and a double with 347) which is about the best I’ve ever done.  But I did that with a back strain which just isn’t getting better.  It’s been about two months now that I’ve been dealing with it and I’m getting annoyed.  I am able to train through it but every day I am dealing with a cramp/strain in my lower right back.  Nothing I’ve done to it has made it significantly better or worse.  And it doesn’t hurt more or less when lifting so that’s why I’ve trained through it in the hopes that it would resolve.  It hasn’t so I’m going to take the option of last resort which is resting it (the reason that I don’t rest things at the first sign of pain is because most aches/pains resolve themselves in a week or two and if I stopped lifting anytime something hurt, I would lift about twice a month).  I’m also going to try to go see a sports med doctor.

So, outside of hookgrip and lifting, I’ve just been doing the usual stuff.  About two weeks ago I was a groomsman in Jeff Williams’ (yellowsub86 for the poker crowd) wedding.  I haven’t seen any professional wedding pics yet so I don’t have one to post but I assume those will show up at some point.  But it was a great time and I really enjoyed myself.  I then spent a week in the south (partly in Atlanta, partly in Charlotte) and I attended another wedding the following weekend on St Simon’s Island in southeast Georgia.  The second wedding was a family wedding and it was very enjoyable as well.

While I was in Charlotte, I visited with some high-profile USA weightlifters and I was asked to be on a few podcasts.  They’re kind of about weightlifting but here are the links.  First, I was on Weightlifting Scoop which was about 40 minutes and it was more of an interview.  Second, I was on Weightlifting Talk which was a lot longer (100 minutes) and I am only involved for parts of it and it wasn’t really an interview.  It was fun too though.  I don’t really think they’ll be all that interesting for most of you but I suppose I should link them.

On a more relevant note for the poker crowd, I never wrote a blog post about a very exciting subject: it is possible to play online poker legally in the United States now.  Of course, you have to be in Nevada, you need a cell phone (not exactly a big deal, just need to mention it), you need to have Windows, traffic isn’t exactly huge yet, etc.  But, you can play.  And that’s huge.  I don’t think I would have predicted that you’d be able to play online poker legally in the US about two years after black friday.  As far as government decision speed, that’s quite fast in my opinion.  I was expecting more like four to five years.  And I still think it’ll be several more years before we see it more widespread with good player pooling and big exciting tournaments.  But maybe I will be proven wrong.  Either way, I think it’s awesome that Ultimate Poker (would not be my first choice of name but I can see why they did it as they’re owned by the UFC owners) is online and dealing hands.  Awesome start.

What’s interesting about this is where it puts me as far as my career.  I wrote a blog post upon exiting the poker world professionally a little less than two years ago and I stated that it was virtually certain that I would not return to poker until it was licensed and regulated.  Well, now it is.  There are a couple of options.

First, I can make poker sites that’ll rank highly for certain keywords.    I own some good domains for this such as legaluspoker.com and various others which I think would do well.  There are some issues.  First, I’m not sure it’s going to be possible to be an affiliate easily which will limit monetization.  In other countries, such as France, affiliates are able to do well setting up sites like pokerargentreel.fr.  But it might not be the same in the US.  Some sites, like Bluff, are doing their part to get some good traffic around the legal keywords (for instance, they’ve set up this page about the legality of poker, which is good linkbait) but overall I still think I could do well with a site re traffic.  Second, dealing with poker sites and selling ads is quite annoying.  So while I think I could get a lot of good traffic, I am not super into the idea at this time.

Second, I could go work for a poker site.  I think there are upsides and downsides to this and I have been approached about a few opportunities over the last year or so.  But nothing that I felt like I couldn’t turn down without regret.  Going to work in a corporate environment with a boss, meetings, dress codes, office politics, etc has its upsides and downsides, obviously.  Overall that aspect is most certainly a downside for me.  But if I managed to come across a position that fit my skills, would allow me to succeed and is something that I’m passionate about, I would definitely consider taking the spot.  So that’s an option.

And, third, I could just keep doing what I’m doing and not re-enter the poker world.  I would guess that, more likely than not, I will end up working in poker again.  I’m not sure how, where or doing what but I feel like there are a lot of really cool things that can be done in online poker as a licensed and regulated product.  I just am not sure when that’ll happen.

So, lastly, since I’m not likely to post again in a few days, I should mention that I’m about to turn 31.   At this point, it’s a tradition to write about my birthday.  I’ve written about my birthday at 27, 28, 29 and 30.  And now 31.  Last year I wrote that I wanted a 400lb back squat and a 500lb deadlift.  Unfortunately I didn’t hit either one.  And this back injury is standing in my way right now.  But I did hit a number of PRs in all lifts over the last year and I know that I am ready to hit both once I get healthy and I can get some solid training under my belt.  I think it’ll only take 2-3 months of healthy training to get there given the strength base that I’ve built for myself now.  And I will find a way to get healthy.  Overall though, I think birthdays are not exciting anymore when you’re in your 30s.  Getting older is obviously a part of life and worrying about it is a total waste of stress/effort/etc.

I’m just focused on delaying the effects of age as much as I can.  Thus far, I’m still feeling pretty damn good.  Back when I was in the 18-20ish range, I ate a ton.  People were always like “you know you can’t eat as much when you’re in your late 20s because blah blah metabolism blah blah.”  Well, that part is bullshit.  I dropped 18 lbs in a month from Jan 15th to Feb 15th and I didn’t do any unhealthy starvation stuff.  I retained 14-15lbs of the weight loss.  I’m the fittest, strongest and leanest (measured by BF%) I’ve ever been and I am hardly dedicated to my diet (I do avoid gluten because of the joint inflammation that I get from it).  So given that the whole metabolism in the 20s thing is bullshit, I’m just kinda curious about which age-related effects are going to hit me and which won’t.  Well, not that they won’t, but I guess I mean when they will hit.  For now, I’ll just keep working on getting older one day at a time.  It is much better than the alternative.

9 thoughts on “Quasi Birthday Blog

  1. Jeff

    You are a good writer. I wish you would write more regularly. Living in a world without a boss, dress code, office politics is something most of us are not familiar with.

  2. Christopher

    I’ve been reading your blog since the pokerstars crew days and I do still care to read it. I started because of an interest in online poker but that peaked for me in 2008 when I qualified for EPT London main event. I haven’t played online in months and don’t care to. But your other stuff interests me because it’s a mix. I even booked a backroads holiday for my family last summer because of your blog. We were the only Europeans on that trip! I would never have known about backroads without your blog. So please keep blogging.

  3. Ben

    I’ve followed you since the Pokerstars Crew days as well. Your maturation has been fun to follow. I started Crossfit and OL about 5 years ago so I was pleased to see you develop Hookgrip. You have a knack for writing so I hope you keep it up, even if it is only a few times a year.

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