I used this blog a long time ago to write about mental health, covering everything from OCD to Schizophrenia. The response I got was unbelievable and I genuinely believe that, with my frank and honest rhetoric on the matter, I may have touched one or two people. Something I've since realised is that while, yes, I was trying to reach out to people - I was mostly trying to correlate my thoughts on my own mental health issues. But, hey, it worked. Four years on and, if I could go back in time and do it all again, I would.
My need to want to help people has brought me to a stage in my life where I can do just that. Being self employed has allowed me the free time to volunteer or work for love where and when I can. But it's also brought back a few old dreams that have since stirred. The first is blogging. I get the itch every few months and, this time, I'm back with a vengeance. The second, is poker. And the third, I guess, is where the two meet.
Around the same time that I wrote my first blogs on The Huffington Post, I was cashing in my first online poker tournaments. In a week, I cashed in three tournaments, worth over $1000 each - I was 19. Thinking I'd hit the jackpot and was now a professional poker player, I partied, went on holiday, bought lots of rounds and went back to the online poker room I was using at the time when I ran out of cash.
Imagining myself as an obviously-brilliant, naturally-talented and well-read shark, I deposited another £30 and attempted to repeat my success.
Guess how that turned out?
I'd always wanted to be a professional player and, for the two weeks that my winnings lasted, I felt like one. I had a strange attraction to the life of grinders and studied their play. By this point, yes, I had read the books - and I knew how the book would have played any hand - but it still wasn't enough for me. Eventually, I ran out of money and went back to work, labouring. Fortunately, later that year I went off to study journalism and worked ever since.
So, now, it's time for me to return to the tables. Of course, I had a test week of grinding before this and (hurrah!) I turned a nice profit. For this week, I'll be choosing a poker room, which brings us on to making a selection. The forums I once frequented are no longer particularly helpful - a common failure on these mediums appears to be longevity - so I have no basis. Having previously played on both Sky and PokerStars, the latter is currently tied up in a points scandal that recently caused two 'boycotts', which leaves me with a decision to make.
I hope to use this blog to discuss some of the highs and lows of my poker trials, but I have some high-profile interviews lined up that I can't wait to get written. Hopefully over the next few days I'll have some hands to bring with me.