Inspirational stories behind the WSOP 2012 Main Event Final Table

The Last 9 Standing~

Sometimes it gets a little tiring to be constantly writing things that revolve around my life, so I decide to take some time off writing about myself and instead, share some inspirational stories that I found from the least expected source, poker. Being a casual poker player myself, I always enjoyed seeing players make those tough lay downs or insane well-timed bluffs. So you can imagine the enlightenment I found when I saw players with such diverse backgrounds, each have gone through a hard period in their lives and somehow with a bit of luck, made it to the pinnacle to all poker events that every poker player dreamed to be sitting, the Main Event Final Table. So here are 3 pplayers from the final 9 which I learnt a little from NOT about poker, but rather how to live your life.

It’s hard to find a balance between work and health, and most of the time, people put work over their own health as their main priority. Just a year ago, Michael Esposito was the typical American, overweight and a heavy smoker. As expected, he felt lethargic and somehow one day, he told himself that enough was enough, and decided that he wanted a change in his unhealthy lifestyle. He started to train up for one of the most physically-demanding activities out there: triathlons. There wasn’t any drastic change in his life, he just started training early in the morning before work and trained again after work. With this everyday routine of biking, swimming, running and going to the gym nearly everyday, Esposito dropped 35 pounds and felt like he just got a new body again. At many times when you are facing a problem, most of us would just whine and complain about it. There are 2 options: Either you feel miserable for yourself about it or you go do something to change it. In Esposito’s case, he knew he was living an unhealthy lifestyle and so he decided to go out and do something to change that lifestyle of his, and he never looked back. It’s difficult at the start and this period is the hardest since it’s the transition, and it’s even harder to put your thoughts into actions because sometimes, your mind and body tells you that you can’t do it. Here’s the thing, you CAN do it. It’s just a matter of effort and determination. Just remember in life, you always have 2 options: Leave things the way it is and feel all shitty about it, or do something to change it. It may be difficult at the start, but at the end it would be worth it.

The second guy whom caught my attention was the youngest player on the table, Jake Balsiger. He too has an interesting backstory behind his poker career, recovering from a horrendous crash accident while riding his bike in campus just 14 months ago. To have something that devastating happened to you at such a young age can kill you mentally. Jake cracked his skull, shattered his right arm, and had to drop out of the school semester to recover fully, both physically and mentally. As much as he wanted to recover ASAP, there was nothing much you could do and he took 9 months to get back to being the person he used to be. For him, it was a weird experience as it was like putting back the lost pieces of puzzle back into his life, and getting back his personality which moulded his new phase in life. A perfect quote to describe this incident would be this one from my all-time favourite guy, Randy Pausch.

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

Not everything in our life is under our control, so what do we do to the things that are out of your control? In my opinion, there are also 2 options:  You let the thing define you and control you instead, or you adapt to it and work with what you have. What makes life such a meaningful journey is that you are constantly learning, through the challenges you face and how you overcome them. It’s the tough times that helps put everything into perspective. Jake has learned to embrace all that life has to offered to him, and it’s that experience that would help him a lot heading into the biggest moment of his poker life. On the poker table, you can tell that Jake is just enjoying the moment, and you can’t help but love his smile. He didn’t let it go to the top of his head, and is deserving of the 3rd place finish he achieved at the Final Table among the table of sharks.

Lastly, we have our main event champion, Greg Merson, who proudly declared that his passion for poker is the reason that he is still alive. Referred to as a beast by Big One by One Drop winner Antonio Esfandiari, Greg dominated the table after gaining the chip lead and never looked back.  Being a straight-A student from sixth grade until high school, Greg suddenly started taking drugs and his life went on a free fall. When he didn’t have enough money to fuel his addiction, he turned to his hobby, poker, to pay for his drugs. By the second semester of university, Greg fell to a absurd 1.1 GPA with his health deteriorating. After getting clean through counseling sessions, Greg dropped out of college to start a professional poker career. After much success in poker with a 6-figure income, just last year, he relapsed and his life went for another free fall yet again. Like anyone facing any problem, Greg could count on 3 things: his family, his friends and his passion; poker. After almost a year, Greg detoxed himself got his life back together, got into yoga to relax himself from the stress of poker. And this is where he started his monster streak, picking up 2 bracelets as well as the 2012 Player of The Year award. It’s no surprise why he cried after winning those events. Greg went through a whole lot, overcoming his marijuana and cocaine addictions, and being able to sit on that final table challenging for the coveted bracelet, learning much from all the challenges he faced. Greg turned his life around literally and only at age 25, he still has a long road ahead for him, but one which has been paved for him…


And that’s a wrap for the WSOP 2012 Main Event Final Table~


The first brick wall of the final lap

Disclaimer: I literally typed this whole thing on my iPod touch during Wednesday’s assembly in the auditorium, with Loong Ge spying on me half the time. He said he liked the title, haha. Some of the content inside is probably dervied from the talk and I just typed it in as I hear the lecture.

Common Tests are coming in probably 40 days or so, and this is the start of the impending doom in 6 months that we will face. It’s seriously time to get serious and stress would be inevitable. So if not now, when? Of course, while dealing with work, there’s a need to balance work, health and fun. Keep calm in face of the lack of time for revision and follow a regime during the holidays. since I’m going to NZ during the first week, I will surely need to put it much more effort to make up for the first week loss. But that said, too much work is not good, I will still not be able to watch any of my Korean dramas during the holidays but that doesn’t mean that I need to stay in Starbucks over 12 hours straight and mug. Study smart, and take charge.

During the holidays, I’m left with 3 weeks instead of 4, so time is of the essence. To be honest, the only lessons I would go back to school for is Maths, and I’ll do my very best to secure that A for Maths (since there’s the only place I can get my A). Maybe even better, strive for the best get Top 20 in cohort (highly unlikely though LOL). The main thing for Economics and Chemistry is to better my results during this Promos. There’s this mental block there in my head that I suck at these 2 subjects and the CTs would be the best chance to break all of them. Especially for Chemistry, a subject which I barely pass in Junior High, and attaining single digit scores for lecture tests in Year 5. Sure, I passed all my lecture tests in Chemistry this year and proven to myself that I can do it, but for the CTs, I want to show myself that I can do it on a wide variety of topics and not just small lecture tests. There’s this one phrase that my Economics Tuition teacher told me when I had a little chat with him. “Don’t let your circumstances let you down”. Now he’s teaching me about philosophy as well haha. There’s no point whining about your situation, so I told myself to just live with it. Try and gather resources from others and with a WHOLE LOT of practice, I would be able to write with RIGOUR and slowly inch my way up. For Geography, I just need to practice more and remember my case studies. What I lack in Geography is the effort and practice since it’s only a H1 subject for me, so the first thing I need to do is change this mentality. In short, for this CTs, prove to yourself that you can EXCEL.

The last point to myslef is: DON’T SLACK!!! I don’t want a repeat of last year’s holidays where I basically burned myself out in the first week. Since I’m going to be alone this holidays, there would be less distractions around me, but the temptation of slacking would always be there. If the bed gets too inviting, go out and study and slowly get into the studying groove. And just make sure that I really put in 100% effort, and starting working really, really hard after New Zealand. Don’t be bothered about others, and live your life the awesome way you want it.

Ultimately, I just want to make sure that I am able to look myself at the mirror and proudly say “I did my best, no regrets”. Nothing else matters 😀

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish – Steve Jobs @ Stanford 2005

Although I’m not really a fan of Apple products, you gotta admit that Steve Jobs is one of the most amazing person in the world. His talk in Stanford was only 20 minutes long, but it has taught me a lot about life. The other talk which has inspired me a lot is probably Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture”.

I won’t go through the details of the talk, but more of the lessons that I learnt after listening to the talk. Steve Jobs to me is a perfect example of a zero-to-hero. Dropped out of college, created and built up a company of net worth $2 billion dollars, got kicked out of his own company, didn’t give up and came back and Steve Job’s current wealth is probably higher than most countries’ GDP. One thing that struck me hard is the fact that he got kicked out Apple. How do you get kicked out of your own company. You took years to go to the top, and in a flash, it’s all gone and you’re rock bottom again. However, Steve Jobs came back stronger than before, and maybe these incidents are blessings in disguise.

It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.

Nowadays, I’m getting affected by the small troubles in life, and we must realise that life never is a smooth journey. If it is, then what’s the point of it? You’re just stagnant there and unable to improve yourself. I always tell myself that you can only taste success after failure, and when you fail, you need to learn from it. I probably discussed about failure millions of time, and the most important thing is to pick yourself up after failure. And who knows? Failure can be the “one of the best things that ever happened”.

Another thing I learnt about, which Steve Jobs didn’t really cover much, but I really like, is about how you live your life. Our time is limited, so why waste it thinking about irrelevant stuff? Live your OWN life, do what you want and like to do. You only got a chance at life, so don’t limit yourself by boundaries. Live how you want to, and don’t be trapped by other’s thinking. I suppose other people’s opinions may bother you, but who cares? As long as you are happy, everything would be fine. Don’t sacrifice your own happiness for others, it’s not worth it. Sometimes, you just gotta trust that the future would be alright if you are living your life the right way. Here is one of the quotes from Randy Pausch:

It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.

The last one I learnt is achieving your dreams. Put your words into action is another principle I would always tell myself. You only get to live your life once, so spend it well. For Steve Jobs, he dropped out of college and never looked back. That is what I really admire, the quality where he had absolutely no regrets. In life, you need to do everything the best, so that there will be never any regrets. If you have something you really want, translate that into your actions and try your best and have no regrets. Don’t ever compare yourself to others because it’s your best, and that is what matters the most.

I felt like I’m typing a transcript of my own speech, haha. I will follow this up with a reflection of my Term 1 in JC2. Until then, stay hungry, stay foolish.

Doing your best

I have promos in 2 weeks and I’m writing this blog post. Excellent… Anyway I wanted to write this since this is kinda relevant for now, so here goes,

“Doing your best”, it means give your all, 100% dedication. Sounds easy, but easier said than done. We are often encouraged to do our best, and we’ll be fine. But are we really putting in 100%, ALL of your effort, making use of anything possible? Even when we do, sometimes our best isn’t good enough. Even when we pushed our limits, it doesn’t make the cut. There are 100 athlete out there trying to break Usian Bolt’s record 100m timing of 9.58s, but they can’t, because they reached their limit. So is your best good enough?

We learn that there is always something that it is impossible to achieve, something something is able to do, but not yourself. And when our best fall short of expectations, we slump and do even worse because we think that our best isn’t good enough, so why try? It’s a matter of pushing your own limits, because there is never a fixed 100%, it is how you push your boundaries. It’s about believing that you can do it, and putting your words into action. Having the right mentality is good, but if you think you are going to achieve it by dreaming about it, well have fun in your limbo.

3 years ago, I was at a low point of my life. I screwed up my life, I screwed up anything possible of what’s left with it. I had no limits, because I didn’t have something in mind. Thanks to the support of my faggy classmates, I managed to get back up. Even when I failed miserably before, if you put in effort, things will happen. When I got back my results of my EOY, I was happy even though I’m the last 25% of the cohort (<–LOL). I passed all my subjects, something I never achieved before. I know this is really noob compared to the other smartass people in my school, but I did it. I did something which I would not believe I would have done. With a positive mindset and a never-say-die attitude, nothing is impossible.

I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end. ~ Larry Bird

Fast forward to this year, if you asked me at the beginning of the year if I could play the drums, let alone be in a band, I would laugh at the thought. Thanks to Dillon, I managed to join Guitar even though I failed the audition. So here I am with 47 other guitarist, all supposedly better than me because they did one thing I couldn’t pass, pass that fucking audition. Dillon wanted to form a band, and I was the obvious choice for playing the drums since I had a little experience with the drums in CO. My first experience with a real drum set was awful, I played the drums like I was hitting the chinese drum, my foot was inactive as practically stoning there. But after six months, I played at 4 performances, had a drum solo, and won 1st place in Dunman High’s centerstage, defeating past year champions along the way. Miracle much… I believed I didn’t really put in my 100%, maybe 80%… But I believed I could do it. Confidence can do wonders. Now, I’m even more excited to learn more about drumming, even if I never gotten professional help before. Take Cobus for example, 3 years ago he posted his first video, now his videos has 50 million views, and everywhere around him is practically sponsored, his drums, his cymbals, his mikes. And for someone who hadn’t had professional help as well and self-learn drums himself, it’s godly. Passion is what drives him, even when he had all those nasty blisters, he just wrapped them and continue. When I had one blister, I would complain, and now I feel like a pussy. If you have the determination to push your boundaries, they will be broken. This is what make people successful, because they are not afraid of the consequences, and even if they fail , they will try again until they succeed.

ouch those blisters…

Life doesn’t require that we be the best, only that we try our best.
~ H.Jackson Brown

I have come to understand that I have nothing more to offer than, simply my best. I learnt to stop comparing others around me, as it is illogical for a someone who’s failing all his subjects to becoming the top all of a sudden. But I’ll try to achieve that goals, one small step at a time, and in this journey, sacrifices are definitely needed.

No Sacrifice, No Victory ~ Sam Witwicky (Transformers)

I’ll end this post with a story Mr Ng showed us before, which I actually saw the day before with my dad. It’s about this guy in China who lost both his arms in an accident, yet he chose not to let his disabilities be a negative factor and managed to play a beautiful piece on the piano… with his TOES. God some people require years to play it with their fingers. Losing both his arms did not deter him from his ambition of being a great music producer. He started practicing the piano at the age of 19 and admitted that it was tough at first. Although, he suffered from cramps and abrasion, he persevered. Life is never, never a smooth journey. His performance left one judge speechless and Liu Wei was asked how he was able to do it. His response? ”I think there are only two roads that I can choose in my life. One is to give up which would lead to a hopeless death. The other is to live life wonderfully. Nobody says that to play a piano, one can only use his hands.”

No complaints from me for this year. Push yourself and fight hard, people. This includes me, who would go back to his Economics after this post…

Sorry I couldn’t resist posting a SNSD picture haha

P.S. I would change to a nice theme after my Promos, it is getting kinda dull in here.

Live Your Life

Last post: 2010 resolutions, edited on 03/01/2010

This wordpress is dead, dead, dead, and there are still people viewing this? Thanks to all those who still view this shitty blog of mines. Most people are probably using tumblr now, but I’ll stick to WordPress. I’ll try to revive this blog by adding a few more inspirational stories kinda thing.

Why the sudden revival and not let it die? Well, one of the main motivations of reviving this blog is due to school. School? You gotta be kidding me. Not. I’ve been failing GP, so maybe writing a few ‘essays’ will help, even though it will never come out in A levels, like I said before, I want something to reflect on. Life has been in chaos, I’m tired, I’m bushed, sum in up in two words, fucked up. So a portal for me to channel my thought would be extremely useful now for me.

Now I see my mom spending 12 hours on FaceBook and I wrote a wall post for her. Guess what, she deleted me as a friend. lol? Now given a little time to reflect, it’s her fucked up life she’s living, not mine’s. She’s the one wasting her life on the computer, not me, why should I care? Only problem is that she’s hogging the computer and I can smell my dad’s overheating computer already. If she doesn’t want help, fine be it. I get scolded for helping my mom. That’s a first, and now come to think of it, I fucking miss my dad. It’s true, although we spend so little time together, it is all those small moments that counts. Hope you’re doing well overseas appa (dad in korean), sarangheyo (love you in korean)

This made me also reflect on my addiction on games, particularly one game called MapleStory, and if you ask me to rewind back 4 years and ask if I would play maple. I would, cause you can’t learn without failing. One by one, every 1 of us quitted maple, due to our busy lives already. When I stopped playing maple, I suddenly found so much time to do more stuff. These are life lessons which will affect you for the rest of your lives. Trust me, in just 3 years in Dunman High, I learnt so many life lessons which I wouldn’t have learn elsewhere.

So what now for Guardian? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. It’s just 4 months to Senior High, better late never, from now on, I’m going to live life to how I want to live it, and no-one is going to change it. Even as I’m typing this post, I’m getting happier already, because hopefully I’ll change for the better. Ironically, it took a few words of my Geography teacher to make me realise that. Man, I’m really fucked up.

I’ll end this post with one of my current ‘addictions’, *obvious right?* and what makes their performances so nice to watch? Practise, practise, practise, sprinkled in with some hardwork and determination. Some of them took 7 years of training just to debut, and they are referred as idol groups since many fans support them. Idol in another sense means someone to look upon, so maybe this will inspire me to do well when I see their performances. 9 days to guitar concert, focus nick focus you fag 😡

“Change is a welcomed friend…but only if it is invited.”
– Shane Pendley

I’m laying down the red carpet down already baby.

The Definition of Guardian

Draft saved on March 22 2009. Got this thought about doing this 8 months back, and many know from my jersey name that my nickname is Guardian. So why ‘Guardian’? Wierd nickname right? I thought so too, but if you think more about it, it seems to be a nice nickname.

If you type ‘Guardian’ in Google or Yahoo, you will get either the UK Guardian newspaper, or the law definition of guardian, who is supposed to be in charge of a child or something like that. Not the type of guardian you want to be. When I thought of the word ‘guardian’, it seems like a word with very little meaning. Someone who guards. It justs relates back to the word ‘guard’. Nothing much.

So what’s a guardian? Most person would relate a guardian to be ‘someone who guards’. For me, a guardian could be anything I wish for. It could be a defender, a protector, a hero who protects his loved ones with his life. Or maybe you would relate it to a guardian angel. A guardian angel is an angel assigned to protect and guide someone out there. When someone survives a horrid accident, many say that “Hey, he must have a guardian angel protecting him.” If there’s someone I want to be in my next life, that’s being a guardian angel.

Guardian Angels ftw

Now ‘Guardian’ seems like a nice name. I think most of my friends know how I started with this nickname. Started out when I was playing Battleon, and you need to pay money to become a ‘Guardian’. While I was playing maple, I had to think of a name. So, heck it, I chose the name Guardian. After some while, I use this word everywhere, I use it as my jersey name, my dota name, my name for most forums, etc. This ‘trend’ has lasted for around 5 years for me. Till most recently I have been using ‘Taeyeon’ for my dota name. It looks nice anyway, and I think my next nickname would be Taeyeon if I cannot stop my obession with her… Like what Akid says, she’s fucking plastic, but fucking plastic also very pretty. LOL, ok maybe it’s a little turnoff. But no one’s perfect, the TW and Japan girls also put a lot of makeup, and most pictures you see of U.S. models are photoshopped as well.

guardian 24
guardian 28
Guardian 24 and 28

What am I saying? Off to work. 1 day to HCL, 2 days to Guitar Audition, 3 days to Taiwan. Maybe I can squeeze in another post before leaving to Taiwan. So little time, so much to do. To think that the exams are over?!

Offically addicted to Taeyeon~ weeeee

Sometimes your best isn’t good enough

Just back home from DHS MUN, cabbed with boony to kembangan and took the bus home, can say it is a fucking waste 4 hours of life. What did I learn in this 4 hours? Nothing. Zilch, but made me think about this blog post, haven’t posted since the beginning of this month, and I always wanted to do a post for this month, so here goes…

Was sick (and still sick) this week, had a fever bla bla, and I was suppose to use this period to catch up with my work, turns out I used more time trying to recover and had only a day for revision. Lately, life’s starting to get a bore and it seems to have only the letters EOY in it, so life has lost some meaning if it is only involved about EOYs, but it seems to be true. Had all the time in the UN to think about it, since we wasted 4 hours, 1 hour more than expected, and in the end we didn’t come up with a resolution. If we were in a real UN, the whole world would be screwed.

Yah so above title, sometimes your best isn’t good enough. I’m tired of people complaining when they get a mark which they wanted a higher mark in a test and complain, “Walao, I tried my best.” Well face the fucked up world, sometimes your best isn’t good enough. When Tyson Gay ran 9.71s, it was his personal best, but Usain Bolt got 9.58s, so if others can do it, why can’t you? No point crying over spilt milk. And I SERIOUSLY FUCKING HATE IT when people can’t keep their mouth shuts after test. The test is over, finished, period. Curse you all to fail and see if you guys still want discuss or not =.= Remembered a talk from Mr. Teo during assesembly *wow i remembered* and he showed us a video of Kobe Bryant and some stuff about himself. was really interesting listening to him. Anyway, I believe that in the 100% you put, you still have gas for an extra 10%, and that is the difference between us and champions. What made Usian Bolt the champion he is now? Pure work and dedication. 3 years ago, he was a nobody in the 100m race, now he hasn’t lost a race for a year. Pretty slick if you ask me.

Usian Bolt = imba

Time flies in Year 4. Next week is the end of Term 3, and here comes the holidays! The holidays won’t feel like it anyway, and I need to format the videos in my iTouch, most of the videos are getting old, but they are still the best, still lazy to jailbreak. I’m gonna watch my 命中注定我愛你 at 10pm. LOL

I’m better off living in TW