So the mental health day ended much better than I thought it would. Turns out there was absolutely nothing wrong with my car's brakes; I left it with the dude for 3.5 hours and when I called him he honestly said they couldn't find anything wrong. This is an astonishing result, for two reasons...first of all, there should be something wrong since the light went off. Second of all even if there wasn't I've have expected him to fabricate a problem. He tried to up-sale me on a few things, specifically a "rear brake tightening" that sounded like bullshit, but I passed and for the first time in the recorded history of human events someone left their car at a mechanic for three hours and spent zero dollars. Weird.
Then there is the latest update on the full tilt and stars saga, which seems to be "holy shit they freaking did it!" That's right, according to some very, very reputable sources (PPA, ESPN, WSJ) a deal has officially been reached. I am not very good at reading the fine print, but all of it is available on the ESPN article in pdf form if anybody is interested. To me it sounds like there is going to be a whole lot of left pocket right pocket accounting, the upshot of which will be that if you lived in the United States on April 14th, 2011 and have a balance on Full Tilt Poker, you're going to need to make some sort of application through the DOJ to get your funds back, theoretically in full. In return for filling this giant pot of money, Poker Stars seems to be avoiding, completely, prosecution for flagrantly flaunting the laws of the United States of America, and gaining control of Full Tilt's full array of patents and software (which have to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, given the eventual likelihood of legalization of internet poker stateside). What does the government get out of it? Well in theory they are making a lot of their citizens very happy, which should be enough. But on top of that, this whole "application to the DOJ" thing seems like it's going to result in an awful lot of people owing an awful lot of taxes. I should be fine, since I basically never made any money online until the last 3 months before Black Friday anyway, but there are going to be accounts that owe way more in taxes than they even have in them. If I were one of those guys, I'd seriously consider whether or not I ever wanted to claim ownership of my money. To quote JoeTall, "money fell from the sky" today.
I also just had a random and long talk with DosEquis, over skype of all things, where he explained to me that he has spent the last six weeks devoting himself to becoming, basically, a day trader. He has done a ton of reading and even traded on a paper account for several weeks (in Mexico...I'm not sure why he went to Mexico to do this) and seems extremely committed to the idea of this being the direction his life is going to go next. I'm not sure how I feel about the details of what he's planning to do, but good for him is my basic synopsis. He's the second person I've played a ton with the last year or so who's trying to get completely out of the game (apparently MikeL is going back to school, getting a Master's in psychology). The theme is pretty interesting...a lot of people in the poker world are either gung ho and getting more into it, trying to play bigger and bigger, or in the process of burning out and coming up with an exit strategy. And that's where it's kind of weird for me. I definitely don't have any sort of specific exit strategy, although my education background would likely afford me ample enough opportunities for at least another few years. Most other people who are in poker seem to be in it because at some point they didn't really have another option (be it right after school, or later on once their earning power got so high it didn't really make sense to stop), and I'm kind of afraid I might be going through that right now. My earning power is now higher than it could be, at least in the short (2-3 year) term for any career I could choose to pursue.....instead of sacrificing money in order to play a game for a living, I'm now in the situation that quitting the game would actually be pretty expensive. And that's kind of scary. It used to be that I could have a "whatever happens happens" attitude towards the entire poker ecosystem as a whole. If the games died, it'd be OK. I may have had to go get a job, but it wasn't like I'd really get hurt. Now I have a truly vested interest in the health of the Commerce top section, and that is just kind of weird. Like, am I really going to turn into one of those 45 or 50 year old grinders who have been playing poker all their lives? I certainly hope not....but I don't have a plan to turn into anything else, and it's not just going to happen on it's own.
So yeah...constant questions, where is my life going, what am I doing, blah blah blah. I guess a lot of people go through this when they turn 30, so I shouldn't be alarmed or anything. And I do suppose it's good to think about it and talk to other people and get their perspectives, but when it comes down to it I need to make sure I'm not just letting inertia rule my life and that I am looking actively for other opportunities and ways to make things...better.