Friday, February 13, 2009

My favorite contest win

I can think of two contests that I’ve won in my lifetime. One was for tickets to the Phantom of the Opera. It was a radio thing where I called in on the local station and won two vouchers for seats at the Pantages theatre in Hollywood, redeemable for seats anywhere in the house. I was able to get second row seats in the orchestra section. I was so close, you could see the actors sweating during Masquerade. I took my mom, who’d never before seen Phantom, and it was a great experience all the way around.

But this one, even though it’s a much smaller win in relation to the dollar amount (The Phantom tickets retail for about $400 each), meant a lot more to me. A lot of it has to do with the timing of when it happened, but I have to say that I am much more excited about this win.

Yesterday I was announced as one of four winners for the Twitter Poker Tour free entry giveaway. The prize awarded 4 players 2 free entries into TPT events, which amounts to a total of $11. And I was more overjoyed than I can express in words.

I’ve written about the TPT events several times on pablosplace, and if you haven’t been able to tell from the posts, I love (And I mean L-O-V-E) playing in these events. I have a tremendous amount of fun chatting with the members of the group, talking about funny anecdotes on life, and overall just being friendly on twitter.

But for me, the TPT has provided a big escape from the stuff that life has brought upon my household over the last year. To help fully understand, I’d have to write a book about all the medicinal stuff that my fiancé has faced in the last 7 years, between successfully battling cancer, to the advanced Graph vs. Host disease (“GVH”) from the Bone marrow transplant (“BMT”), to the eventual loss of motion in her lower extremities, resulting in a wheelchair being her only means of transportation. Then the GVH advanced so rapidly, that we began to fear the potential of loss of life. GVH is not typically a terminal disease. It is quite common after BMT’s that patients acquire it to some degree. In the smallest of degrees, it may be a small patch of skin that changes its pigment, and then burns itself out to return to normalcy. Then there are advanced cases like Traci. Her GVH as become so extreme, that it has basically eaten away the flesh on her legs from the knees down to the ankles, and the live wounds make her susceptible to infection. It’s the infection that can often lead to an ending.

We still hold onto hope that the wounds will heal. That the GVH will burn itself out. That through physical therapy there may be a chance that she could regain the ability to walk. But at this point, all of it is really unknown. And we make sure that she gets her nutrition regularly supplemented through a home IV, and that she goes in weekly to have the dressings on her wounds changed in the operating room by a surgeon under sedation. To say that it has been difficult would be the misrepresentation of all misrepresentation. It’s been impossible. And yet, we hold onto hope.

After my divorce, I found poker. It wasn’t the thing that healed me, but it was a vehicle that created the games at my place. Because I had custody of the kids, I invited everyone over to my place on Friday nights to play a game. And slowly, I became social again. It was a way that I could re-engage with the world, so-to-speak. And I’m grateful that I did. I found many wonderful friends that I think the world of, have had many memorable experiences with, and continue to share laughs and good times on Friday nights, and beyond. But it was tied around this game of cards. This strategy game. A game that is just simply, a fun game.

Finding the TPT has really helped me rediscover the fun in poker. Because it’s online, I can sit in the living room, and not have to leave the kids with a sitter, or leave Traci unattended, and sit down and play my game without worries of everything that is here in the house for a few hours. Life, it just kind of fades away for a brief moment while I’m able to play a game, laugh, and have fun. I don’t indulge very often because I rarely have the time (between medicine, work, and being a dad to 4 girls). There just isn’t enough hours in the day.

In creating the TPT, it has brought unexplainable joy to me. I talk about it a lot, because it means a lot. I want to say thanks to Geoff (@cprpoker) and Trevor (@pokerplasm) for having the foresight in creating the Twitter Poker Tour, and for diligently working to maintain its overall awesomeness. I truly appreciate all of the work that you’ve done, and I hope that you’re getting back from this all that you deserve.

I’d like to thank @BassW for hosting the contest, and providing the prize. And to respond to your DM, yes I will continue to write about and Tweet about the TPT. I hope it grows into a phenomenon. It has all the features that would lend one to think that it would be possible. And it excites me every day to watch it happen before our eyes. Thanks to the TPT sponsor’s Bad Beat Clothing ( and Grinder School ( for adding the value to the TPT that you bring.

And a great deal of thanks to all of the players on the TPT. You make the ride possible. Without your contribution of $5.50 every Thursday, it wouldn’t be the same. Having you show up, and push chips around the table, and throw out the witty zingers with “lol’s” makes the night go by with smiles. Thanks for all of the “nh’s” and “gg’s.” They have been enjoyable. Every one of them.

I look forward to the event growing, and I’ll continue writing about it so long as I’m capable. I do intend to be a part of as many of these as I possibly can, and have re-worked my calendar to allow me to be able to do so. It means a lot to me. And I’m glad to call myself a member of the TPT.


BassW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
@bassw said...

This post really got to me. I am honored you are so happy with the prize.

I wish you and your family all the best in the future!

thanks a lot dude!

Steve Brogan said...

Great and heartfelt story. Thanks for sharing with us, opening up your personal life. I am pleased to be able to say I have made your acquaintance even in this lightest of encounters, the internet. A hug goes out to you.

Paul Ellis said...

Thanks guys. Amazing things can happen when you believe.

I appreciate the sentiments. Cheers, P

Jim L said...

Paul, thanks for sharing, this really hit close to home. My wife and I have been enduring some tough times, although nothing as serious as your fiance and you have had to endure. I've always thought posting about it could be therapeutic, and between your post and another reminder, the emotions and words flowed. Thanks again and my thoughts are with you and yours.