March Is Here. Wear It. | All-New T-Shirts, Hoodies, Crewnecks, Hats and More Now AvailableSHOP NOW

Living in New Orleans at 39 Is A LOT Different Than 29 And That Is A Good Thing

Chris Graythen. Getty Images.

I am about a month into my second act of living in New Orleans. I am definitely enjoying it but it is A LOT different than the old days. 

From 2009-2014, I ran pretty damn wild down here. I was playing poker for a living and did really well for a few years until I bottomed out. I was in my late 20s in my partying prime and believe me I lived it up! 

If there was a big sporting event or concert, I was always there. Saints and Hornets games, Mardi Gras, Jazzfest… I did it all. We had a really fun Ole Miss crew that threw down hard. Only a couple of them are still here as several others overdid it too.

Being successful at poker made me feel invisible at that age. I would have 5 figure poker swings all the time and it desensitized me to the value of money. And I was on FIRE in 2010 and 2011!

In 2010, I ran up a six figure bankroll in a few short months after the Saints Super Bowl win. I caught fire winning a bunch of mid stakes online tournaments. My heater culminated in a $76,000 score when I got 2nd of over 2300 players in a $216 Full Tilt Online Poker Series Event in April. 

That ended up being one of the most fun weeks of my life. I hit that online poker score on Tuesday before raging at Jazzfest Pearl Jam & Widespread Panic shows. To top it off, I won $15,000 more online on Sunday!

After the US government cracked down on online poker in 2011, the poker heater transferred to the live felt. I got 75th in the WSOP Main Event that summer and the 3rd & 12th in two other big tournaments in the following months.

Why am I going into detail on my poker history in this blog? 

Because it directly led to my downfall. After all the success in 2010 & 11, I thought I was Phil Ivey. 

I lived so far above my means it was beyond stupid. I would book flights the night before to travel around the country for poker tournaments or see Widespread Panic shows. And that is all while I was still going way too hard in New Orleans too.

It does not take a rocket scientist to see where this is headed. After cooling off in poker in 2012 & 2013 but not adjusting my lifestyle, I was broke in spring of 2014. That is when I decided to go back to Ole Miss to finish my degree. 

Last Saturday night, it hit me how different it is at 39 when I sent out this tweet after getting home from the Wizards/Pelicans game.

Back in the day, I would be starting my Saturday night at 10:15 pm. Now they end then. But I am still having fun living a much more balanced lifestyle.

I still enjoy going to sporting events and concerts. I no longer go to the bar after or stay up til 5am. I am working out with a trainer and joined a local church. 

While all of this sounds a little boring, it is a great thing! I have found a balance that works for my life and is not destructive. And I still love the sports, food, music, gambling and festival culture in NOLA. 

Let The Good Times Roll!

People always try to blame the partying culture in New Orleans for their mistakes. That is pillow soft. We are all ultimately responsible for our own choices in life! 

Maybe I am finally maturing after all…..