Is This the End For the Tao of Pauly?

by Lou on January 7, 2008

One of poker’s best and favorite bloggers, Paul “Dr. Pauly” McGuire (pictured left), whose blog, The Tao of Pauly at is always worth a read, and whose poker tournament reports are terrific is grappling with the possibility of quitting the poker scene entirely. At least he is today.

On his blog, he writes, “After a long and intense three years covering the poker scene, I am more than burnt out. The novelty of spanning the globe has worn out and I waste weeks of my life standing in airport security lines or waiting for another delayed flight or finding myself getting issued another bad beat by JetBlue when I get seated next to another crying baby on my flight from JFK to Burbank. I have been living the majority of the last 1,000 days of my life in hotels and hate having to worry if a horde of illegal immigrant maids with sticky fingers will steal my iPod or a wad of $100 bills that I have hidden somewhere in the room. Or worse, a maid will burst into my hotel room at 8 a.m. (even though I have the “Do Not Disturb” sign in full view) just so she can refold my toilet paper into that nifty little triangle.

“My worst fears have become a reality. My immersion into poker is no longer cool and exciting. It has become a job instead of a lifestyle choice, and by definition, all jobs suck … It’s time for a break … if I had any advice to give you… it’s this… enjoy the Tao of Poker while you can. It might not be here in 2009.
“Maybe I should walk away from poker right now? Cash out. Sell the Tao. I have a big stack in life thanks to my tremendous good luck in poker. I should quit while I’m ahead and use the money I earned to fund my personal projects. I have seen poker’s ugly side and many of my friends have gotten their collective asses kicked by poker. They have left empty-handed.

“Maybe I should just quit after the 2008 WSOP?

“At the end of the 2008 WSOP, I’ll make that tough decision. If I choose to walk away from poker entirely, well then that’s what’s going to happen.”

Most of us have been there, done that, and let’s face it—living on the road is a horrible existence; in fact it’s no real existence at all. Long ago in another time and place I was a management consultant living out of a suitcase, wearing a suit and tie each day and skilled in the tricks of the trade—like putting on a good dog-and-pony show to impress our clients while convincing them to extend and renew their contracts with us. I had an epiphany of sorts one day that occurred when I awakened in a hotel room and could not remember where I was that morning. I had to pull on a pair of pants, go down to the lobby and pick up a newspaper to tell me what day it was and what city I was in.

That’s about the time I decided to get out of consulting, which was lucrative, and do something saner with my life, like playing poker and writing about it.

I don’t have any words of advice to offer Pauly. He’ll have to work this one out by himself and I know he will. All I can say is that I really enjoy his work and like having him in the poker world. I hope he stays. But I’ll understand it if he goes.

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