Just to get it out of the way, yes, I have retired from my position as the Head of Online Poker at Caesars and the World Series of Poker. If that is all you wanted to know, I tried to keep it tweet sized. 🙂
As for the “why” part, let me explain.
I haven’t really discussed this much outside a small group of people, but my father passed away last year. His cancer was quite aggressive and his death was both unexpected and especially hard on the family.
It really made me take a step back and ask myself a lot of hard questions.
Part of that was thinking about the fact that when my wife and I moved from Thailand back to the US eight years ago, the biggest motivating factors for relocating were spending more time with my dad and having an opportunity to launch online gaming in the US.
Given my dad’s passing and the fact that Nevada and New Jersey WSOP.com poker were up and running, leading the US in terms of market share and revenues, it seemed like the reasons that brought us here were no longer as valid as they once were.
Yes, I love the people I work with, and I love the challenge of growing a business, but it also felt like we needed to start a new chapter in our lives and to do that, we needed make a clean break.
Also, given that my wife’s grandmother is getting up there in years, we wanted to spend as much time with her as we can.
It was not an easy decision but sometimes you just know life is pulling you in a different direction.
After multiple conversations with my wife where we were both like, “Uhm, are we really going to do this?”, we formally and finally decided to pull the trigger. After which, I slowly started letting people know about our plans to retire and we began working on a transition plan.
Before I say anything further about our decision, I have to say that I am truly humbled to have worked with such amazing and supportive people at Caesars and especially at CIE. I really can’t offer enough praise and gratitude to everyone.
I am incredibly proud of the fact that one of the last things I participated in at CIE was the awarding of the prestigious Caesars Award for Excellence to one of the poker team’s members.
It is an honor to work with people of that caliber.
And it would be remiss of me to not also mention all of the great people at every level of the industry. There are far, far too many to name individually but to the players that met with me, emailed me, or tweeted at me, to share their views, shoot the shit, or yell in my face, thank you.
To the regulators that have provided guidance and have been so instrumental in bringing online gaming to players and the necessary frameworks for things like shared liquidity, thank you.
To the poker media and affiliates that don’t get nearly enough credit for all that they do to support the poker community, thank you.
To the vendors, potential vendors, the geolocation providers, the platform providers, the payment processors, and everyone else that provides products and services, thank you.
Even to past and present competitors, thank you. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to share this game we love with as many people as we can and every innovation and improvement benefits everyone.
That’s not a farewell thank you, as I’m sure I will see many of you again. But if I’m expressing gratitude, I wanted to make sure I distribute the fist bumps around to everyone.
So what’s next?
At the moment, we’re trying to navigate the byzantine maze of rules and regulations concerning long-term visas, import permits for the doggies (way more difficult than humans), as well as, sell our house, sell the cars, fit everything we own into a few suitcases (Marie Kondo would be proud), and not lose our minds in the process (this last part is very important, and perhaps the most difficult).
Other than that, I really don’t have any plans.
One of my good friends kept pressing me on what I was going to do and all I could say is, “I’m bringing a guitar with me. I’m going to re-learn to play. That’s as far as I’ve thought about what I’m going to do.”
Obviously I’m not going to spend the rest of my life strumming a guitar all day but I’m not necessarily looking to do something just for the sake of doing something either.
So we’ll just have to wait and see where this new chapter takes us.
Until then . . .