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Vanessa Selbst

A Day In the (Non-Poker) Life

As a live tourney pro, my poker life and my non-poker life are pretty distinct from one another. Either I’m on the road at a tournament series or I’m at home in my other life. If the whole thing were a venn diagram, there would only be the tiniest little overlapping part between these two giant circles. When I’m playing poker, I’m 100% playing poker, and when I’m at home, I try to stay busy and enjoy my not-on-the-road life by devoting time to a number of different pursuits. In order to provide a glimpse of what that looks like, I’ve constructed an overview of my activities on an average(ish) day at home.

I wake up at 8am partly because the sun worms its way through my blackout shades, and partly because my five-pound Chihuahua, Indie, has decided it’s time for me to wake up and is licking my forehead to let me know. I amble out to the kitchen, where I grab a cup of coffee and take up residence on the couch to play my Candy Crush moves. Having exhausted my lives, I check out Twitter, read some poker updates (especially if I’ve skipped a tourney like I have now with WSOPE), and open up g-mail, planning on replying to some e-mails. I don’t.

Instead, I scarf a quick breakfast before grabbing my tennis gear and my bike and pedaling over to Fort Greene Park to play some tennis with my friend Saj. It’s a warm fall day and it’s a perfect day to play tennis. I beat Saj on the courts by a narrow margin and make sure to remember to needle him appropriately for blowing a 5-3 lead each and every time. I then make the sweaty journey back home, stopping to get some iced coffee for Miranda, which will earn me Wife Brownie Points.

After showering and carefully blow-drying and waxing my hair into its proper shape (random factoid: I use the same hair product as Joey “the Baby” Cheong), I walk to a lunch meeting in a nearby Brooklyn neighborhood with a woman who runs a non-profit I’m interesting in collaborating with. Over lunch I pick her brain about a legal project I’ve been working on, and jet home to send some e-mails and do a few hours of research while all of these exciting ideas are fresh in my brain. My work time is cut short by a Skype interview I’ve scheduled with a Spanish poker website. The interview lasts about 40 minutes and then it’s time to face what I’ve been avoiding for weeks now: my book club book. I curl up on the chaise with a blanket and my Kindle. I’ve got to get some reading done today because book club is in a few short days. It usually takes me a little while to get into a book, but this one is funny right off the bat, and I knock out a bunch of chapters with ease.

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Around 6, I venture into the kitchen to start prepping dinner. We have a few friends coming over for dinner and I’m excited to try out a recipe my friend recently made for me: turkey meatballs and homemade marinara sauce served over roasted spaghetti squash. The sauce is simmering on the stove, and the salad is made by the time Miranda gets home from work. We walk our dogs around the block while debriefing our days to each other before our friends Matt and Ivy arrive. Dinner is awesome. My first attempt at this recipe turns out better than expected, and we spend the evening drinking, eating, laughing, and having great conversation.

At 10:45, they leave, and I pile the dishes in the sink, too exhausted to think about them tonight. Comfy and in my PJs, I sink down into the couch to watch the episode of American Horror Story I hope Miranda has remembered to DVR (because I certainly didn’t)! Sated and satisfied, I try to drift off by midnight but end up obsessively playing Candy Crush, before finally forcing myself to sleep by 1AM.

In the immortal words of Ice Cube, “It was a good day.”

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