Time to Say Thanks

Time to Say Thanks


How often do people actually pause to reflect on how lucky they’ve been? I hear numerous bad beat stories. When was the last time someone told you how truly fortunate they were?

When it happens, they generally think small. If our life is a poker game, most of the focus is on one specific hand. A cop let me off from a parking ticket today is a single, trivial hand. I wasn’t born with a mental disease is the game.

Today is Thanksgiving which means it’s time for gratitude. Game time gratitude.

Because it’s grave that we overlook life’s little pleasures. It’s even graver that we overlook the big ones. Here are my 5 reasons of gratitude for the day.

1.     Learning:

It’s nothing to brag about because it’s a gift I was given, completely out of my control. I could have easily been born with a mental disorder. But if I’m being honest, I really learn things quickly, which means I get a lot of pleasure in many activities. And that makes life more enjoyable.

If my learning ability was a poker game, I’d have ACE-KING.

2.     Destiny:

It’s crazy how lucky I’ve been in terms of how things have played out for me. If I think back to the many situations in my career where things could have gone one good or bad, they’ve almost always gone well. And it’s these minor stepping-stones where one needs those breaks to let them even have the chance of making it. If only I hadn’t gotten deep in those big tournaments I wouldn’t have had the bankroll, freedom or confidence to even give myself a chance to compete in the biggest games. And I can’t even begin to count the breaks I’ve had. The good fortune comes in all forms, from supportive friends to the right river cards. It’s all happened for me and so much of it was pure luck.

If my career was a poker game, I’d have JACKS.

3.     Never Breaking A Bone:

I’m not easy on my body. In my life I competed in an Olympic triathlon, trained with a pro body builder, hiked my way through Norway and worked out regularly five times a week. I can get up everyday and do any physical activity I please. I mean, I’m so damn lucky.

If my health was a poker game, I’d be holding QUEENS.

4.     My Job:

Sometimes I have to actually force myself to say it. I feel awkward, embarrassed or even arrogant to think that I’m actually living the life I’ve always wanted. When I was 16 I remember thinking how great it would be, “if only I could travel the world and play poker.” And today I looked in the mirror and realized that it’s what I do. Actually, it’s all I do.

If my job was a poker game, I’d be holding KINGS.

5.     My Family:

I just spent two weeks on vacation with my wife and parents in the French Riviera. We rented apartments and just lived like locals, cooking together everyday, shopping in the provincial markets, touring the homes of Picasso and Renoir, and marveling at the Mediterranean. They love and support every decision I make, especially choosing an unconventional career and life. In a broader sense, it’s more than family that I’m grateful for. It’s love. And in my life there’s a lot of it.

If my family was a poker game, I’d be holding ACES. And they’d be SUITED

Now it’s your turn. If your life was a poker game, which cards would you be holding? Share your ‘hand’. Leave a comment!

Gratitude for Learning




Photography by Bob Aronson 

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  • Valerie Torelli December 1, 2013 6:04 am

    Wow Alec, I am overwhelmed and beyond grateful, blessed and everyday reminded how good life is. Every moment we share is savored and like the wines we have enjoyed just get better when we recall with joy the connections we have experienced together. As in all things you do, to see first hand the passion you share with Ambra about life and your support for each other is love at its very best.
    Ever inspired and at peace

    • Alec Torelli December 2, 2013 5:22 pm

      That's so sweet mom! We had such a great time together in France. It's in those moments we realize how lucky we really are to have such a great family!

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