Update before I leave

I’ve finally gotten a full night’s sleep again.

The night after I posted my last blog entry, my mind was restless thinking about all of the hatred that people would have for me.  Jungle went out to meet up with some fellow high stakes players who also wanted to see me and grab dinner together, but I told them that I wasn’t feeling well. I kept waking up in the middle of the night, only to roll over, stare at the ceiling for a few minutes, and bury my face in my pillow to try for another hour’s sleep.

When I awoke I made sure to stay away from the computer. I thought to myself, I need to just brush my teeth, shower, shave, eat a piece of fruit for breakfast. To feel normal for just a moment. Life goes on. Once I finished, I stepped outside with my camera. Since the night I arrived in London, I had told myself I had to take photographs of the place we were staying at. But after I stepped outside it soon started raining. I waited for a while, looking out the window and just thinking.

After the rain cleared I took some photos; they didn’t come out too bad. Here are a few of them, along with a link to the album.

Album link

I’m not a good photographer, but it’d be nice to get better. I intend to take a lot of photographs along my travels.

Anyway, when I finally returned home I went to my computer desk, took a deep breath and checked my e-mails, expecting to feel like shit. I was blown away. I had 40+ e-mails from people who had read my blog, all supporting me. With words of advice, encouragement, or just simply sharing their own stories with me. Many people offered to show me their city or places to stay.

I don’t know how to tell you guys how much it has meant to me. This has been a very long and difficult week. But although to all of you it is a little thing, it has meant a lot for me and has made me feel a little less alone in all of this. Thank you all, so so much. In the next few days I will make sure to write each and every one of you back and thank you all individually when I can, but until then, allow my thanks here to suffice for the moment.

Of course I had to get some token hatemail though. It wasn’t much, so I guess it wasn’t too bad, but it angered me that somebody was low enough to harass my family members as well. One person wrote to call me a stupid nigger… even though I’m not black. I’m not sure if the appropriate response to that is offense or confusion…

Anyway, I’ve been reading up on all of the resources and advice that you guys have given me. Tomorrow I’m going to go shopping for backpacks in central London and stock up on some of the stuff I’m going to need (fast-dry towel, basic medicinal stuff, compass, basic linen for hostels, etc.). Hopefully I can start heading down by Monday or before. I’m optimistic at the moment, but I know it’s going to be fucking scary once I set off. But that’s how I know I’m doing it right, I think.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been thinking a lot. One of the things I’ve been thinking about is hate. People who know me well know that i can be a very critical person. I think most of us are in our honest moments. But I have been trying to understand—am I a hateful person? I can certainly hate ideas—I can probably even hate groups of people, or generalizations about people. But the truth is, I think it is very difficult to hate an individual person. When you look somebody in the eye before you, you watch them breathe, you share the sensate world. They are not so far away, and their fears and desires are not so unlike yours. Empathy, not hate, is the natural response.

Last night Jose got back in touch with me. He had been unreachable for the last few days so I scrambled to answer once I saw who was calling my phone. We spoke for a while over the phone. I spoke to him calmly and slowly, without affect. He did not know what had happened since he left on vacation the night this story broke. He told me that reading about it made him too sad, and so he couldn’t. I explained to him everything that had happened, how me and Jungle had gotten destroyed on the forums for being associated with him, that people were accusing me of being complicit in his scams, I told him about all of the proof that had come out that he had multiple accounts on TwoPlusTwo, that he had never made all of that money and lied about his account names, that everything was a huge sham, and pointed out that he had cheated me and Jungle as well.

He told me that he was sorry about everything. He sounded very sad. He told me that he definitely didn’t cheat me or Jungle and could provide proof that he didn’t; he said if we could show him any evidence that any play on our stake was illegitimate that he’d recompensate us 10x whatever we were cheated, and agreed to send us all hand histories that he had ever played as well as try to get Lock Poker to verify. He told me that 2 other accounts (including LookingForProdigy) were his friends who helped him come up with the idea to create publicity for himself, and said that sdgsdjdgdjsg (or whatever) was his girlfriend. I told him, how can you expect me to believe a word you say? You’ve lied to us about everything. I don’t know what about you is true and what’s false.

He told me that that wasn’t true, and that he had really made all the money he claimed to. I told him that twoplustwo had provided proof that he hadn’t, that his results were all faked, and that he was full of shit. He told me he could prove that he had. He said that he had 600k sitting in his bank account right now and could show proof to anyone who wanted to see. I told him to contact some journalists and that if he could prove it satisfactorily to them, that would go a long way towards establishing his credibility. He told me he would, and assured me he’d remain contactable. He also told me that he didn’t intend to play poker anymore. He seemed to still care very much for me and Jungle.

I don’t know whether or not to believe Jose. He has lied about an enormous number of things, to me and to Jungle and many other people. He tried to scam many people, including people I know he looked up to. But as I spoke to him I realized I do not have any hate towards him. Why, it’s hard to say. My involvement with him has destroyed my entire poker career. I don’t trust him, and I know he betrayed me. But life is too short and emotion is too valuable for hating people. Everyone is just trying their best in the end. I don’t know why Jose cheated people, lied and manipulated the way he did. But I hope that someday, he will be able to atone for what he did too. And that once he does, that he can find his own happiness. And fuck everyone else who thinks that there is anyone who doesn’t deserve that. Fuck everyone who thinks there’s such a thing as unredeemable. And that I mean from the bottom of my heart.

This is exhausting. My only desire now is to get away from all of this. I will leave it to Jungle to try to close out what is left of our affairs with Jose. I don’t wish to speak with him or anyone else from my life in poker. I will be leaving this flat soon to stay with a friend of mine who is outside the poker world and gather what I will need for my travels. I just want to start moving; I want a feeling of progress, of growth. I want some peace in my heart. I want to feel free.

Thank you everyone, and sorry for being all emotional. I can’t help myself right now. I will write again soon.

August 12 2011
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Managing Partner at Dragonfly Capital. Effective Altruist. Airbnb, Earn.com (acquired by Coinbase) alum. Instructor @ Bradfield. Writer. Former poker pro. Donate 33% of my income to charity.

San Francisco
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I just wanted to mention and link this here, because I think it’s responsible to do so. This will be my last time engaging the poker world. From my previous blog: At this point, all of the truths have come to light. I am only updating this blog so that everything is in one place. For those of you who have not read it, I have come forward on HSNL...
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This is a post. I will write more when more stuff happens. I don’t know my plans yet or where I am going to go, but for those of you who wish to contact or meet me, I am reachable at haseebonroad at gmail dot com. Once I decide what exactly my plans are, I will write more. Right now the first thing I could use is tips on backpacking....
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