Friday, April 08, 2011

Phish and Gambling: Down With Diseased Monkeys

Seven months after Phish stumbled off the stage in Coventry, Vermont in 2004, I accepted a job as a poker reporter in Las Vegas and it's been a surreal journey ever since. In many ways the poker world is similar to the peculiar insanity of Phish, because it too is a non-stop traveling caravan of freaks, many of whom never want to go home and instead keep following the circus around forever and ever. And for obvious reasons, you can image the drastic differences between the two worlds which are often at polar opposites of the material and spiritual spectrum from one another. It's a rare yet cool moment whenever two of my passions can collide, but it happened the other day when I found myself at the crossroads after a rough weekend. Somehow Phish snuck in there somehow when I was trying to make a positive change in my life. After a torrential downpour of uncertainty, all of a sudden I was bestowed with a moment of clarity when the lyrics to Down With Disease never felt more prevalent.

I used a Phish reference in a recent essay that I wrote about degenerate gambling titled Down With Diseased Monkeys. Check it out, especially if you like baseball or curious about the dangers of sports betting.

Here's a bit of a back story...during college I gambled on sports (I even booked bets with one of my fraternity brothers one semester) and played poker for spending money (beer and weed) and used some of my winnings to fund Dead tour. After college (and after Jerry died), I relied heavily on the NFL playoffs and March Madness to fund Phish summer tour. If I went on a winning streak, then that translated into a summer of fun and I could afford to see more shows. When Phish initially went on hiatus, I began playing poker more seriously. I funded 2.0 mostly through poker winnings acquired from underground games in NYC. Prior to the 3.0 era, I became a gambling writer and poker report. When the boys returned for Hampton, I worked a couple of extra freelance writing assignments to pay the reunion. Later that summer (in between the first and second leg of 2009 summer tour), I had a nice score in a poker tournament in Vegas. I used some of those winnings to pay for a lot of fun including Red Rocks, most of summer tour and a significant amount of fall tour, not to mention Festival 8 and Miami NYE. Yeah, 2009 was a great fucking year. Last year, I didn't play as much poker because I was working on a book (Lost Vegas), same goes for this year. I funded Phish tour by picking up a couple of extra freelance gigs and using a royalty check or two from my book. So when the new year came around, I shifted back to more sports betting and less poker. Everything was going good and I had a nice little roll to pay for Super Ball, but then I hit a slight snafu...which you can read about in Down With Diseased Monkeys.

Oh, and since we're talking about DWD, here's the boys tearing it up at Alpine Valley last August...


ParrotheadFargo said...

Great Story, made me laugh thinking about my sore times with my favorite sport, Baseball.

jonas0tt0 said...

Good post!