Growing up Asher Part 2 – Why I played poker.

Harry’ll do it. I know it. He doesn’t know how to fail. –Armageddon (1998)

Many people have no idea how I got started playing poker. Well I am about to tell you. When I came back to California from Oklahoma from my Aunt’s Thelma house I was in fact homeless. I was about 16 years old, I went north of Los Angles to to live in a place called Simi Valley CA, to live near my girl friend at the time. After moving there about 5 years later would become my first wife and I would have my daughter Mercedes. The only money I had to start my life was the ring I stole from my Aunt Thelma and what I made working at the chicken plant in Arkansas and picking blue berries while I was in Oklahoma.

My parents made it clear I was not welcome home, but this is not the story my Mother and Father would tell people that would ask questions. Their side of the story was I was out of control, hard to handle, actually they really didn’t know what to think. My Parents called it “tough love” but I think it was my sick parents way of trying to control me, allowing me to fail, the result of really having no parenting skills and gross misunderstanding of the Bible. I think my parents though I would fail and they would gain control by submission because this is how my Father was raised. They were wrong.

My Father Ray Asher and Mother Joy Asher are both control freaks I gained a better understanding of this recently after spending time with Ray, him throwing a fit when I would not give into his “plan” of going to church instead of love and support. I don’t give-in period so I left and and family life has returned to the brokenness.

Though out my life I have almost never have had a “real job”. I have built homes, owned a few construction companies, waited tables in a string part time jobs. My ex wife Kimberly and I figured it out one day, I don’t think I have had a job for longer than 90 days in my whole life. We also figured out from about the age 16 that up until about the age 38 I bet I have not gone longer than 90 days without gambling or Playing Poker. The last two years, I have really been less interested and only returning to try to end my liquidity struggles. I think the biggest reason I have not had a job is from PTSD brought on from the relationship with my father. I am very sensitive person, with a very thick armor and armed with vicious cynicism. I have a complete disregard of who I offend, and criticism is like explosive gas and fuels desire to go harder.

Poker became a staple of my life very early on. I took a few odd jobs as a kid looked at my check at the end of the week (*about $125.00- $160.00) in the late 80’s and early 90’s I could tell I was fucked if I didn’t do something, and my fate awaited me home back with the fucking crazy Christians and what my parents don’t know until now, is I was going to die before ever darkening the door of that statuary of lies.

I am not confused of how I got here I have many people to thank for helping me in my life, people that I looked up to, people that backed me in my business ventures *including poker. These people truly believed in me, that is how I have been so successful. Without these people I would be no one, and honestly I really owe any success that I have or had to them.

The most important people on this list is really two people.

My cousin Robert that took me surfing at the age 10, I will never forget everything he has taught me. I can remember him towing me with his leash of his surfboard because I was not strong enough to get passed the waves in large surf. I live to surf to this day 30 years later, something my father would mockme “you cant take your girl friend on a date with a surf board” Robert taught me more about life than anyone will ever know. Little fun fact is my father hated Robert. Robert can’t read or write and misspells his own name. Robert and my Father are more alike that my father would ever admit. Robert graduated high school but cant read or write, and my father at age 67 cant write a legible sentence and never graduated high school, I think has at one point got his GED, but not sure. Ofcourse I have no idea if that has anything todo with how my father feels about Robert. But in my opinion I think it does.

The other person is my Grandfather Tom Gameson a businessman a Pastor from Orange County now passed away, he is a wonderful shrewd businessman and someone I model my life after to this day. One day Ray *my Father proudly blurted out your grandfather is a adulterer and cheated on your grandmother. I thought to myself, what is this sick fuck thinking? My Grandfather was very successful owed apartment complexes, one of the largest pest control companies in Orange County. I thought to myself, I am more like my grandfather than my father. And honestly, the passing of TC Gameson was the end of the road for my family, I feel like it was my grand parents that really held the family together.

Third on this list is my second ex-wife Kimberly Asher, to this day one of my biggest supporters. I may owe her everything. Something most people don’t know, If I die my network of websites will goto her. Even in-spite of our separation, I know for a fact she will do the right thing. And if nothing else, she will be repaid and able to have her day in the sun. Robert and Kimberly will be the benefactors of any fortune I can manage as repayment.

The next would have to be my next door neighbor Steve Long, Steve once told me that I will teach you something that you can take with you for the rest of your life. Steve was a master carpenter, I worked for Steve for one summer and I went on to be a master carpenter myself, I love to build things and I have owned 3 construction companies. And I bet I have made upwards of a million dollars with what Steve has taught me. I am a artist, and I look at carpentry as art and enjoy it very much.

The next is a very special person, Will Porter.

I let my best friend in the whole world down, I am almost ashamed to admit it. A father figure to me, someone I really have looked up to, someone who has really showed me grace, love, compassion and has help Kimberly and I out of some really tough spots. Will Porter has help me so much it would be difficult to really show my gratitude for how much it really has meant to me.  To list what Will has done for not-only Me but Kimberly too would be a post in itself.

Last and far from least is Jeff McCune, Jeff is a prodigy writer. His ability to write really inspires me. I now feel writing will be what takes me anywhere I want togo in life. To be able to write is a gift by itself.

The only thing my Father has taught me is tobe angry, and that has tobe the most damaging trait you can show a person. Show me an angry person I show you a fearful poorly spoken scared coward.

What has stood the test of time, and has had the largest impact on my life and what still remains to this day is gambling. Faithful friend. My friend Einstein say’s “gambling is a friend always available to kick it”.

I am in fact a loser. What started as pass the deck lowball game in the gritty LA casinos has lasted 24 years. I played exclusively poker but over the last 5 years that has morphed into destructive gambling out of frustration. Things have changed, I have changed, the poker has changed. At one time I could be described as a prolific rock, I have a very strong grasp on the game an I have remained in the game for a span of time that would be hard to match. Any one that truly knows me, knows the level of skill I bring. Gambling has taught me a lot about life, I could say I am here because of gambling, I could also say I would have never made it here, without gambling.

I am not someone who cant wait or cant control myself, and rushes off to carelessly gamble my money. I am a opportunist, shot taker, gambling has been a staple, a hustle, a goto for capital, emergency funds, diapers, car payments, almost anything you can think of. I think Jack in the movie Titanic said it best. “When you got nothing, you have nothing to lose.”  ironically my life may-have played out the same, winning a ticket to a damned ship. But I can honestly tell you gambling has taken something from me.

This is how I got started playing poker, poker is how I was able to avoid going home to the crazy Christians. I was able to take my small income from the odd jobs and parlay that to finance my life style.

Then I got married, had kids, and the bills would come due, and my wife and I would work hard, we would come short. No real fault of our own, landlords are tough, we were just stupid kids. Happens to anyone and everyone everyday, my mom and dad called it tough love, I just figured we had nothing to lose.