For as long as I can remember, I wished I could have it all. Why wouldn’t I? Show me the man who would turn down the prospect of a nice house, a fast car, and a beautiful wife and I’ll show you a liar. I only had one shot at living in this world, and as far as I was concerned having anything less than the best felt like settling. That being said, I had very little choice in the matter. I hadn’t been dealt a winning hand in life. I was born without any real advantages to parents without any real means. I’ll be the first to admit that in the race of meritocracy I probably deserved to come up somewhere right in the middle. I was always intelligent, but not the smartest; good looking, but not the handsomest; fit, but not the strongest. The only thing I had that might be considered a talent was a decently good ability to talk to people. It was enough to get me a job as a salesman for a small mattress company. It wasn’t nearly enough to get me the good life I had dreamed of.
Still, if I played my cards right I surely could have rolled that career into some moderate success. I could have saved my money, climbed the ladder, even built my own business if I was feeling frisky. Then I could have passed my wealth on to my future children and maybe, just maybe, they might have had a shot at the life I’d always wanted for myself. That would be the responsible way of doing things. That would be the smart play.
Perhaps I’m selfish, but that plan just never appealed to me.
The thing about the smart play is that it reliably gets you somewhere in life, but it almost never gets you anywhere special. The smart man walks into a casino, strides up to the roulette table, and puts a few of his chips on black. Then he walks out of the casino either a few dollars richer or a few dollars poorer than he was when he went in, but never broken. The stupid man walks in and slams down all of his life savings on the double zero. thirty-seven out of thirty-eight times, the stupid man leaves the casino a pauper without a penny to his name. One out of thirty-eight times, however, the stupid man makes more money than the smart man could ever dream of. The real question, then, is this: was the stupid man really stupid? Or did he weigh the odds, understand how stacked they were against him, and decide that the pain of losing was lesser than the pain of never trying to win? Is it really worse to be destitute than to know that the door which may have led to happiness was always in front of you and you were simply too scared to try and open it?
My name is Bryson Daley, and this is my story. This is the story of the longest unbroken chain of stupid decisions I’ve ever made and how they changed my life, for better or for worse. This is the story of how I left a perfectly good job behind, took out a ridiculous loan against my house with virtually no possibility of paying it back, publicly pursued a woman whose heart I had no chance of winning, bet every penny I had on a game I barely understood, and had the entire ordeal televised for the world to see. This is the story of how I broke every idiot record in the idiot book in the hopes of winning a tournament I had no business entering, and proceeded to lose to the man I wanted to beat more than anyone else on the planet earth. This is the story of what happened when I decided to push my luck beyond all logic and reason, and what the consequences of that decision were.
This is the story of the time I went All In.