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It’s Not Staying In Vegas

I was hoping to regale you with tales of triumphant poker conquests from my latest trip to Las Vegas. But those victories never happened. There were great meals (though unhealthy). There was great company (including on walks and in the gym...so healthy) and the swankiest airport run ever (10 minutes in a Bentley which had (and I’m not making this up) massage chairs built into the back seat (so arguably healthy). But I got my ass handed to me at the poker tables.


I don’t win every time I play. Nobody does. And I don’t expect to. Nor do I lose every time I play. But this trip was different. Some of you who play poker might be interested to read about the many epic bad beats. But I’m not going to bore the civilians with hand reviews here. Those in the know might presume that I’m a “fish” or a “rock” or a “maniac” or just not a very good player.


But that ain’t it either. Am I a pro? No. I’m a strong low-stakes player with a history of net wins. This trip I ran into three straight days of unrelenting unplayable starting hands, interspersed with missed flops, called and missed semi-bluffs and lost races. (Ya. I know. More poker jargon. Ask a friend or family member who plays). Winning at poker isn’t just about luck. But I lost every single hand where luck was a factor, and I was not expecting that.


Don’t worry. I didn’t lose the business. I’m still proprietor of Tonic Inc. But losing does tend to put a dent in the overall Las Vegas experience. Empirically speaking, winning is better. The salt in the emotional wound is that I had already spent (in my mind) the winnings - I was going to hire a personal trainer for the year. YOU SEE? I WAS GOING TO DO SUCH GREAT THINGS!


Now someone who doesn’t believe in luck or fate wouldn’t be upset with what happened. They’d attribute it to the randomness of the universe. But a person who does believe in luck might respond one of two ways. They might see it as an omen or harbinger of further bad luck, or even cosmic retribution. Alternatively, they might assume that all the bad luck was left at the tables - like a small offering to the gods.


Me? After I lost a big hand that I had a 90% chance of winning on the last night of what I now refer to as my ‘Lose Vegas’ trip, all of those thoughts rushed into my head. I tried a mindfulness exercise - because, you know, health and wellness - in an effort to drown out the false narratives. But I was full-tilt steaming mad and my mindfulness practice is, how-shall-I-put-this, a negligible work in progress. I stared at a few more hands and then summoned the wisdom of Kenny Rogers. I knew it was time to “fold em”. So I pushed away from the table with my few remaining chips and lamented that I’ll remain in group exercise classes (and away from the casino) for the foreseeable future.


Happily for you, there are no losers with this issue of Tonic. Joel Thuna and Claude Gallant explore the connection between Alzheimer’s Disease and sugar. Carlyle Jansen discusses dating in the digital age and we excerpt a recent interview on THE TONIC Talk Show and podcast about the natural treatment of addictions with Dr. Emily Lipinski ND. As always, if you want to share bad beat stories or discuss anything you’ve read in this note or this issue, please feel free to contact me.