The idea of a poker blog was born after stumbling over parallels between poker and business as well as parallels to the crypto cosmos.
I´ll give you an introduction to myself, so you have an idea of my background and where I stand on the issues, which we will be handling in this blog:
My name is Vanja Milic, born in Germany somewhat 42 years ago, where I grew up, until my mother remarried an American, which gave me 4 years of my childhood in the US. He, my stepdad, was the one introducing me to chess and sparking my love for strategic games.
In 2005 I was introduced to poker, Texas Holdem in particular, playing with friends for cents, more sociable gatherings than anything else.
I have studied mathematics and later again psychology, so one could assume a career in poker was inevitable.
In 2007 I was able to finance my life and college by playing online poker, but after a while I realized I had fooled myself, by believing I somehow cracked the system and have found freedom, yet playing online poker, in front of a screen, on a desk chair, to certain hours, for certain hours… I basically caught myself having an office job! This lead to a somewhat longer break from poker for me, leaving me without a source of income. I did what most do, jobbed around first, looking for the next adventure in the meantime. While working as a stagehand and in other areas of events I found myself surrounded by quite a lot of capable people, yet most of them underpaid and certainly not valued.
The idea was born to create an event agency, based on fair wages while explaining to customers, that they would have the best personnel available for their events. Within a year we were the biggest agency in Berlin, within 3
years in Germany, starting to compete successfully worldwide. At this point managing the company meant almost all day every day in the office, while pulling customers like Cirque du Soleil who required work all around the world had sparked my love and interest for travelling. So again I was left with having to find something new for my life, at least after selling the company I didn’t have to job around this time.
I´ve kept poker as a hobby all along and now having time on my hands again, I wanted to see for myself the difference between online and live poker, so many players were talking about… and they were right, I never really looked back since! Playing live poker opened so many more strategies, opportunities, possibilities up to me so that I now believe, it is a game I will never stop learning about for the rest of my life.
After learning enough to hold my ground live, since the differences to online are immense, I moved on to travel and play poker. On the way I didn’t just learn to become better at a game, I learned about networking, given that poker players in any place on this earth find and organize themselves in one form or another rather quickly! Further, I learned about investing, analyzing, negotiating, decision making, game theory, all aspects that helped in the game, but also opened up parallels to business and markets!
Back in Berlin I started my own poker club, running my own games, legal and illegal, became at one point a poker coach for Gaming Institute, the biggest operator in the field within the German-speaking part of Europe, later on, I became a board member of the Berlin Poker Association as well as the German Poker Association, in which I´m now acting as a curator.
Within the Association I had a stirring and upsetting experience. Someone who was blind managed to play the game with marked cards customized with braille. This itself amazed me, what bothered me, was to see other players at the table, without special needs, assuming the person must be stupid and treating him as such. After this experience I visited places, who helped people with special needs, to see this a common problem: people with limited vision, hearing, any kind of problem, are assumed to be stupid and are told so constantly.. which then, of course, reflects on their self-awareness.
So the idea of an NGO was born, because I thought, this could easily be turned around, using strategic games, games that need brainpower, to give people with special needs confidence and at the same time an opportunity, to be included, to interact within society. The NGO is called Mindgames e.V., works with partners in Berlin and some other places in Germany and with REG, the biggest charity created by poker players such as Liv Boeree and Philipp Gruissem.
You see the game has given me much more opportunities in life than just a source of income, I´ve learned a lot by it, have and had different business – and networking successes, the chance to learn and teach and give back!
At the moment I´m based on Koh Phangan, Thailand, travelling Asia to play poker and am starting to write a poker blog for hardforking.com, the creator of which I also met on this island… at a private poker game 😉
This abundance of opportunities, innovations and possibilities is something which I believe lies within the game itself and its history, comparable to any new market, which will be the first subject of this poker blog!