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    The Mental Game with Jared Tendler feat Ryan Eriquezzo

    Posted by jared tendler October 17, 2012

    “I couldn’t pretend anymore.” Listen to Ryan Eriquezzo tell his tale of suffering and redemption throughout a poker career marked by highs and lows.

    The Mental Game with Jared Tendler returned to the QuadJacks Network on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, with special guest Ryan Eriquezzo.

    Originally from Danbury, Connecticut, 28-year-old Eriquezzo came under serious fire in July during the 2012 WSOP, after his ex-girlfriend Amanda Musumeci outed him on Twitter for having struck her. Two months later, Eriquezzo famously atoned by posting a starkly honest and personal blog detailing in great depth his relationship with Musumeci, his demons with drugs and alcohol, and his ultimate road to recovery and redemption.

    (Ryan Eriquezzo’s blog can be found at ryaneriquezzo.blogspot.com.)

    He talks to Jared about how he first got into poker, “in a very, very minus EV way.” Eriquezzo began playing in college, losing much more than he won. At one point, he used his very last $3,000 to buy into a Foxwoods 3k buy-in event, something he looks back upon as being enormously foolish, regardless of the fact he went on to get third in it for a $30,000 score. He used part of this new bankroll to buy into another event he admits he shouldn’t have, a 2k prelim, and chopped that one for $50,000.

    This incredible run of beginner’s luck would be encouraging by any standard, but Eriquezzo says it went nowhere. “In the midst of all this, I’m using drugs and alcohol and exhibiting horrendous bankroll management skills,” he tells Jared on The Mental Game. “I was broke several times, four times I think between 2008 and 2012.”

    It got so bad that he was ready to quit poker altogether. He had no idea what he was going to do next, but he knew he did not enjoy playing poker anymore. A WSOP Circuit event at Caesars Palace Atlantic City in March was going to be his last tournament. He went on to win it, and thus qualified for the WSOP National Championship.

    Even this score could not put Eriquezzo on the proper track. “Poker enables us to kind of live in an immature and unaccountable manner, if we want it to.”

    During this time, Eriquezzo met and began dating fellow poker professional Amanda Musumeci. It was a turbulent relationship to say the least, and it was what would ultimately lead Eriquezzo to hit bottom. “What really did it for me was finally meeting Amanda. Treating her in the manner that I treated her for eight months because of my own mental struggles, and then losing her as a result was really the first serious consequence of my behavior that I had in a long, long time.”

    Eriquezzo describes the lead-up to the violent confrontation with Musumeci, which took place on July 4. “She said something to me. I think it was along the lines of, you know what Ryan, I’m done giving you chances. I can’t deal with you anymore.” What happened next, Eriquezzo says, was “really awful.”

    “It is something that is so appalling to me, and something that I have such strong feelings against, I just couldn’t even believe it.” Despite this, Eriquezzo admits that instead of dealing with what he had done, he opted to go into a state of alcohol-fueled denial for the rest of the tournament, the 2012 WSOP National Championship that he would go on to win.

    Eriquezzo does not hold it against Musumeci for tweeting the truth about him. “That was actually the best thing that could have ever happened to me. When those tweets came out, I was like, I can’t pretend anymore. This happened. This is out there now.”

    He has since done as much as he can to repair his life, a process he describes to Jared Tendler in this 30 minute interview. Eriquezzo hopes that he can also help others overcome similar issues. One way he hopes to do that is by continuing to update his personal blog with his own experiences and confessions.

    Some people continue to view Eriquezzo negatively, but he says that he is beginning to deal with it. “For every 10 people that want to view it like that, if I can find one person who may be struggling with the same type of things that I was struggling with, and I can help that person never have to hit a bottom like I hit, then it’s all worth it.”

    About jared tendler

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