Professional Poker Player Comes Out
The Stony Brook, N.Y.-based player wrote that poker is welcoming to different races and genders, but yet there is not one high-profile gay male player. Somerville decided he would become the first.
“I always knew I wasn’t straight, but I never spoke a word of it for twenty two years, and nobody really ever knew otherwise,” Somerville writes.” I dated women exclusively through my teens and early 20s, doing my best to convince myself that it wasn’t something I had to pursue, that maybe I’d grow out of it, that I’d be happier with women anyway, that I just should focus on other things. After a lot of struggling and a lot of anxiety, I eventually came out to one of my close friends when I was 22. That same year, the second and third people I came out to were my parents (probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done), from which I basically received the not-exactly-what-I-needed reaction of ‘keep it to yourself, don’t tell anyone.’ I told very few people from then until I was 24 (by the way, my parents are way better now).”
Somerville says he decided to begin putting his happiness his first and making money second (he won nearly half a million dollars at the 2011 World Series of Poker, playing No-Limit, Hold ‘Em).
“As 2011 continued on, and my mindset became more focused on being happy, I pushed myself to make the changes I wanted,” he writes. “I started being more and more open, telling more and more people, and eventually started dating. I became more empowered by the growing personal freedoms I felt as I increasingly was just myself by default, less and less often censoring my thoughts, desires, and feelings. The small personal ‘victories’ piled up, I gained a lot of forward momentum, and the positive changes started to snowball … and here we are now, writing this post. I’m totally open in my personal life, in an amazing relationship that means a great deal to me, and bottom line, I’m honestly happier now than I’ve ever been.”