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Endurance Writer and Ironman Poker Record Holder Damon Shulenberger Interviewed
Agented mystery-thriller author and Guinness Book of World Records holder Damon Shulenberger sits down with Fourerr's Marissa Sayno to discuss the components necessary to achieve integrity-driven success.
Poker has played a vital role in Shulenberger's evolution, with the game providing a strategic grounding to make optimal decisions in as a freelancer, surviving by wits alone. In December, 2013, he entered the Asian Poker Tour-Resorts World Ironman poker tournament in Manila and nearly 49 hours later won the longest continuous, deepest-structured tournament in no limit hold'em history. He describes his experience:
"Having lived in Asia extensively I had an acute awareness of how people at the event viewed me at the table. I have lived between cultures for so long, I embraced the fact that there were players from the Philippines, Korea, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and England. Poker is a social game and I conversed with everyone. I tried to project a tight-aggressive image, such that I could get away with a major bluff occasionally. Taking calculated risks was easy, staying awake for nearly 49 hours straight was the hard part. Outwit, outlast, endure. Somehow I did it, winning the most challenging competitive endeavor of my life."
Winning this tournament, one of only two associated with poker players listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, proved the start of a year of achievement. In June, 2014, Shulenberger was awarded the annual Book Passage Mystery Writer's Conference scholarship for his literary mystery-thriller Arisugawa Park. He subsequently secured the services of a respected literary agent, with offices in Marin and Paris. The full-length novel is currently under final revisions:
"Set in Tokyo, a pair of seemingly unrelated events––the love hotel murder of a salaryman and the disappearance of an American English teacher, set in play a string of events that put lives at risk and have profound geopolitical implications.
With action centered in Tokyo's fast-paced epicenter, we follow Eve, an Eastern European hostess, as she recovers from waking drugged underneath her dead lover. On the run, she searches for clues that will unravel the mystery of how she was set up to take the fall for murder. At the same time, we follow a young female officer Kaori as she fights ingrained sexism in the suburban police force, and seeks out answers to a routine English teacher missing persons’ case that her superiors don’t consider worth pursuing. An aging Japanese police officer Hayao, just months from retirement, joins forces with Kaori in solving a puzzle that has no immediate rhyme or reason, but carries with it grave and immediate consequences.
Written in a spare literary style reminiscent of classic thriller writers such as John LeCarre, Arisugawa Park eschews the less-is-more approach of boilerplate genre narratives. Taking time to build up character and suspense, this complex narrative interweaves multiple perspectives in a game of cat and mouse that ends with a race against imminent attack on Tokyo and the very real possibility of a confrontation with North Korea. Arisugawa Park combines detailed vignettes of life in modern Japan with a plot that deepens readers’ understanding of the underlying cultural and historical legacy of Japanese-Korean relations"
Just a month before attending the mystery writer's conference, Shulenberger began work on a nonfiction book A Very Dark Game - Inside Poker's $1 million Tournament. The concept came to him while covering the 2014 World Series of Poker in June as an OnTilt Radio media member. He conceived of a book that would give an unvarnished account of what $15 million One Drop winner Daniel Colman controversially called "a very dark game." As Shulenberger explains it in the introduction:
"Amid a high-stakes poker landscape littered with businessmen with seemingly unlimited bank accounts, pros deep in make-up, and outsized personalities (with egos to match), the “Big One for ONE DROP” stands out for the unadulterated shot of high-wire tension it provides. Bringing together the best of the best (as well as some of the worst), the million dollar buy-in tournament has transitioned in two short years from what many saw as a one-off stunt into the ultimate “bragging rights” event for poker’s wealthy and elite––not quite the equivalent of the WSOP Main Event, but something similarly media frenzied. Televised under the cool blue lights of Rio’s Amazon Room, the One Drop offers viewers the chance to witness many of poker’s biggest name on one stage, battling it out for more-than-life-
The book A Very Dark Game is due to be published in early 2015, while the novel Arisugawa Park is expected to be published by early 2016.
To access the interview "Up Close With Author and Ironman Poker Record Holder Damon Shulenberger"
To learn more about A Very Dark Game - Poker's $1 Million Dollar Tournament, visit http://www.averydarkgame.com.
To gain insight into Shulenberger's literary endeavors, from Arisugawa Park to his poetry-art project Earth Fabric, visit damonshulenberger.com.