I’m All Up In Your Brain/ I Could Not Be More Mortified/My Essential Nature

Listen, I’ve been crazy busy, so I’m not getting my Poker Blog posts up as quickly as any of us (my no readers and me) would like. The day after I win the lotto and my schedule opens up, I guarantee next-day delivery of my posts. Until then, I’ll do the best that I can. To catch up, I’m doing a combined post (again) of the last three poker games. That’s the other problem: we play every Friday and there’s a pretty good chance that we’ve all got severe gambling addictions. At least I'm finally off the horse tranquilizers.

26 August 2005

I don’t have time to get that far into it. The winning streak continues, and I’m almost back to where I was before I went on my months-long cold run. At the end of the game, I was at my fourth-highest total for the year, a little over $696, which, when added to my Las Vegas earnings and to my poker tournament winnings, gives me a profit of  $994. Almost a grand. I know you feel me.

I Could Be Your Hypothalamus, I’m So Far Inside Your Head

The best part of the whole night? My running verbal battles with Ivan, poker player deluxe and designer/programmer of this here website. Ivan’s changed. When he first started playing, he just took care of his poker business and he didn’t talk any smack. As the months have progressed, though, Ivan’s turned into a smack-talker/head-games player of the first rank. Our game’s pretty ruthless. Everybody who plays at and stays in our game (we drop players all the time; it’s Darwinian and cruel and beautiful and cruel) is badass, you know how we roll, and we’ll do whatever it takes to get each others’ stacks.

Back to Ivan. He’ll use whatever he can to gain the slightest advantage. For Ivan, this means psychological warfare: talking up his cards, calling people out, showing his cards to people who have folded because the cards are so beautiful that he has to share that beauty with others. And it’s working; Ivan’s been pulling green on a consistent basis for the past few months. You’ve got to admire his ruthlessness.

I, myself, in order to seek an edge, have, in the past two months, taken to wearing locs at the table, the better to hide my sensitive, card-revealing eyes. I also wear my WSOP hat in order to remind the rest of the poker crew, that, uh, that I’ve been to Las Vegas recently, I guess. The locs and the hat, as embarrassing as they are, might actually be helping; in the last two months, I’ve been making money again.

Ivan, though, decided to counter my locs with locs of his own. He went out and bought himself the biggest pair of sunglasses that I’ve ever seen. In fact, he told us that he told the guy at the counter that he wanted the biggest sunglasses that they had in the store. Remember Ponch, Ponch from CHiPs? Those are Ivan’s new locs, but he must have had them super-sized. Essentially, Ivan’s wearing two big mirrors on his face now. I bet his neck must get tired.

It’s so paranoid and competitive and fearful at our game now that we’re basically reliving the Cold War. I had created a “loc gap” and Ivan went and got locs of his own. Fine, if he’s going to de-gap me on the locs, then I’m going to de-gap him on the smack-talking.

To take my smack-talking to its highest, most soul-destroying level, I decided to use the reflecivity of Ivan’s glasses to my verbal advantage. I guess that during one of our hands, Ivan had again gotten stunningly lovely cards because he had to show them to Bert, inventor of the Bert Classic and the caesura, but Ivan accidentally also showed his cards to me and I had seen that he was holding a three of hearts. When it came to me, Ivan was saying that he knew I’d fold because of the bet that he’d made. I said that I was going to have to fold not because of his bet, but because I had seen that he was holding a three of hearts in the reflection on his locs and that I couldn’t beat the hand that he had already made. I further said that I’d been able to see his cards all night and hadn't he noticed how I hadn't been going heads-up against him? Ivan was not happy. A few minutes later, when it was almost my turn to deal and I was about to shuffle the second deck (we use two decks so that we can save time in between hands), I started holding the faces of random cards up to Ivan’s locs and saying what they were.

Ivan was totally freaked at this point, but I eventually let him off the hook and told him that he had accidentally shown me his cards when he had showed them to Bert, inventor of the Bert Light and crack cocaine. I guess I’m just a nice guy.

2 September 2005

Well, this is a little embarrassing. We played from nine until two in the morning, five hours total for those of you who can’t do the math. After all that battling, I had broken even. Even. Not up a quarter, not down a quarter. It’s almost as if the game didn’t happen. I’d rather lose than break even. I’d rather lose big than break even. Seriously, I’d rather have a spectacular, soul-destroying, cash-depleting, breathtakingly breathtaking flameout than break even. Of course, I’d also rather win than break even.

9 September 2005

I take it all back, I’d rather break even than lose. I guess that, because of my current winning streak, I’d forgotten what it feels like to lose big. Losing big sucks. Losing small sucks.

I was down thirty-five amazingly quickly. You know how people have a hard time breaking their habits? One of mine is to play way too many hands early in a night. I guess that I just want to get in on the action, even if my cards are no good. I know that I do this, and, still, I can’t stop myself. After I’m down, I come to my senses and settle down, though I have to play catch-up for the rest of the night.

Play catch-up I did, and I was up about $45, an eighty-dollar turnaround. I was as happy as a little girl whose parents chose not to go through with the divorce. This was when my other habit kicked in. If I get ahead, I start to play way too many hands again. What the hell is my problem? I know this and so does everybody else. They can just wait patiently for me to give them all of their money back. Seriously, I need therapists working around the clock.

That’s what’s amazing about poker: your character will be revealed and exploited because, try as you might, you just can’t go against your essential nature for very long. If you’re an aggressive person, you’ll play like an aggressive person. If you’re a coward, cowardly will you play. All you can hope to do is to fight against yourself for as long as you can and play as well as you can.

Luckily the game ended at two in the morning, when I was still up $14.50. If we had played very much longer, I would have had a losing night. Thankfully, everybody in our game but me has a life, so we had to stop. The winning streak continues.

Oh yeah, Ivan made well over $100, and he had shown up unusually late. Damn it, I guess that I'm going to have to go out and buy the biggest locs that I can find.

Oh shit I laughed till I coughed...

"I started holding the faces of random cards up to Ivan’s locs and saying what they were. "

I just got over a bad cold, and here I am coughing again because you cracked me up.