Ignorance and assorted other states of bliss [new and slightly improved edition]
First up after a great long weekend, a sincere Thanks to JX3 for introducing me to a lot of the people I've been reading like a junkie for the last few months. For anyone who liked the last post (with the notable exception of Bloody P , who in case you didn't know is a total bastard!) I'm glad, and thanks to a bunch of you for taking the time to say so. For anyone who didn't like it - Mummy always told me: F'EITCTAJ...
Having given it considerable thought over the long weekend, I've arrived at the painful conclusion I'll never come up with anything like that again. For one thing, there just aren't that many memes to memic (yeah, that's a pun...sortof). So that was it, for whatever it was worth. No encore. 5 weeks into the experiment and I reached my high-water mark. Content from hereon in will only get stranger, generally less informative and very possibly less intelligble. This could be construed as what some call: Fair Warning.
The alternative I gnawed on with the desperate nihilism I reserve for trips to the pharmacy to pick up "feminine napkins" for my lady friend - what? yes, alright fine, my Wife, if you want to be all 'legally-binding monogamy' about it - was to pull a true Costanza and quit immediately. Shut 'er down. Go out on a high note. Good Evening Pasadena!* No one offended, a few people mildly amused: any way you add it up it's a plus in the ledger of Odds Things I've Done To Avoid My Research Project. [A list which sadly includes the likes of watching 16 hours of Lifetime - Television for Women (ie. not you, lowlife), scrubbing down a neighbour's chocolate lab - no, that's not a metaphor, and of course, lying comatose in my bed with quilt over head wondering why I ever signed up for said Research Project in the first place. ]
However, in the end I decided to plough forward, in honor of The Poker Champ and other mythical beasts. On that note I'll share today's poker-related observations. These are very much stream-of-unconsciousness, so allow them their right to coexist meaninglessly.
1. Apparently the 6 year-old computer microphone that I have tried to use Zero times before yesterday evening's WWdN does not work. Listening in on the chat was engrossing though; oscillations of pressured speech and dulcet observation. I competely agree with Waffles, Carmen has a voice made for radio, warm sonic caramel. On the other hand, I found the chat experience pretty distracting to my already limited ability to, er...actually play poker. Worst. WWdN. Finish. Ever. 61/68. More impulse control issues, but I have a few more thoughts on this down the line. Still I might be better off sticking to typed chat (almost as girly, but half the calories... )
2. Kat is my new BFF for sending me these totally cool Digital Maple Leafs. My new Research Project Avoidance Project will be to implant them all over the blog. Given the fact that it took 4 different people to try to teach me in real-time how to work IM chat - all kindly avoiding pointing out that I am an idiot - this should tie me up until my contract runs out in June. Much obliged.
3. Don went out on a set of Kings to the nut flush which hit the flop for five-of-five. Don's equivalent of tilt was to simply opine the call of his KK pre-flop re-raise while holding A2h was, "interesting". That's MiamiDon style brotha, and when in an SnG later that night someone did almost the exact same thing to me (rivered a one-outer to behead my lords) I received compliments for not reaming the guy or tilting. All I could say was, "I've seen it happen". Veritas.
4. One of the funniest lines of chat I saw before I was busted pushing my short stack (800) AKo out of the blinds into a 4BB raise from my left by Ostate Poker holding KK (Quick Aside: how bad a play was this on my part? I had limited info on him, so won't claim to know what his range was. Better to reraise and see if he goes over top? Call? I would have hit a K on the flop and likely pushed at that point into the set...also a mistake? I am having a tough time fine tuning the difference between aggression and recklessness).
But back to the line of the night. Ostate Poker (sorry don't know your blog yet, brotha), was playing for the first time and asked G-Rob if he was too. I remember my first couple of blogger tourneys - ya never know if it's cool to just start chatting, and it's a little intimidating when everone seems to have known everyone forever. Yes, I know, now you can't shut me up - I can type fast and I'm a little manic, whatdya want? G-Rob told him "yep, my first time too." You could almost hear the table go, "Dude...WTF?" I busted this little joke shortly before busting myself. Sorry G-Rob, but you definitely had me smiling. I left before it all finished, so I don't know who won, but I know Ostate had a huge stack thanks to eating his Ohioan counterparts -Poker Jones and I. PJ, I like the idea of playing live, shoot my dead money an email and let's work it out.
5. I broke my promise to read more and play less. I have definitely been doing the reading - the Green Book is surgically attached to me these days, but was back playing only 2 days later. Yeah, I was jonesing a bit, I'll admit it - better watch that...It was clearly a mistake, because I am in the murky transition period of exiting The Cave. The light is bright to eyes unused to it, and as a result, I find myself playing worse for the uncertainty. In an effort to play with a better decision making process, I am taking so long to do things like calculate odds and fix my read that I am getting timed out of hands! This is of interest to me because all I do all day long [when not dithering my research rotation's away] is make tough decisions in relatively short packets of time. I guess that's the point of years of training, whether in the lab or at the felt.
6. There's something to be said for just truly not knowing how bad you are.
I played two live winner-take-all SnG's with a bunch of Radiologists on Monday - a river suckout cost me the first one, but I dispatched the pack in under an hour in game 2. My Point: my friends are (with 1 or 2 exceptions) horrible poker players, but don't know it. They love to play! For me, beating them is no longer any fun - it feels like I'm fighting below my weight class. That said, I'm only a (graying) hair better than them, and most of you have a much better handle on what you're doing at the table than I do. So the irony is, out of my friends, I am the one dissatisfied with my game, despite consistently beating the only live game I play. There are moments when I wish I could go back to the way I was; unaware I was a slightly bigger fish in a pond teeming with them. Now I guess I'm in evolution...unless of course you don't believe in that kind of thing, in which case you could say I've willed into a new state of being by Divine Providence.
7. I read a bunch of Felicia's posts after Wes recommended her blog. One laid out the nature of the work required to become adept at the game. It reminded me of the work involved in learning to play chess competently. With the notable difference that in poker a kick in the nuts, while holding the near-nuts, is just around the corner. I'm not adverse to hard work and study; my life these last few years doesn't seem to have been much else. But I was unsure of my motivation until I really had a good think about it over the weekend and set some goals.
Ironically, given that Felicia's recent missive was interpreted by some as being critical of tourney specialists, I think MTT specialization is the only thing that makes any sense for me. I think she was simply criticizing the Schmoe who just wants to show up to WSOP-ME, get red-hot Kanter lucky [who else thinks crippling Class Act Greg Raymer on his unbelievable run is going to come back in a bad, bad kind of Karmic way for that guy?] and get a big paycheck, without understanding, or respecting, the game the pros work so hard at. Fair enough. For me, the only real rush I get out of poker now is when I think I played the hand well. (funda-Mentally speaking) I'm grounded enough not to play for stakes that could hurt me financially, but that means that the payouts don't mean much either. So if it ain't the money, what would be cool? Becoming the kind of amateur who could compete at WSOP. Not win - these days that looks more like an issue of Is This Your Day? - but compete. And earning the seat ala cmitch and Fuel55, not just buying in. That would be cool. Something to tell the grandkids about, and it might make for a decent post or two (yep, I really have turned into a blogger).
But yeah, there's about forty hard yards between here and the goal line. So for now, baby steps - startup poker education these next two months, play fewer games, but play them more seriously. I'll try cash games, better live games and some MTT's next month, in addition to this SnG habbit I've formed.
Still that - however unapologetically unoriginal - is what I want to accomplish. For me, a stated goal has always been the start of getting serious about doing the work required to obtaining it. I'm pretty sure I'll try a few WSOP events 2007 (yeah, even if I have to buy-in) just to cut a few teeth. But eyes-on-the-prize would likely be 2009, est field=43, 287. For entertainment's value I am considering coming to Vegas during this year's Jackpot Jubillee just to see what the damn thing looks like...when is that WPBT thing anyway?
Man's reach must exceed his grasp, else what's a Heaven for, eh? Put another way, Hope springs eternal, and some of us think that's a beautiful thing.
Doubts of course, spring infernal, and will need to be dealt with as days go by.
* I will donate a kidney to anyone who gets that reference. No not the good one - the ponderous lumpy-looking one on my right. Think 80's synth rock live albums...