Poker Thoughts

The other day Teresa bought more ice for the keg we abandoned on Saturday night.  I had just left it lay where it was, since there was a good amount of beer in it still and I hadn’t decided what to do with it.  That’s usually how I work… I see something, I acknowledge something must be done, and then I move on until something strikes me as the right thing to do.

But she bought ice, so there’s only one thing TO do!  I iced the keg! 

First I moved it up onto the porch.  It’s still pretty heavy.  I’d probably say half full, which is a bummer.  Once it iced up and the foam died down it wasn’t too bad, but did go flat pretty quickly.

I had a couple (or maybe a few.. it was my birthday!), some wings, and some ice cream cake and then went down to play some poker tournaments.  I’m back playing poker tournaments again.  I love cash games, but they’ve been a bit boring to me lately.  Too much of a grind.  It’s probably because I can’t afford to move up to the next levels where the money fluctuations make my heart flutter a bit.

It was early in the tournament and I drew an A9 of spades on the button.  A bunch of limpers and I think 5 people see the flop.  958, rainbow (one of each suit).  Guy on my left was first to act and he was nearly out and he bet half of the chips he had left.  It folded around and I went ahead and raised him all-in.  I think he had like J4 of one of the suits on the table.  The turn card matched his suit, and so did the river.  He drew out a flush on me.

I started looking at my desk to try to figure out how I could hit it without hurting myself.  I had my beer glass in my right hand, and the pitcher I had used to fill it was next to my left hand so I couldn’t come up with a way that didn’t result in beer spillage so I sucked it in.

I sucked in the temptation to strike, not the beer.  Okay, I sucked them both in.

Then I wondered, ‘hmm, why?’

I came up with the insight that I felt entitled to it.  I clearly had the better hand on the flop, but he pulled the longshot way of beating me.  Although there were other ways he could have done it, he picked the annoying one. 

What are some other reasons I’m entitled to it?  Because I’m a better player, LDO!  (LDO means ‘like duh, obviously)  How dare someone make a mistake and beat ME!

On poker tables it isn’t uncommon for a losing player to start mouthing off in chat.  They have ways to report them and they can get chat-banned if they get too nasty, but I always wondered at those people, and why they got so upset they had to point out the errors in the other person’s play.  I mean honestly… that’s the point of playing poker, isn’t it?  To take advantage of other people’s mistakes?  The cool thing about poker is sometimes they do win, even though they make mistakes, so they keep playing. 

It’s because they felt were entitled to the win, and they lost.  Oh, the injustice of it all.  They had to prove somehow that they are better so they try using words since the cards didn’t work.

When I was in Mississippi I was reading a paper called Poker Player Pages or something like that.  Very cool mag that is free to players.  In it Mike Caro had an article in it where he talked about something to the effect of an early warning system for bad stuff.  And I’m going to butcher it.  I apologize, Mike, but I’m working from memory and I can’t find the article online.

As I recall it went something like on January 1st, you knew that chances were that 300 bad things were going to happen to you that year.  When you made it to the next January first, only 250 had happened.  How would you feel?

What if you knew that chances were 100 bad things were going to happen and 250 happened?  Clearly you’d be more upset in the second situation than the first.  Why?  Because bad things happened that you didn’t deserve!

But say you didn’t put a number on it, and just said ‘bad things are going to happen’.  What you’ve done is you’ve taken the emotional impact out of the bad thing happening, and now you can focus on handling it, or just moving on.  It becomes more ‘oh, here’s the bad thing’ then ‘ZOMG I HAVE A BAD THING HAPPENING!

(Should I explain the ZOMG thing?  It’s an internet thing… usually used to mean that someone is so excited that they can’t take the time to make sure they don’t have typos… OMG is ‘oh my gosh’ according to a recent cellphone commercial)

Other than occasionally looking for the softest spot to strike my desk I don’t really ’tilt’ or get angry at poker when I’m playing online.  I get more frustrated when my attention is divided so that I can’t focus, but that’s something else entirely.  My online poker game generally isn’t ruled by tilt… but I do think I can use the insight in every day life.

Hope this wasn’t too boring.  I probably could have just summed it up by saying ‘Shit Happens’. 

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