Monday, January 31, 2005
"Blogs are 100x gayer than bulletin boards. And 1000x gayer than Usenet."
The Fat Guy
Yes, I'm still on hiatus. But I feel the urge to ramble right now.
Humour me and the vicoden.
Let's start off our Monday with one of my fave pics:
Maria enjoys a snack
So who's more dangerous?
USA drunks > insurgents
Number of people killed in Iraq on election day: 35 (source: The New York Times, 1/31/05)
Average number of Americans killed daily by drunk drivers: 47 (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003 data)
I spent a good chunk of yesterday digging through the Iraqi blogs. If you have any interest, I would suggest Healing Iraq or Iraq the Model as jumping off points. As a long-time reader of these blogs, yesterday was a rare good day. For the record, I read poker blogs, Iraqi blogs and food blogs. That's it, though, Blogs are gay.
Anyway, for a few weeks now, I've had this idea of writing about the gestalt of the poker blogging community bouncing around my head. I'm a big believer in community, per se, and our scene has been a fascinating one to watch and encourage since our nascent beginnings. Who'da thunk?
Both poker playing and blogging are solitary, individual pursuits. But somehow both have melded into a kind of group activity. It's like an accidental lab experiment with unexpected & amazing results.
I never dreamt this blog (and poker blogs, in general) would become popular. I stll remember in December of '03 when I was getting around 50 hits a day, mostly from fellow poker bloggers whose writing I truly admired and respected, and thinking how cool it was and couldn't possibly get any better. Ah, the halcyon days.
Yet look at us now.
Otis blogging professionally for PokerStars in Denmark, Hank beginning his first day at FullTilt, Grubby moving to Vegas, and me sitting here typing away one-handed.
Oh the humanity.
I'm simply feeling nostalgic after reading Pauly's superb, honest retrospective post.
Go read it now!
I'd love to pontificate about meta-blogging, a topic near and dear to my heart, but I'm hurting and typing is too tedious for me. But someday, I'm looking forward to writing up a retrospective of our community, or at the very least, what it's been like for me. As the reluctant BlogFather, I may have something of value to add to this conversation. Bah, prolly not.
This blog is an accident. One that I'm still making up as I go along. Some folks are just naturally talented writers who have a clear voice. I'm not one of those people - I floundered for quite awhile before discovering what my blog was. I knew I could ramble about poker, that's a given. This blog, in some ways, supplanted lengthy, drunken emails I would write to poker buddies late at night. And I think they're thankful for that.
Blogging is tougher than it looks. Both Pauly and BG's posts really got me thinking. I think they meant to inspire and encourage new bloggers in a roundabout way - blogging & community really is organic - you can't force it.
Regardless, I've tried my best to be a cheerleader for all the poker blogs - I've always felt that was a worthy cause. The more the merrier has been my calling card. Plus, it's a small way of giving back to this community that has actually changed my life.
If you had told me 18 months ago that I'd be quitting my job to play poker professionally, I would have laughed in your face at the mere idea.
Yet here I sit.
A professional gambler.
That seems so bizarre to me... a professional gambler. I say to myself, "I'm no gambler, damnit, I'm a poker player!" I intellectually understand that I gamble on the turn of a card but I *still* don't feel like a gambler.
Poker player (and anthropologist) David Hayano did a study of poker players and the poker subculture in the 80's in which he theorized about the meaning of gambling. He noted that the poker subculture offers certain things to its inhabitants - namely; the "opportunity to make one's own decisions, the desire to be greedy, generous, or noble, and the quest for some form of organized social activity that is repetitive and ritualized and yet offers unpredictability and action."
David wrote a fine book, Poker Faces, but for me, it's been all about learning (and accepting) the "process of poker". By which I mean, one of the most important skills a successful poker player can have is emotional management. I know I harp on this, but I truly consider this one of my most important assets. It took me years to overcome the histrionic hurdles of bad beats, bad players drawing out on me, getting poked in the eye by players on a lucky streak - and when I did, I've consistently won at this silly game. Coincidence?
Poker is a combination of luck and skill. People think mastering the skill part is hard, but they're wrong. The trick to poker is mastering the luck."
Jesse May, Shut Up and Deal
Progress in poker is always an erratic one. I've written extensively about plateau's and learning before, so I won't beat that dead horse. But when I look at my poker earnings notebook, I see a jagged, upward graph-line that never goes straight up but zig zags up the page.
"Income in poker is not made in a linear way."
A key to the game, especially when playing every damn day, is realizing that after booking a good-sized win, you sit the next day knowing it's likely to go backward again. You must be willing to risk losing some back, as a condition to moving forward again. Damn variance conundrum.
I've now been on my own for over 3 months. I've done better than I expected but there have still been some nerve wracking weeks. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything, but then again, I wouldn't recommend it either. My only regret is not playing any tournaments - I really thought I'd be tackling those.
I finally joined the tables again this weekend and Party treated me very well. If I wanted to bore you, I'd post the hand histories. Trust me, some awful players out there.
A new blogger sums it all up:
All hail the blogfather. . .------------
I've been putting off this post, but it has to come as it seems everyone eventually comes around to doing. I've always hated Party, I don't know what it is about the site, I just can't stand it. But I've deposited there for various reasons without ever playing. Mainly to play at the blogger table, and test my skills against some of the best. (Even if they are just screwing around) I haven't been able to find the blogger table lately, so I've been playing a Party NL $25 table in the background while playing a S&G on Stars. The reason is to try to build my bankroll for the inevitable hits I will take at the blogger table.
The thing about it is, I can't lose. I play ABC, simple, stupid, patient poker and make a killing. Every session I've played lately I've won. Tonight I've been playing for 40 minutes, while playing a $30 S&G and reading blogs, and have run my starting $25 up to $95. It's just absurd, the fish school by the 1,000's. I apologize Iggy, you are a genius and I doubted you. Ring games are now the sole property of Party.
So consider signing up on Party Poker with Bonus Code IGGY as a means of supporting this unemployed, non-professional blogger. It costs you nothing and it gives me a damn reason to come on here and type this drivel out, even one-handed.
Feb 2nd - This Wednesday!
$20 +2 Entry fee
Anyone can play.
Thanks for stopping by and reading. Sorry for the lame post but it shall have to suffice. I'll have a veritable plethora of links and content once I get out of this sling. For now I leave you with this legendary RGP essay from poker author, Jesse May. I ain't posted this since last April, enjoy:
From: Jesse May--------------
It's started. The erosion of poker truth has begun. In today's world it is he who slings the mud farthest that clamors to the top. Hold your tongue Johnny come lately, watch out Daniel in the lion's den, because poker players know that if a man has fleas he's been lying with the dogs. And the men of respect they know who the dogs are, with quiet mouths and jerky glances they've been fading dogs for years, because it's not so long ago. Maybe the microscope got turned upside down into a megaphone, maybe every televised hand has been parsed twice and passed through Sklansky, but that doesn't mean that past is ashes. And in the poker world, character has never been fleeting. The players have minds like elephants caught in the steel traps, the world was never so big that you could sit down at the table and nod just once for times gone by. The water's under the bridge with the writing always clear on the wall. Poker's big now, but the story is the same as ever. Someone will be getting fucked, and if you're desperate enough to want to survive, sell your soul and join the team. Don't worry. He'll throw you bones, he'll toss mongrel scraps and promises from above, after all Don King made Holyfield rich and famous. Rich and famous and collared to a post.
The men of respect have mostly been rangers. They grew up with talent, they were burdened with honor, and they banded alone and faded getting fucked. There have been freight trains of others, cattle cars in and rib roast going out, and the few mangy cows that avoided the slaughter bled from the jugular and squealed like pigs before the devil came down and offered the deal. And the men of respect? They padded softly, out of the limelight, from game to game and in the wee hours of the night. Stu Ungar showed up in a coffeshop in Tahoe on the morning of a final table to find the other nine having breakfast as one. He howled. They shouldn't have made him mad. He didn't
collapse with the Ace-king when the pressure came on. And the dogs hated him for it. And they always will. The oppressed people, they never want to be free. All they want is to rule.
Is it true Mr. Molson? Is it true that there are players who will benefit from the fact that no sponsorships are allowed? Is it true that one management firm has sprung up, a company whose office is in some building in Minnesota, the same building as the W pis-pee? Is it true that Bile has handpicked some players to promote, to promote in
the advertising and the commercials, leading lights to front the team, while the rest of the players have to listen to prize pool bullshit, to an incessant drone that is aeons old, band alone and fade getting fucked? There was only one player at the Sands who didn't take the money, who said sponsorships are for children while $40,000 was being offered for two hours wearing of a hat. There was one who claimed to be above the fray, but players want to know why. Players want to know why. You think the Furrier's a savior, you think he took something where nothing's been before? Well then Bill Gates is a genius, too, with clean hands to boot. But there's a lot more at stake then one man replacing his Toyota with a Lexus.
There's poker players out there, stars of the game, men of respect who hold their tongue and go about their business, because they've doing it since boo. Since the Furrier was a snake. Since he was a hooded serpent who bought people and smashed them. What you think? You think they don't deserve what's fair? You think you can tell a man who's survived the war that the gun is not loaded?
Make no mistake Johnny. Money is not added. Money is not filtering down. Promises are not being kept. The players are the stars, they always have been, and the overlords will be thieves long before we call them Daddy. Basketball and baseball, there is a reason for players' unions, there is a reason that there is a sharing of television revenue, that players wear logos, that there is a player pension fund. And there's a reason why old boxers drive delivery trucks. One man stands up, a quiet man, a man of respect, and in his own small way he says, look. Do you see this?
Where's the 40 million for the TV contract? Where's all the money that sponsors pay to have their brands associated with the most exciting guy to ever fling two cards and his stack in the pot? You think people want to watch some schmuck who will crumble at the sight of a raise? Everybody wants to watch the golden hearted lions, watch them flock in the jungle. But the man wants them to be stupid. He needs the smart ones to band alone, to fade getting fucked, and the stupid ones can join the team and clamor loudly. Because dissent is the terror of the Furrier
Link of the Day:
VW Polo is Blowing Up
Volkswagen has issued an all-points bulletin for Lee and Dan, the producers of the Polo spoof ad: "We are prepared to pursue the two individuals."
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