Monday, January 17, 2005

First time ever guest post. Per my home game, which has been played monthly for almost five years now.

Might be seeing more of these as I'm due for rotator cuff surgery on the 25th.

Unedited from email:


Something never before seen

"You have to play this game with fear and arrogance."
"Fear and ignorance?"
"No, fear and arrogance, you hayseed."

Crash Davis, Bull Durham

(real names have been changed to protect the guilty)

First a little background. My name is TeeDubb, and I'm a pokerholic.

"Hi TeeDubb"

First of all, I take no responsibility for my addiction. I blame it all on Iggy. I was a responsible young man. Married, kid, mortgage, car payment. I'm no degenerate.

That was before I started working with Iggy as a developer during the dot-com boom. It's been a downhill run ever since. ;)

The infamous home game, which is approaching it's fifth year anniversary, is a topic about which Iggy refuses to blog. His discretion is warranted, considering the copious amounts of legal and illegal substances we typically imbibe and inhale during the course of routinely handing our buy-ins to the Iggsta.

Over the course of the four years I've been privileged enough to receive an invite, I've been bitten by the poker bug. I feel like I've come a long way in terms of poker skill, carefully morphing my initial table image of dead-money fish into "a pretty scrappy player," according to GHMoney, who plays regularly at our home game. He knows Iggy from the sin and felony-filled adventures during their formative years in Las Vegas and is no poker slouch himself.

I took it as a huge compliment.

My desire to improve really had nothing to do with the thrill of winning or even the money. It is and was pride. I just got tired of lining everyone else's pockets on a monthly basis. My pride and arrogance made me want to improve, just to save face. My only fear was losing.

So, I finally caved to the constant peer pressure and non-stop shilling and made my initial $50 deposit to Party Poker in March '04, proudly using Bonus Code IGGY (where's my damn t-shirt?).

My first online session in .50/$1, with Iggy sweating me in IM, I scored a huge win. You've seen the stats posted here before: 76 hands, 88 minutes, 22.37 VP$IP, +$58.50.

A taste of victory was all it took. I bought PokerTracker. I played a LOT of hands online. I read Poker for Dummies. I read Super System. I read Sklansky. I taped Abdul's Opening Hand Rankings and Minimum Openers table to my monitor next to my odds and outs chart. My wife thought I was fucking insane.

And I won. And kept winning fairly consistently, finally turning my original $50 deposit into nearly $600 by the end of the year. It doesn't seem like a lot to most of you, I'm sure, but it was enough for me to move up a level or two.

And I even placed in the Monty Memorial, which is still a highlight of my very young poker career.

In spite of my online wins, I still lost routinely at the home game. Though my losses were tempered by the fact that I wasn't busting out anymore. I steadily gained more and more experience and, two months ago, finished in the black for the first time.

Hey, eight bucks is eight bucks. A win is a win.

It felt like a million.

Beginners luck be damned, there is no substitute for playing 20,000 hands.

Anyone who has played with Iggy (online or off) knows that low-limit games are a way for the Blogfather to blow off some steam (i.e. play like a fucking maniac). It's a -EV situation for him regardless of how much he wins. In spite of not being a large man, his faux-dwarven presence at the poker table is quite intimidating to us cubicle-dwelling, day-job-having suckers.

And for the record, he does NOT look like Patrick Swayze. He actually resembles Swayze's redneck younger brother, Don.

But, I uber-digress. This month's home game was witness to two things I have never seen in the four years I've been swimming with these sharks:

1. Iggy busted out.
2. I had a appreciable win, though (disappointingly) very little of my winnings came from my mentor's stack.

Has our "poker pro" gone soft?

Was he drinking too much Guinness?

Was he the victim of a bad beat?

Answers: No, no and no.

Oh, the humanity.

Dann, whom most of you should remember from this uber-post and pic above, was the big winner last night, taking several large pots from numerous players. However, the most significant takedown of the evening was the one worth talking about.

Iggy, who wasn't having a good evening to begin with, was seriously trying to push Dann off a hand on the turn. Dann wasn't budging. Iggy re-raised him all-in on the turn, which was about 2/3 of his original starting stack of $100.

I told you he was having a bad night.

Dann thinks and thinks and slowly says, "Well, I guess I call!"

He had Iggy dominated and the river didn't help.

Dann scoops a pot easily over $100, which is huge at our very tight table in a .50/1 blind NL ring game.

But the key point is: It happens to everyone.

Iggy doesn't mind losing, or so he says. I've seen him compete in other aspects of life and he's yanking your respective chains.

Nobody "doesn't mind" losing, at least not gamblers or anyone with a competitive bone in his or her body. It was his demeanor after the loss that was the true test of whether or not he minded losing.

He wasn't happy. He immediately bought $50 more in chips back from Dann. But, more importantly, he didn't go on tilt. He didn't yell and scream or pull a Hellmuth.

It's not that Iggy doesn't mind losing. He accepts it as part of the game and moves on. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that he lost less all night than he loses in one hand of $15/$30.

Which brings me back to pride and fear. I take pride in the fact that I've been able to turn myself into a decent tight/aggressive player with a solid table image. It makes other players think twice when I raise preflop. Your pride/arrogance can put fear into other players.

But you bet your ass I don't want to be heads-up against Iggy or Dann with a less-than-premium hand. A healthy fear will let you live to play another day.

Pride should be a motivator, not an excuse. Fear should motivate as well. Pride and arrogance are the Yin to the Yang of humility and fear. Poker requires the use of all of the above.

You can't be a complete player if you're too cocky or too meek. You can't be in between either. You have to be arrogant and fearful at the same time. It's an art. An art I surely have not yet mastered, but the fact that I can recognize it is a huge step forward, in my mind.

Iggy's pride got in the way of his fear for one hand and he lost. However, he handled it and moved on.

It was almost dignified, which is not a word I typically use in describing the Blogfather.

FYI, he did not appreciate my screaming victory dance after winning with The Hammer. I'm thinking I might get kicked out of a casino if I jumped up, slammed my cards on the table and yelled, "IT'S THE FUCKING HAMMER, BITCHES!"

I'm sure FilmGeek's new neighbors appreciated it. At 1AM.

HuggyBear didn't appreciate that he folded KQs (then went fishing and found a King on the flop). Nobody called me a faggot, at least.

Maybe Taylor is right. I hurt my friends with The Hammer.

Nah. It felt pretty good, actually. I felt like doing a Randy Moss fake-moon job on the table, but resisted the urge.

Of course, it was a home game with people who read his blog, so they actually understood the meaning of playing the Hammer. To my surprise, everyone still took my preflop raises seriously after that.

I hate this game.

Thanks for reading this humble poker blog. I have no linky goodness for you, nor blogrolls. Hopefully Iggy will find a decent twisted link of the day.

And don't forget:

You're an idiot if you don't play on Party Poker and use bonus code IGGY.



Thanks, T.

Link of the Day:
Check out this eBay auction per Dutch Russ Boyd by ex-crew member, Brett Jungblut.

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