Thursday, September 15, 2005

Breakfast of Champions

Greetings to friends old and new alike. Statcounter blew up tabulating my whole bunch of new--aka one-time, never to return to this steaming pile again--readers. I was trying to figure out what to call you folks in order to cut down on the word count. Maybe I’ll have a vote. I came up with Wheaton-ites, Wil-ians and Wheaties. Guess which one makes me laugh.

I am sincerely blown away that Wil not only has read this humble blog, but that he finds it worthy of compliment. I am not being falsely modest. That’s not my style (really, ask anyone. I once referred to myself for about a month straight in the third-person). I like some of the stuff I write here. I think I maximize my ability enough to make it worthwhile for me. Which is not to say it can compare to the Best of Wil (or the best of a dozen other poker bloggers out there). So, I am, imminently grateful, even while I’m trying to think up funny names for you.

I figured I’d write a little more about Vegas since the previous Trip Report might give the impression that I am some kind of badass card player. I’m not really. I’m learning. I do all right, but am fully aware I’ve only scratched the surface of the depth of knowledge required to compete regularly. As clearly illustrated by the following hand:

I make the standard pre-flop raise to $10 (5x the BB) with pocket 9s. Two callers, including the BB, and the flop comes a coordinated KK3. Checked to me and I bet $25 and am minimum raised by the BB. I call and we’re heads-up. The turn is another king and the BB pushes all in for $117.

As I type that, my call looks worse than ever. But call I did and he flipped the case king. Now, certainly odds were against him having the cowboy, but the action certainly supported it. Furthermore, he was pretty much the only unknown guy at the table who didn’t have a "Bluff Too Much" problem.

I’d like to place the blame squarely on the Corona Brewing Company and their all-too-effective distribution operations, but no. I called because I didn’t think it through enough.

On the subject of my fabulous reads, I am reminded of a story I haven’t related here, though I have told it to others elsewhere.

A couple months ago, I was stopped in the hall by a former colleague who had overheard me talking about winnning the satellite to play in the WSOP (see how I slipped that in there? Told ya, no false modesty). Turns out he’s a Poker Guy as well and we began to regularly converse about the game. I got the impression he was just starting out. Why? Because he asked me what a straddle was. Being a big fan and frequent wielder of the straddle, I was only too happy to explain its meaning and its Awesome Power. He also mentioned that he’d never played live before, only online.

This went on a couple weeks, us mainly re-hashing the latest WSOP event when I asked him what games he usually played.

"I only play no limit hold em," he replied. "Multi-tabling the $1000 buy-in on Party Poker."

I picked my jaw up off the floor and mustered an "Oh."

It turns out he’s friends with, and has been mentored by, a very well-known pro, often accompanying the pro to Commerce and sitting behind him while he plays big no limit cash games. It also turns out he’s pretty darn good, since he quit a few weeks back, with sufficient bankroll, I assure you, to earn his living on Party.

Talked with him last week and he’s running well. He said it took him a few days to settle in, to not be freaked out by the idea that poker was now his sole source of income, thereby perfectly articulating why I know I will never be in his shoes.

Being a pro has never been on my poker agenda. Nah. I’ve lived life on the financial edge and it did not agree with me. Nor I with it. I’m happy in the safety of my little cubicle, the work interesting enough to keep me intrigued most days (even if I did hear two dreaded words yesterday: "Efficiency Expert"). I have a family to support, unlike my single former colleague.

Which is not to say I don’t have goals in poker, demands I make of myself in order to play. No matter what level, I want to win. Losing stings. Ask AJ after I whipped his ass at Chutes and Ladders last night. That’s right. Two straight games. Routs, even.

Uh...where was I?

Poker satisfies a lot of my competitive instincts. It is the impetus for a lot of my writing. It is a fascinating exercise that spurs me to further study and, hopefully improvement. As I said, it gives me goals to shoot for. And, I’m beginning to believe this more and more, it is an excellent metaphor for life itself.

So, today’s poker—and life—goal? Play every hand the best that you are able.


At 1:51 PM, Blogger Greg said...

If Ken Macha played poker, and was dealt a 2-7 offsuit, would he leave them in too long so they could give up a homer to Belliard?

I bet he would.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Daddy said...

You're a great writer, bro.


You're tied with Russell "Dutch" Boyd for the "Best Blogger I've Never Met" award.


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