Finding a Suitable Style
There I was...there I was...there I was... IN the Congo.
I don't recall what that's from, a commercial maybe? But I very nearly started this post with "There I was" and the instant that line popped into my head I scrapped that tack in favor of this begining, which can't possibly be BETTER than what I originally planned but I'm trying to be more stream-of-consciousness these days, which naturally leads to run-on abominations like this sentence.
Still with me?
After my soccer game yesterday, I ventured East with the fam in tow for an afternoon of shopping at the local Outlet Mall, which sits right in the shadow of Morongo Hotel and Casino. It was there I fingered my fat wallet and contemplated taking a shot.
The occasion was buying something pretty for my upcoming 20-year HS reunion. The site was the Georgio Armani store. The object of my affection was this gorgeous blue-grey three-button suit. Exquisitely tailored, giving some shape to my rectangular torso. Running the fabric through my fingers made me immediately want to rub it over my naked body. I may have swooned.
Even at only 25% of the original listed price, it checked in at considerably more than I've ever paid for a garment in my entire life. But I wanted it.
My sporadic poker play of late has been due to many factors, not the least of which is necessary attention to other facets of this here life of mine. It's been nice to step back. Not step back to analyze my play, but to push away and simply leave the game alone. Often, when I write, I do the same. I'll get something down, not always to my satisfaction, but at least I've transfered what I'm thinking to the page in some form. If I can't seem to make it work, I give it the silent treatment. Sometimes a solution presents itself out of the ether, but, more often, the piece sits alone, continues to gather virtual dust. In the best circumstance, what happens later is that I come back to it and it's almost like a whole new document. I see it with fresh eyes and a mind uncluttered by over-analyzing. Much easier to fix that way.
I've been taking much the same approach to poker. I've played some. I've played different games, too. But not with the same intensity. I'm not reading any books, though I have four or five of them stacked up and ready to go. I'm trying to unclutter. And perhaps in that simple act, I'll find some knowledge.
I stood in front of the mirror forever, manually altering the pants (no pleats, godblessem), turning to see all the angles. The dear and patient wife looked on approvingly, star-struck even. It was that beautiful.
We huddled near the dressing room a short time later, discussing the finances, the cost-benefit ratio. I was starting to get a little uncomfortable.
What I've learned about myself lately in regard to poker is that I had a somewhat faulty view of my ability, the view that I am superior to many of my opponents. That erroneous idea has translated to some poor play, largely manifested in my attempts to scare players off hands.
"You called with THAT?!?!? Don't you know who I am?"
Okay first, to my knowledge, I've never said that. And second, shoot me if I ever become that guy. But that's basically a hyperbolic way of explaining what's gone wrong in my game. Sure, I can push certain players off second pair, but if I'm picking the WRONG players to try that move, who's the donkey?
Where I picked up this hubris is a mystery. I've had some tournament success, but it's not like I'm clogging up thepokerdb with my laundry list of results. Regardless, what I've ended up with is getting myself into difficult situations that I previously avoided because I didn't feel confident playing that way. I've loosened up pre-flop, planning on out-playing folks later in the hand.
And it's not working.
I feel like I should be past where I am in my poker journey. I felt like I was taking the next step in my development, becoming more aggressive. But I'm not there yet. I'm playing too much of a style that I'm uncomfortable with and it's cost me money. At this point, it's just not me.
I didn't buy the suit. Not because of the expense. Partly because it wasn't the exact color I had in mind, but mostly because it just wasn't me. I'm not an Armani guy. And it seemed fraudulent to show up at my reunion representing I am.
I put it back on the hanger, brushed the sleeves one last time and left it behind. Later, I found a nice suit, in the right color, off the rack, for about a third of the cost of the Armani. The fabric is fine and it fits well. The dear and patient wife, to lift my spirits, says she'll be happy to rub it over my naked body.
If I play poker now, I'm gonna stick with what got me my bankroll (this doesn't apply to my upcoming win in the blogger tourney in case any of you are taking notes; no, I will be as unpredictable as a guy working his way through a 12-pack of Newcastle, which is what I plan to do) for now. Keep playing the syle and level at which I'm currently comfortable, instead of my fraudulent attempts to emulate Gus Hansen. I realize I can't stay here forever. I understand the need to improve. Which doesn't mean I can go willy-nilly from the kiddie pool to the high dive.
So how do I progress from here? Well, right now, I'm just gonna leave it alone. Something will bring me back to it, cast a different light. It usually does.