Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The End Times

Everything ends.  Jobs.  Relationships.  Your life.  And apparently some things end more than once.  This blog hasn't really ended I guess, although upon review this is my 12th post in 4 years, so I mean let's be honest it's been "mostly dead" (which is part alive!) for some time now.  But it looks like my poker "career" is coming to at the very least some sort of long hiatus and (if things go to plan) basically ending in its current form.  And I mean this has happened before, I'm not saying I'm never going to play cards again.  But for right now I just have to face the facts that things are horrific, getting worse, with no reason to expect big improvements.

Honestly I don't even know what all I want to say, I'm just gonna write until I don't feel like it anymore.  It's therapeutic.

Nothing has gone right for 15 months.  Shortly after Vegas 2018 I just...stopped winning.  I had been on an amazing run for nearly 2.5 years (basically since the day I quit EMC), and was enjoying every minute of it.  You see, I had assumed when I quit software a second time that I'd get bored with cards fairly quickly.  Turns out you don't get bored when you're winning nearly 2 bets per hour for 3000 hours.  I ran so good for so long that I started to believe, while I must have been running hot, the results I was posting had to be somewhere near sustainable.  I mean, how could I possibly be winning literally THOUSANDS of bets more than I was supposed to be?  Sure, I was running hot, but you couldn't run THAT hot, could you?   Turns out you can!  I know a guy who beat the Hustler 25/50 for and I'm not even kidding, over $200/hour for something like 800 hours.

August 2018.  Cue doom switch.

I'd love to say it's all run bad, but it's not.  I haven't been working as hard as I should be away from the table.  Getting your head kicked in day in and day out affects you're play.  I'm surely, undoubtedly, playing worse than I was in 2017 when I won literally $100/hour (before promotions and jackpots) playing mostly 25/50.  $100/hour worse?  LOL obviously not.  But $25 or $30?  Maybe.  I'm not as sharp as I used to be.  I got really out of shape and don't have the energy or focus to play for as long as I used to.  My back hurts (from being old, from bad posture, and probably from the existential angst I'm putting myself through).  I just can't recover mentally like I used to.  I fucking stink, basically.  That's hard to admit, it's hard to say, but I fucking stink.

And on top of that games are getting worse every year, the rake is going up every year.  Fish are literally dying off and not being replaced (you just don't see 25 year old kids out there blowing their brains), and it's going to get REALLY bad when the economy turns south.  Like, hold on to your hats n glasses, this is the wildest ride in the wilderness bad.  The big games are mix games, and apparently I'm terrible at those (I played on kings club for a year and a half, lost a loaded Toyota Camry before I gave up).  And when this fantasy land made of money and 20% returns takes a shit, it's going to be a big smelly one for limit hold 'em for sure.  If I can't win now, what chance do I stand when half the games aren't even running anymore?

I already spend more time driving around the fucking urban hellscape that is LA county than ever, more than could possibly be considered reasonable.  Why?  Because it's harder to find a good game than ever, and with my confidence as shot as it is I can't even justify sitting in mediocre ones thinking "well I'm still winning I can just keep playing".  I just broke even for almost 2000 hours playing in the best games I could find;  how the fuck could I possibly be winning more than $15/hour in a shitty one!?!  And part of playing poker for a living is taking early outs when you're losing;  well guess what, that really adds up when you never win!  And of course I haven't moved closer to the casinos;  I didn't have to while I was running like God and inertia is a real thing and I do like it down here and ostensibly I have lots of friends and relationships but lol sure what the fuck ever.  If I just picked up and moved to DTLA or Long Beach or god I don't know fucking Australia I'd probably hear from like 3 people here in Laguna ever again.

I guess the hardest part of all of this is admitting that while a lot of it is bad luck, I definitely could have been working a lot harder this whole time.  I could have been studying more.  I could have been doing more to stay in physical shape.  I could have been doing more to foster and engender real, supportive, and positive relationships.  I could have worked harder to learn other games, to keep myself engaged.  I could have done a whole lot of shit.  But I didn't and now here we are.

And where exactly is that?  Here is basically broken I guess, at least in terms of poker.  Most of my friends, the ones I have left, have to just be completely sick of my endless negativity.  I have people in my life who are like that, for whom just everything is awful and woe is me I am such a victim.  It's awful.  How many bad beats can you listen to?  How many times can you hear someone bitch about how bad things are going, give them advice, and watch them make zero substantive changes?  How long am I going to feel and act like a victim?  Honestly.  This isn't me.

And I'm no fucking good to them either; I'm no fucking good to anyone like this.  I'm angry.  Depressed.  Anxious.  Scared even.  I never had an over-abundance of self confidence but shit now I've got basically none.  Try sitting with these people for 2000 hours and not winning.  They are stone fucking idiots, the lot of 'em, and yet me and my supposedly big brain cannot defeat them, day in and day out, month in and month out.

So yeah, here is no fucking place to play poker.  Here is losing all my friendships and not building new ones.  Here is completely out of balance.  Too much drinking, too much Netflix, too much driving.  Not enough learning, not enough working out, not enough sex, traveling, sunshine....not enough of anything good.

So I'm just not gonna stay here anymore. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Going Insane: A Two Part Instructional Guide

Fun fact of life....a lot of processes have basically two ways they can go.  Someone can play a hand of limit hold 'em and look like st1ckman, mostly because he had two options and just happened to flip heads.  The st1ck rides again.  Next hand he aborts every street and you stop wondering what you were thinking.  The st1ck is dead; long live the st1ck!

Going insane is no different.  You can go insane in two basic ways.  The first one is just what everyone accepts as going insane.  It's not as clean as they show on TV (nothing is....the white house...a court room...being a cop....saving the universe from a guy with a big chin), but it happens roughly the same way.  One day you wake up and your brain simply can no longer process and handle the world it is currently occupying.  You cannot cope with your environment, it's all fucking madness, and to the outside world you look like a stone lunatic.  You effectively cease to function.  I've done that one and let me tell you it's no fucking bueno.  Nothing makes sense, you can't solve the simplest of problems, everything is insurmountable, and waking up in the morning becomes a herculean effort that, once achieved, you literally question the point of.

The second way, unfortunately, walks the first path, but continues on to a more interesting place.  You wake up one day and realize that your brain can no longer function in the world you've built for it.  That's the same.  But there isn't a sense a panic, loss, or failure.   You aren't incapacitated.  You don't cease to function.  You realize that that the problem isn't necessarily with your mind, with you, but rather with the world you've carefully constructed around yourself.  That's the source of the madness.  In effect you're going insane, but what you're actually doing is leaving behind your past (insane) choices and moving on to a different (scary) place.  To the outside world, and to all but your closest friends, you probably look the same as you would in the first method.  And that make sense, as you have to basically go through there to get to this place.  But it's very different.

I suspect that many extremely successful people have gone insane in just this way.  They wake up one day and simply decide that their world is bullshit and that they no longer respect its norms and customs.  Elon Musk, as much as I hate him, is extremely successful and probably didn't want to flip the world on its ass at age 7.  The same argument could be made for Donald Trump.  It's entirely possible that the ability survive going insane could be a driving force in human evolution.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

5th Most Drunk Wedding Protocol

I'm on a flight to a wedding which historically is a good time for me to actually write a blog post. I was talking to friend who asked me the following simple question:

"Are you going to be the biggest drinker at the wedding?"

Innocent question. Fair question. Good question. The answer is maybe yes, but I explained to him that the goal is always to be somewhere around 5th most drunk, at the wedding or otherwise. You ever been to a wedding where 5 people got kicked out? They can't kick out 5 people! And even if they do by the time they get to you all bets are off anyway and the bride is either loving it and number 6 drunk or in tears anyway so fuck it, it's not on you and at least you got your money's worth for the personal foul.

I've been number 1 drunk at a wedding before. That's an entirely different magilla, because you can be number 1 drunk and just WAYYYY out in front, settin the pace, lappin fools. That's not a good place to be. Things can go very wrong, very painfully, very quickly, out there. You can come around a turn and put it into the wall at 170 MPH like it's nothin out there. You do not want to be out there. It's scary out there.

Somebody has to be there, though; someone is the most drunk. We can't all be 5th most drunk; that's not the way counting works. If you find yourself number 1 most drunk, I have great news! The fact that you noticed you're most drunk means there is still time to get things under control! Choose your next steps very, very carefully. Proceed directly to the dance floor with a glass of water and let someone pass you right on by. Everything is gonna be fine!

Failing that you need a good friend who can simply explain the situation to the groom:

"Either you didn't know Jesse well enough to invite him, or you should not be surprised here. This is at least a little on you, man"

5th Most Drunk. That's where you wanna be.