Quite possibly my most favoritest Onion piece ever.
After being poked with a stick a few times this week by Dawn Summers (I think she even shook her fist at me), I kicked my ass in gear to get down in print some thoughts that have been filtering through my head about tilt. They start from a basic premise to which I subscribe:
One of the great cosmic ironies is that human beings are incredibly adaptable and resilient, yet highly resistant to change.
Think about it. Rather than live dynamic, highly unpredictable lives, we prefer to have order and structure, most of which is obtained through routine. Routine is comfortable, predictable and unchanging. Routine gives us a sense that we're in control of our world, the space we inhabit. It allows us to wrap ourselves in a cloak of illusion that most of what happens in the world isn't mere random chance or chaos. When that routine is interrupted, when the structure is revealed to be broken or flawed, we tend to become irritable. We set our heels in against the change or disruption. We become annoyed that the perfect little perpetual motion machine that we invented out of our lives turns out to be not quite as advertised.
Finally, faced with no alternative, we adapt. Remarkably well, I might add.
When we sit down at the poker table, the fallacy of order and structure can often be brutally snatched away by the whims of the poker gods (aka the randomness and chaos which rules the universe). Oh, there's order and structure to be sure. Get your chips in as an 90% favorite and, over a length of time approaching infinity, you'll win 90% of the hands. To me, there is a certain constructed beauty to that. Thing is, the chaos doesn't come from the long term. It exists in the short term, and that is the nature and source of tilt.
Even though a perfectly rational mind knows that there's a 10% chance of losing as a 90% favorite after all the chips are in, our minds refuse to "believe" it can happen. Losing the hand upsets the natural order and structure that we've built for ourselves - that our hand should win. In effect, the 10% probability is the interruption to the routine of our 90% favorite holding up. It shows us that the world truly is random and capricious, and this in turn provokes annoyance, usually misdirected at the unfortunate soul who may have made a poor decision and been rewarded for it. Our sense of cosmic justice is horrified by this, and from there tilt easily snowballs.
Can anything be done about it? Sure. Don't be such a fucking creature of habit. Take a different route to home/work/the store/your dealer every once in a while. Accept the fact that sometimes there are snakes on a plane, and there ain't a goddamn thing you can do about it. "Serenity now," as Frank Costanza once said.
Or don't. I don't care.
Tip of the hat to kaz for today's random picture, brought to you by BONUS CODE: IGGY:
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Quite possibly my most favoritest Onion piece ever.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Roland thinks L.A. is a place for the brain-dead. He says, if you turned off the sprinklers, it would turn into a desert. But I think - I don't know, it's not what I expected. It's a place where they've taken a desert and turned it into their dreams.
L.A. was fantastic! Once again, I was left asking myself "Why oh why did I ever leave this place?" The weather was gorgeous, the people were awesome, and all in all I had an extremely fun time. Three years ago, before I moved there, I would have been happy if L.A. sank into the Pacific Ocean. No longer.
(This is exactly the type of write-up I have come to loathe, but eff it, I say. Just a few quick notes / highlights from my sessions follow.)
Friday was the Murderer's Row home game. After grabbing a quick dinner with Change100 to celebrate her new-found freedom, we hopped in our respective cars and drove to Chez HDouble. The weekly tourney was already underway, but HDouble had thoughtfully bought a stack for me and was in the process of blinding me off. The tourney had 20 entrants for $50, with first place paying out a cool $400. I finished just outside of the money when HDouble moved in on my BB and I decided to defend (as a shortstack) with 8d9d, figuring I had two live cards and good drawing potential. Turns out, he had Qs9s. Oops. I flopped a flush draw and a gutshot to actually take the EV lead on the flop, but none of my fifteen outs came and I was out in 6th place.
Next was the cash game: 1/1 Pot Limit Vegas Holdem, $50 buyin. I finished up $150, with the key hand coming when I restraddled Ephro and woke up with JJ. 6 limpers for $3 to me, I potted it and got two callers: HDouble and Lance. Flop T-5-3 and Lance went all in. I called for $40+ and he tabled 43o. No help for him on the turn and river. About an hour later, I packed it up to meet some friends in Santa Monica before the bars closed.
The Murderer's Row crew are a lively bunch. I really enjoyed my night there and have to take my hat off to HDouble for allowing me to crash the game. He and I had some interesting side discussions during the course of the night which could potentially make for a highly satisfied F-Train at some point down the track. We'll see... I also got to spend a fair amount of time chatting with the lovely Mrs. HDouble and Mrs. Glyphic, who were both to my left in the cash game. HDouble and Glyphic are two lucky guys.
Sunday, I hit the Commerce for a second time (after Thursday night's $400 debacle) with Glyphic. The game of choice this time was the 9/18 (3/9 blinds) game that I've heard such great things about. 9/18, you ask? Why not 10/20? Well, the 9/18 game is a "3 chip game", whereas the 10/20 is a "2 chip game". In theory, the extra chips make the pots seem bigger and lead to more action.
Our table started out somewhat tight and was a table of musical chairs as "regulars" requested and received table changes, but the tightness of the table didn't prevent the 8-seat from hitting me for flushes twice. The first time, I open-raised with AdTd and he was the only caller. The flop came ace-high with two hearts. I bet, he raised, I reraised, he made it 4 (technically not a cap, I suppose, since we were heads up) and I called. The turn paired the low card on board, and although I suspected he was drawing to the flush, I was concerned about a better ace, so I checked it. He checked behind and caught a heart on the river. I made the crying check-call and he tabled Qh7h.
A few hands later, I limped in to a four-way pot with 77 and flopped K-7-3 rainbow. I checked, he bet, the other two called, and I decided to raise rather than wait for the turn. All called. The turn was a small spade (two on board). I bet, he called, others folded. The river was another small spade. I bet, he raised, I called and he tabled Qs3s. Brilliant play, sir. Way to come from behind as a 24-to-1 underdog.
Add a whiff with AKo and I was 13 big bets in the hole inside of 45 minutes. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending, as a few hands started to hold up and a couple of donators joined the table. I finished a short 3-hour session up $150 (8.5 big bets). Poor Glyphic was card dead and/or outdrawn just about every time and finished in the red. I bought him a drink in both the spirit of commiseration and comraderie.
Total damage for the trip: 3 sessions, -$150. Not terrible, I suppose, and I got a chance to shoot the shit and drink with a bunch of amazing people that I don't often get to see. That was probably worth the price of admission right there.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Went down to Commerce last night and sat in the 3/5 $200 NL game for 6 hours with a friend. She had her kings cracked 4 times and her aces cracked once to finish a grand in the hole (tho, in a small consolation, the fifth time she got kings they held up). I didn't get dealt a pair bigger than TT in 6 hours (following on a recent AC session where I didn't get a pair bigger than 99 in 6 hours), and the TT were cracked on a 4-5-5 rainbow flop when one guy called all-in for $70 with KJo and spiked a king on the turn. I have to admit, the F-Train dropped an F-Bomb on that one.
At least the rest of the money I lost was all on people chasing *legitimate* draws or me completely whiffing on just about every flop I took. Total loss: $400. Next up: Murderer's Row.
Monday, February 06, 2006
GEORGE: You're not really gonna go to California, are ya?
KRAMER: (pointing at head) Up here, I'm already gone.
I'm heading to LA on Wednesday with a plan to partake in the LAPC at the Commerce and the Murderer's Row home game while I'm in town. Hit me up with an email or a phone call if you'll be around.