Thursday, August 18, 2005

Poker Among Friends

Is there any other way to play this game besides the company of friends or at least rivals? Looking back through the months of solitary grinding out bonus after bonus and playing 4-6 games at once I realized something...

I never stopped to try to learn how to play.

Sure, I read "Winning Low Stakes Poker" by Lee Jones and knew a little bit about pot odds, position, and ABC poker. I was a break-even player, which now that I think about it, bankroll wise is better then the losing player I am currently :)

I called too much, didn't value bet enough, got distracted by shiny objects and offers of picking up random women on the BangBus. Whatever it was I was keeping my head above water just enough to clear bonuses for a profit. As stated many times in many different poker blogs, bonus whoring is a GREAT way to get that base bankroll so you can play/learn with little risk of ruin. But, then with a flush bankroll you go back and try concentrating on one or two games, taking notes of your opponents, start putting them on ranges of hands, and well... start to learn to play poker.

And you lose.


"How could he call my all-in on the river with just ACE HIGH!@!?#!@?#" (sorry G-Rob had to do it, but it was a good bet).

Worm (G-Rob talking to Otis mayhaps???): Why do you think your moves are so grand and noble and I'm always the idiot piece of shit!

- Rounders

Yes, its a Rounders quote, put away your torches and pitchforks. Jez.

I'm still trying to turn that corner from ABC poker playing robot to tight-aggressive, value betting poker stud. And lately everytime I try to turn the corner I run right into a dead end corner. Much like the time I was at the Minnesota State Fair (starting next week for all you cheese curds and fried oreo lovers out there) and we checked out the haunted house for the first time. I was probably 19 or 20 at the time of my first visit to the haunted house at the fair. Accompanying me was my family and I believe Burnsie and E were there as well. Its an old three story house built right on the fairgrounds with white trim, smoke machines, scary noise CD being repeated, KDWB playing New Kids on the Block across the street in an oversized boom box and a graveyard out front. We paid our $2.00 admission and all of us started to walk on the broken cobblestone walkway into the "fog".

As we entered the house and the light from the outside ceased to exist I immediately had a sense of dread overcome me. No, it wasn't the teenager dressed in ratty clothes with a hand coming out of his stomach bellowing ARRRUGGGHHH! It was the fear of being trapped. Suddenly, I couldn't see ANYTHING (my night-vision rivals Stevie Wonder's), and when I tried to reach out for a walkway I felt nothing but plywood barriers. Not fun. I could hear voices of other groups coming in and walking by but couldn't see nor judge where they were coming from. I didn't want to yell out like a scared little kid, but that's what I was, frozen by the fear that I'd gone the wrong way and now I was trapped in some part of the house that I shouldn't have been in. "How the fuck did I get myself in this mess??" and a better question "how do I get out??". In what felt like an hour, I was heading towards a full blown panic attack but a slap from either Burnsie or E quickly snapped me out of my state. "Get up and follow me you dork".

Dork indeed.

Led out quickly like a toddler who was being scolded for throwing his food, I finally saw the bright sunshine creasing thru the half opened exit door. A mock cheering section consisting my family and friends was standing outside of the wrought iron fence, celebrating like I just finished my first color by the numbers page and stayed within the lines. Luckily I have grown up to be very humble and gave them a gracious bow for my performance as Scared Guy #4 in Minnesota's version of The Amityville Horror.

Lesson to be learned? Don't go into haunted houses without friends, especially if your night vision sucks.

Or... as it could relate to poker. If you're going into a game blind, always accept the help of your friends. Next time the game won't seem as scary. Hell, you might even enjoy playing and make a little profit!

Thanks to the many poker bloggers who have been guiding me through the haunted house over the past 4-5 months. Take a bow guys, I'm finally beginning to to see the sunshine again.

Thanks for dropping by, now check out the listing for all your cheese needs at the Great Minnesota Get Together. 83 artery clogging sites of dairy goodness!!

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