Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Monday, February 23, 2004

Drift Away

I think I knew it all along really. There’s a lot of talk on here almost since I started this diary about not being sure which games I should be playing, not having a clear plan and so on. The fact of the matter is I’m just not as motivated to play poker as I was 3 or 4 years ago.

There are various reasons for this. I’ve never felt quite the same about the game since I went to Vienna in 2002 and dropped £3000 (plus £1000 expenses) in 10 days. Before that, the sky was the limit – I thought I’d just keep winning and winning. Also I had ambitions/delusions (delete as applicable) of becoming a tournament circuit “face”. A 4 grand hit was hard to swallow, even though I had won more than that in the previous 4 months. Too hard. If you want to play at that kind of level you have to be able to deal with swings much bigger than that, and I can’t.

On top of that I sold my flat last summer, and am now renting. A two bedroom flat in London which I bought 3 years previously – you do the math as our American friends like to say. So I don’t need to win at poker to afford luxury items ; I don’t need to win at poker just so I can lose it all in a week playing above my level ; and I don’t need to win at poker just to prove to myself I can do it.

None of these are bad things. They are good ! It’s almost a liberation. I was spending too much time on it. I’ll have time to play all the poker I want when I’m old and society has gone to hell in a handbasket. As of the now I’m happy to play socially when I’m meeting someone or going with someone ; on a “poker holiday” in the states as I am next month – with a friend, we’re going to clean them out ! ; and on the Internet at home, pop on some music, play what I like when I like how I like for as long as I like. I can do all this without schlepping up the M1 to listen to the George Kiss Comedy Hour, make one interesting decision every 90 minutes, lose on a 50-50, get the rub down in 6-card Omaha Hi Lo and then schlep all the way back again.

So I’ll still be around – but poker will be a hobby not the hobby and I feel so much better about that. And I wonder if I’m the only one. It’s generally quiet in Luton this time of year (why they have consecutive festivals in December and January is beyond me) but it’s almost comatose lately. Thursday night is done, you can stick a fork in it. Saturday is going the same way. I wonder if people come from the Internet to live poker, don’t like it, and go back. While one by one they (we !) drift out of the cardrooms and into cyberspace. Where no one can hear you scream !

Anonymity is a virtue in this day and age

Let me start off by telling you my favourite cricket anecdote (and this is absolutely true).

Durham CC are in an Italian restaurant placing their orders. Ian Botham, holding court as usual, announces "and I'll have some of that cheese - dolecetti". Simon Hughes says "no, that's dolcelatti". Botham "That's what I said, dolecetti". Hughes "No Both, it's dolcelatti".

At this point Botham throws the menu onto the table, leans forward, glares at Hughes menacingly and says "Oh yeah ? And how many f**king test wickets have you got then ?"

This is an extreme example but it demonstrates the point I'm trying to make. It doesn't matter who you are, what you say either stands or falls on its own merit. On an Internet forum, it doesn't matter if someone posts under their full name, address, email, picture and details of where to find them or whether they post under Ebenezer Joe McNulty IV, Emperor of the Moon. What they say is either right or wrong, fair or unfair, valid or invalid. You only need to know who someone is if you want to suck up to them or attack them. I have been guilty of being overly sensitive about anonymous posts in the past. This was wrong. I think there's nothing wrong with posting anonymously, and a lot of the time if you're anonymous then that precludes people from attacking you rather than addressing the issues (although some still try, which can be very amusing watching them swing wild haymakers like a blind drunk in a barroom brawl).

I know people who have innumerable forum aliases, and why not. On a forum it's what you say, not who you are (and in real life it's what you do). So in an open appeal to the Hendon Mob (or their moderator), don't enforce registration - you'll kill the forum dead if you do.

PS A free licence for the first person who can place the quote "Anonymity is a virtue in this day and age" !

[9/7/04 Note : no one did. It's a lyric from "Here come the b@stards" by nerd-rockers Primus]