Poker is a lot more fun when you're winning. For a while there I thought I was bored with the game itself. Now it seems I was just tired of losing so damn much.
So here's a different story my friends: It seems that even a dumbshit like myself CAN win sometimes.
SETTING THE DECK
As you know, I've been playing a lot less. This from a man who used to play as much as 5 times a week. There were times I'd be so anxious to play I'd leave home early and just sit around at the game, waiting for the other players to arrive.
I've been that guy counting the other players as they trickle in and forcing the action once there are enough to start. I'm the guy who turned into a foaming lunatic on those nights when I'd have to wait 30 minutes for a seat... DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM??!!
That wasn't the worst part. I had a nasty ego about the game itself. I thought, "I'm too good to lose to THESE PEOPLE!". Imagine my surprise when it started to happen!
Just 2 years ago I was anchor of a very highly rated show. I thought the ratings were solely my doing. When things went wrong, I told the producers "Just blame it on me... they can't touch me".
I was wrong about that too.
The Gaelic game is the perfect game for my state of mind. Inside a cavernous building, it used to be used for some explosive industrial storage, there are three big tables and at least enough people for 2.
There are serious players there, like Wing the Pro and Candi Girlover, but most are there to gamble and drink. I've been both in the past and was a little of both tonight.
Early on, I tried to correct what I think have been my biggest flaws of late. (I mean at poker, of course, not my weight, my bad temper, my tendency to mock the less fortunate, etc.)
Normally, I go straight to the iPod and tune out the table. This time I kept it low and on one ear. I WANTED to hear the jabber of the game. I decided to treat that as PART of the game.
Not only did it keep me more involved in the flow of the game, thus staving off the boredom during long stretches of shit cards, but it actually helped tune my reads... like the guy who would audibly groan (an ACTING tell in this case) when someone called, or bet into, his monster hand.
I flopped two pair on him and raised his smallish flop bet. When he goaned, and twisted his face into a grimace before pushing all in, I saved myself some chips by folding. He later said he flopped a set and I totally believe him.
I correctly read players with pocket aces twice and safely folded away. I dumped OESDs and decent flush draws when I could tell I was drawing slim.
I think a hole in my game was ASSUMING I was so good at reading players that I could just DO it without any real work. But even with familiar players, even with so many tells that are practically universal, it pays to start each game with an ALMOST blank slate. Let your sensitivity to each player refine itself through the course of each new session.
Ok... I only won about $150. I had a better night going but dumped some off on a poor read late. Still, a win IS a win.
That's not the best part.
I had FUN.
I think it's easy, especially now during the big WSOP, to lose sight of the thing that brought us, most of us anyway, to the game.
I just like to hang out with degenerates sometimes. I like to talk about lowbrow crap. I like to hear the buzz of people enjoying a win and surviving a loss. I like poker. I like the game.