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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

September 22, 2005

Mapping Otis

by Otis

He expected the sand to be whiter, the girls more tan, the boats in the harbor to be a little more broken down. The image he'd conjured when he hopped the puddle-jumper out of a South Florida regional airport was one out of the movies. The women would all have impossible legs. A bartender with an accent would sit under a tiki hut and serve warm beer in sweating bottles while he listened to the lamentations of the expatritots. The lives the future alcoholics had led would be the lives that led them to the little island and the bartender would listen to it all.

But that's not what sat at the shore. The sand was white, but not that white. The bartender had an accent, but she was the only one with impossible legs and she didn't feel like talking after a long day of standing behind the bar.

***

I'm a wanderlusting Otis. There hasn't been a point in my life when I didn't want to just disappear for a while and tell no one where I was going. When I was a kid, I'd conjure up knapsack trips into the nearby woods. In college, I'd imagine a long cross-country drive that ended in New Orleans or Las Vegas, two cities where I knew I could blend into the melange, just another lost soul. But, I always told myself, I would be the soul that had actually found itself.

These days, adult times to be sure, the dreams rear their little head every once in a while. And, of course, they take me to strange places. Sometimes it's some non-touristy beach in the Caribbean. Sometimes it's somewhere in the American Northwest. It's always somewhere where nobody knows me.

Many people in my life have misunderstood this little revelry as a lack of satisfaction or love for my real life. Nothing could be further from the truth. There have been very few times in my life where I haven't been satisfied with my life. Even now, in what can only be described as the best of times, I still fantasize about running away from time to time.

It's a romantic and mysterious notion to be sure, and one I almost surely will never act on. A man has responsibilities and he would surely miss everything, even if he were only gone for a while. That's why those romantic and mysterious notions are fantasies. Fantasies are fun. I mean, I surely won't end up in bed with a couple of women at once, but that shouldn't stop me from thinking about it every once in a while (or maybe it should, now that I think about it).

***

At the bar, he eventually convinced the bartendress to talk to him. The tourists had long since gone to their hotel rooms to put aloe on their sunburns. The sunset had been as pretty as you might expect. The beer was colder than his romantic notions had allowed, but that was probably better. The island beer tasted a little skunky unless it was exceptionally cold, and thankfully, that's how Lisa kept it.

Yeah, the girl behind the bar's name was Lisa. She wasn't an island girl. She'd made the trek to the island from Southeast Missouri after a life of listening to people pronounce her hometown, Haiti, as HAY-TIE. She played guitar like Sheryl Crow who had grown up just down the highway. Lisa liked ballads about beer, getting lost, and boys who aren't mean.

She'd intended to come to the island and sing at a bar while dark men sipped their drinks and the sun set behind her. When she landed in the airport, the a-string on her guitar broke. That really wasn't the reason she wasn't singing, but that's what she told people who asked. When she first started telling the story, she's said her "g-string" broke, but that got too many snickers from the peanut gallery.

He hadn't made the mistake of mentioning the g-string when she told her story and shared a beer with him. Instead he said, "You have simply impossible legs."

And Lisa didn't seem to mind.

***

So, it happens that I tend to virtually escape for a little while. I let my blogs and the blogs to which I'm supposed to contribute go without my ramblings for a while. Sure, there are reasons. WCOOP kicked my ever-lovin' ass. The rest of work has kicked my ever-lovin' ass. My side projects, including my contributions to DoubleAs Poker Hacks, have not kicked my ass yet, but I figure they will since I have a couple more minutes to dedicate to them.

I've always sort of wondered if I did escape and run off somewhere, how I would talk to people when I got back. Would I tell them about my great adventures and finding myself. Or would I simply show up with long, sun-bleached hair and five months of growth on my face and let people figure it out on their own.

I talk too much, I figure, especially after a few beers. I figure that I'd eventually end up rambling on about where I've been and hw I've changed.

How does that all fit in here? Well, I suppose the biggest way is that I haven't really written much poker content here recently. I'd like to say it has a lot to do with a lack of real poker content in my life, but that's not necessarily true. I've had my share of poker recently, both online and live.

However, I've found that the best stuff I write here is about the new poker lives I find. When I went to The Mark for the first time, it was a wild, new experience. When I sat for hours on end at the $10/$20 games in Vegas, there were always new characters. Hell, when I final tabled in a big online tournament for the first time, it was something new and profitable. Now, when it happens, the same excitement isn't there. I suppose it will take a $20K+ win to really move me to the keyboard.

Jesus, that sounds slimy. Ooooh, Otis doesn't get excited about winning a lot of money.

That's not true. I do. It's just that I can't think of how any emotions I might feel would come out good in writing. And I'm certainly not going to preach strategy when you have DoubleAs, Hank, and, frankly, BadBlood to read. I'll be the first to admit, I know strategy, I employ strategy, but I can't teach it. It's like teaching my wife to ski. Somebody is going to get hurt and it's probably going to be me.

***

"So, sing for me," he said.

"Can't," Lisa said. She was mopping up the bar. She'd been doing it for twenty minutes as an excuse not to look at him. "A-string is broken."

He turned up his beer, swallowed, and looked at her with purpose. "You really think that's funnier than a broken g-string? I really think you're missing an opportunity with that."

She didn't look up from the bar. "I am the queen of missed opportunity."

"That's supposed to sound dark and mysterious, isn't it." He wasn't being mean and Lisa seemed to understand.

"It's from a song," she said.

"What did you rhyme 'opportunity' with?" he said. Now, she could tell, he was poking fun.

"It doesn't rhyme."

Then she leaned over the bar and kissed him.

***

If you care at all, I'm running well right now. Two sizable final tables and a successful run at the $30/$60 limit and $10/$20 NL tables have treated me pretty well. My bankroll is bigger than it has ever been by about 20%. Simply typing that virtually guarantees me a 30% downswing over the next month. I really should learn to never speak when I'm running well.

I've been chatting recently with several people who are just entering the game. They ask how different it is at the higher limits. I admit to them that aggression pays off a lot more at the higher limits, but at the same time, all idiots aren't poor yet. In a $10/20 NL game the other night, I flopped a little set. A guy who had raised pre-flop called me all the way down (pot-sized bets the whole way, including one check-raise). The flop had come king-high and I put the guy on AK. I was feeling sort of bad for him losing nearly all of his buy-in when he called a huge bet on the river. I showed him my set and he mucked. I clicked the hand history to see what he held. Indeed, he had the king. His kicker was an un-paired offsuit ten.

I've also spent some time quietly analyzing the play of people I know and seeing how it stacks up about how I viewed their play before. It's interesting, but I haven't formed any opinion other than, to be honest with yourself about how you play, you have to be honest with the people you tell about your play.

So, what the hell was with the rest of this post?

Sorry, just taking you along for a little ride in my head.

| Otis' Thoughts