"No face eating tonight."
My chip stack had been hovering around even since we'd started the game. I was just about to get involved in a hand when The Mark's host looked across the table and said it:
"No face eating tonight."
At first I didn't get it. Face-eating? I peered at my hole cards, looking for paint, wondering if the last time I'd been there I had gotten drunk and eaten a face card or two. Just as I was about to ask him to repeat himself, I figured it out.
I'd written about The Mark before. And I'd written about the host's wife before.
I didn't peel my cards off the table again, preferring instead to eat her face with my eyes. Her cheeks pulled in as she drew in on the cigar. She pulled her cards off the felt one more time. I couldn't read her as well as I wanted. Remember, her beauty put me on tilt the moment she'd climbed out of the H2-Hummer. When she lit the cigar and bathed the table in a sexual wash of smoke and casual good humor, I decided there was no way I could play the game of poker ever again..
I said the only thing I could in response.
"Uh, I don't know what you're talking about. Surely."
Then I mucked my hand.
Friday night I headed back to The Mark, thinking it would be another rowdy night of ruckus. Instead, it was rather calm, just a few guys and The Host's wife.
I could turn this into a long post about how I again fell victim to the lady mentioned the in above paragraphs, but I fear my substandard prose would turn out a lot like it did before.
(Suffice it to say, she slowplayed a pair of queens against me in a NL Hold'em tourney, shortly after making two terrific calls against other players, and busted me out).
Instead, this is just a short post to look back on when I start telling myself that poker isn't fun anymore
In recent weeks, I've found myself analyzing every play I make, down to when I fold my small blind in an unraised pot. I haven't been having fun. Though I have an interest in running my poker play like small business, I'm not so interested that I want to allow the fun to drain out of the game. I don't want to hate myself when I lose or feel like I've failed when I start running exceptionally bad (read: now).
When I headed out to The Mark two nights ago, I was at first obsessed with how I would beat the Friday night game. It is often full of loose, card-maniac players who are more content to go broke quickly than fold. I had not been faring well there. My normally tight-agressive style falls apart in that environment and I was expecting another night of poker-based frustration.
When I got there, however, I realized that most of the broke-or-bust players had stayed home. The game was left with some of the tougher, more experienced players. I stopped concentrating on how to alter my game to beat the loose players and focused more on...just playing.
It felt good. It felt like poker is supopsed to. Winning, losing, all-in catching of a miracle two-outer in a cash game of NL Omaha Hi-Lo. It was poker and it felt great again.
In fact, when I counted my roll at the end of the night, I was actually down about $19 and I didn't care.
See, as much as I love winning big and studying the game, I don't want that kind of success at the expense of the game's beauty.
After all, that's why we play...the beauty of the game.
I figure that's why I was so enamored with getting beat to hell by The Host's wife.
Incidentally, after we all tacitly admitted knowing what the "face-eating" comment was all about, the young lady to my right leaned over and said of my first write-up, "I e-mailed it to my dad."
I hope he enjoyed it.