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

October 6, 2003


by Staff

There was no lime. Only tequila and salt. I was reaching the point to where I didn't care anymore. A series of drinking contests--primarily consisting of hardcore games of rock-paper-scissors and euchre--was nearing its end. I was losing, despite my deep belief I was a proven winner.

As I licked the salt off the soft part of my hand and gulped the double shot of tequila down, I probably began to forget there was more to winning than winning in the past.

Variance lies in drinking contests as well, my friends.

Friday night should've been a warning to me that bad times were on the horizon. The night of drinking ended badly. I began to re-evalulate the concept of drinking contests at what is becoming an advanced age for me.

It was during this drunken circus that I began to publicly speak for the first time about my success at online poker. Hundred upon hundred of dollars, I gurgled through my tenth beer. It's just too easy, I spat through the bar's smoke.

It was there in the middle of that basement bar that I broke my first rule of superstition: Never talk about it when it's going good.

There are days that define us. There are days that teach us what kind of intestinal fortitude we have. There are days that teach us, we are much weaker than we ever thought we were.

Yesterday (two days after the drinking binge) was one of those days.

I'd take the casual reader through the evening hand-by-hand, but I'm not one to tell bad beat stories too often. Suffice it to say, it was a seven-hour series of getting sucked out on like I was lint in a Hoover Vaccuum factory. The bankroll took a major hit. I'm still way up in online poker winnings, but not nearly as up as I was this time yesterday.

How does this happen? How does a man who has won consistently for the past several months finally hit an evening where he might as well have started burning dollar bills?

I've narrowed it down to two things:

1) I talked about it. Never, ever talk about it. If you're winning money, don't talk about it. If you're losing weight, don't talk about it. Just yesterday, Adam Vinatieri was on the verge of kicking his 34th straight under-40-yard field goal. A lower-screen graphic acknowledged this fact. He shanked it. And shanked the next one as well. The automatic kicker fell apart, because somebody talked about it.

2) Variance. I had never appreciated the high level of variance in online poker. Now I do. I just wish I'd realized it earlier in the evening.

By the end of the night, the hemmoraging slowed and I started to get back on track. Still, the loss hurt me to the point of near unconciousness. If I weren't already playing with other people's money, I'd quit playing all together.

I need to read up on variance. It may be the weakest link in my poker knowledge vault. In one of the ubiquitous poker TV news stories that have hit the air recently, I heard Jennifer Harmon talk about the first time she lost $100K in one night. She said she cried (or wanted to cry). On a much smaller level, I think I know what she means now.

So, a challenge for the poker players out there:

Tell me how to get through this without putting my poker chips in the closet, turning off the computer, canceling any future trips to Vegas, and regressing to Euchre games for shots of tequila.

| Poker Theory