Sometimes I look back and wonder how I became the gambler I am today. To be honest with you, I was right on that edge. I knew just enough about casino gambling to be a really good loser. I think it started when my father passed on his love of roulette. That's right... roulette!!
I loved it. There was a rush every time that wheel was spun. Then I learned craps. Talk about a rush...
Blackjack, Pai Gow, Let It Ride, Three Card Poker, Keno... I lost and lost and lost... and loved every minute of it.
And then poker came calling. It saved me.
It's a good thing online poker wasn't really around when I was in college. I first discovered it a couple years after graduating. I was living in G-Vegas and making a few bucks a month at a dealer's choice home game.
I found my rush at Ultimate Bet. I actually managed to build a bankroll by cashing in a freeroll and getting a few bucks from a royal flush. I turned it into a couple hundred dollars and thought I was the greatest player in the history of poker. In reality, I was a donkey (before they were called donkeys). But my itch was being scratched.
I truly believe the poker blogger community helped me get over my need for that rush. Frankly, chasing was the best way to embarrass myself in front of my new invisible friends. I wanted to show them I knew how to play. I started to think less about the gamble and more about how to be a winning player.
I've lost that.
I've played so infrequently over the past year that when I do play, I can last about three levels before I'm ready to push all-in on a button steal with KTo. I'm more than happy to race with pocket 3s despite an M of 12. When I lose, that's okay... the adrenaline lasts long enough for me to close down the program.
I'm a bad poker player again (some would argue I was never good, but I digress...). I doubt any bloggers worry when they find me at their table. It's not like I give them any reason to.
So where's the rush? I'm increasingly finding it at the track. Judging by the lack of comments on my horse racing posts, I'm guessing there's little interest in my handicapping. That's probably a good thing because I don't think I'm a real good handicapper, either. I've gotten just lucky enough over the years to fool myself.
But I love it. Whereas in the past, I might spend an entire Saturday playing tourney after tourney... now I'd rather handicap a card and watch the races at Belmont.
That's not a good thing. When I'm playing right, I know I have an edge at the poker table. At the track? The house has the edge. If I'm chasing the rush there, I know I'm going to be a loser in the long run.
So what's the answer? I wish I knew. We have a Wii now. I think I'll lay a few bets with Lady Luck on Super Mario Kart.