Tuesday, October 28, 2008

why I'm not playing much lately, and why that is probably good

Sometimes the most +EV decision you can make in poker is to stay away from the tables. Whether they be virtual or real life, it's rare that you can bring a moderate or weak focus to the game and expect good results. Especially in the games and stakes I currently find myself.

Lately for various reasons (most of which personal and I'm not sure I feel like delving in to) I've found myself emotionally uninterested in grinding. I constantly load up FTP, start mining hands and look to see if the games are good. I would say on thursday, friday, saturday, and sunday the games were all fantastic. Despite that I only played on thursday and couldn't find the effort to sit once over the weekend. Some might say this is fairly pathetic given I spend most of my time doing activities purely for my own enjoyment. Those folks would think that my inability to sit and grind for even a couple of hours shows a lack of dedication or just plain laziness on my part. While I could understand where this sentiment would be coming from, these I think would be the people that would struggle (and possibly fail) with the psychological aspect of playing poker for living, something I believe is the most difficult aspect.

One thing I've discovered in the last couple of years is that if you don't feel like playing, you shouldn't play. Just because you had planned on playing does not mean that you have to keep some kind of interpersonal gambling appointment. Poker is an entirely voluntary game and noone can tell you when you should be playing. I have no obligation to anyone beyond paying my bills and my taxes. If I am adequately taking care of those two responsibilities then I don't have a compelling reason to play if I don't want to.

While this all seems very rudimentary, I think there is a deeper message I'm trying and failing miserably at illuminating. The idea is not only that playing when you don't want to play will be -EV because it is unlikely that you will bring or sustain your A game to the tables, but it is also -EV for your personal quality of life. Earning money only has so much value as it allows you to do what you want with your life. In my case I enjoy playing poker, but I also enjoy a myriad of other pursuits. If monetarily I am not wanting, then the opportunity cost of not playing poker is no greater in my mind than the opportunity lost to enrich myself or in general enjoy my day. It's this idea that we (speaking mostly of middle to upper class Americans here) must be constantly accumulating wealth that baffles me.

Take the last 12 months of my life. I could have easily doubled my earn in that time if I had put in 2.5x as much time playing as I did (I say 2.5x playing because as you play more you won't be able to game select as much and you won't be able to be on your A game for as long). However the time cost, physical toll, and mental wear probably would have caused a significant dip in my quality of life (which was quite high imo). Would an additional $XXXXXX provide me with something that would have raised my quality of life from what the additional playing time took away? I don't know. But my quick random blog thought assessment says no. I can't think of any trips, meals, outings, or toys that I desperately wanted to go on, own or use that would have increased on any meaningful level my quality of life. For the most part in terms of freedom of personal time I have been in a nearly ideal situation over the last 12 months. Typically anything that I wanted to do I could do it. Both because I had the time, and I had the freedom. Once you've achieved that, what more can a job that you actually enjoy really offer?

I could ramble on and on about this and get into the levels that I find much more interesting. But chances are that my off the cuff 4AM blogging isn't really such tremendous prose. Most of what I find interesting about all of this relates much more to psychology, sociology, philosophy, and political science than to poker. And since I neither have the resources nor the knowledge of the people that have made these arguments before (and most certainly better and more clear than I am) anything further would simply be rambling conjecture on subjects that people who check out my blog probably have no interest or understand better than me.

Maybe I'll drag a friend to a bar sometime this week and wax philosophical over some octoberfest or an IPA, before it goes from jacket-weather to coat-weather.

FWIW I've been really enjoying a few bands lately that people may or may not know about. For some reason I pull these two out every fall and find there music appropriately moody (and dare I say emo) for the season. I tend to find myself matching genres with seasons, and fall is definitely my punk, alt, emo, rock time of the year. The bands I'm spending most of my time listening to are ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead and Brand New. AYWKUSTD is much more out there, but very very interesting and Brand New (imo) is simply the only bad to make emo rock that I really respect. Then again I think its questionable if there stuff is really emo, or if its just serious alt-rock. Without a doubt I think they put out serious heavy albums of the type that I haven't really found since At The Drive-In split into Sparta and Mars Volta.

thats all for now. Still looking for a Halloween costume. Some of the ideas have been really solid, but nothing has really stuck. I think in general I'm looking for something a little more humorous, but at least one of the suggestions did make me lol. I'm still looking for an idea of what to do on Halloween as surprisingly none of my friends seem interested this year, so it could be that I won't even be doing anything interesting. meh.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

google reader is sweet, 1 year anniversary, PLUS A CONTEST!!!!

So my season as a baseball fan is basically over. I'll watch and enjoy the world series, but I have no vested interest in either team so it kind of kills the excitement. Although I've only lived in Boston for a couple of years I feel like I've become a pretty serious Red Sox fan. The love of the team is infectious in the city, especially when you live about 1/8th of a mile from Fenway Park. Plus I never really rooted for or against a particular AL team, so I don't feel like I'm betraying my love of the Reds (sigh) by rooting for the Red Sox. If a Reds/Red Sox world series were to occur in the future I would probably end up rooting for the Reds since as a franchise their opportunities to win have greatly decreased, but I wouldn't enjoy having to pick between the two.

I started Google Reader tonight, and let me say its sweet. I highly recommend everyone give it a shot. Its super easy to use, and it really makes reading blogs/news/etc much easier. If you decide to give it a go and you read this blog give it a subscribe so you can get easy updates when I write something.

Assuming I keep playing well and running decent I'm looking for my 3rd 5 figure month in a row this month. Things are going pretty well, and I feel very comfortable playing 5/10 now. I rarely look for 3/6 games anymore, and I haven't played 2/4 all month. A massive downswing and resulting loss in confidence is all just one variance bitch-slap away, but I'm hoping that my transition into the higher end of mid-stakes can now be considered permanent. There are only really one or two stakes higher than this that you can actually grind, and I think making it to those stakes is going to take a lot of work on my part. Then again if you had told me a year ago that I would have changed from LHE to NLHE and have moved up to comfortably 6-10 tabling 5/10 I probably would have been a little skeptical. Not to say that I totally would have dismissed it, but I'm not sure that I thought my poker growth would have continued this upward trend for 12 months.

Speaking of which this is pretty much the one year anniversary of me going pro. In my first 12 months I can confidently say that I greatly improved as a player, and I think the proof is that despite averaging only about 65 hrs of play a month I cracked 6-figures for that 12 month span. I'd be really raking it in if it weren't for the IRS, but I pay my taxes in the hope that eventually some politicians will quit wasting most of what I give them.

Finally the contest! I'm looking for an idea for a sweet halloween costume. Something creative, funny, original, whatever. Basically something that is cool and can actually be had via a trip to a local thrift shop, retail store, or via ordering online. I'm taking ideas. I have a few of my own, but nothing that I'm really excited about. So if you post an idea in my comments and I choose it I'll ship $10 to you on FTP or stars. You'll know if I choose your idea because I'll be sure to take pics and post them on the blog. May the best idea win!

thats all for now. later


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

gogogo Red Sox!

Was at the game tonight. Obviously I had a great time. Epic finish.

that is all.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

yesterday was weird, but life is good

so yesterday morning I decide I want to make some breakfast and I need to clean out a small pot that my gf had fixed some rice noodles in the night before. Some of the noodles have dried out and stuck to the bottom of the pan. Anyone that has cooked these noodles will know that they are very thin and hard to get off the bottom of a pan if stuck. I tried scouring them off, but when that wasn't working I decided to try and scrape them off with my thumbnail. big mistake.

I proceed to get about 2/3rds of an inch of rice noodle jammed like a splinter under my thumbnail. When it happened it was extremely painful (and I have decent pain tolerance/not squeamish). I immediately tried to remove it with some tweezers, but the end of the noodle just broke off and it was stuck under my thumb. At this point my hand is literally shaking from the pain, and I can see the noodle under my thumb. I called Katy and she was on her way to work and suggested I google it and maybe go to the ER. After looking it up I found not much help online. I tried soaking my hand to see if the noodle would break up, but the hot water was really painful and after half an hour I'd had no luck. I tried trimming back the nail and trying to get ahold of something with the tweezers, but no luck with that. Finally I steralized a needle and tried to poke it into the opening just to see if I could scrape out some of the noodle. This was also painful and ineffective.

I decided to try and get some sleep (I had been up late watching baseball/playing poker) and then see how I felt in the afternoon. When I woke up about 4.5 later my hand was throbbing and I could tell this was something I couldn't just ignore. So I headed to the ER where they checked me in. When I finally got back I was lucky that my room had a TV so I was able to watch the phillies and the brewers. First the resident came in and told me that everyone was getting a good laugh at my expense (Katy and her med school friends had also found this pretty funny) because the board just said noodle and they were all guessing what that meant. The resident informed me that they plan was to block off the nerves in my thumb with anesthesia (sp?) and then to separate part of the nail and remove the noodle. The attending came in and confirmed this, and after another 45 minutes or so they started sticking me with the needles trying to numb my thumb. My thumb had been continuously throbbing and having shooting pain about every 5 minutes, so the anesthesia was a welcome relief.

After the first 4-5 injections my thumb was getting pretty numb and the attending attempted to dig into my nail with some scissor/tweezer things. It was extremely painful and while I was trying to suck it up, he could tell that it was really too painful to keep going. On a side note isn't it interesting that when you are in extreme pain your body reacts the way it does? I was sweating and my heart rate had gone way up and my hand was visibly shaking. So they injected me another 4-5 times and gave me a couple of percocet. After waiting for that to sink in my finger was pretty numb and they gave it another try.

The attending used the scissors to dig a trench between my nail and the quick around the noodle. It was probably the most painful thing I can remember. I didn't embarass Katy by cussing or anything, but I have a new understanding for how horrible the bamboo under the fingernail torture must be. At one point I looked over to see his progress, and it really wasn't a pretty site. There was some blood coming out of the end of my finger and he was pretty forcible jamming the instrument into my finger.

When they finally finished getting it out my thumb was racked with pain. My hand was shaking and bleeding a little, and I just kept laughing and telling Katy how surprisingly painful it was. I mean I figure it would hurt, and I was not looking forward to whatever solution they had, but I have to say I really didn't think after all of those injections and the percocet that it would hurt that much. Let me just say I really really don't recommend ever getting anything jammed under your thumbnail. It's not fun.

The thumb is healing up, but it hurt pretty bad last night and woke me up a couple of times during the night. It's been getting better today during the day, and its draining and some of the sweeling and redness is going away.

Despite that not fun story, life has been good. For one I've started the month off on a nice heater. Secondly the Red Sox are playing great and picked up their second win against the LAA Angels. It was especially sweet because they got the win against K-Rod who I'm not a fan of. I had just been explaining to Katy why I thought he was overrated and why I really didn't like his post game celebrations when the Red Sox rallied in the top of the 9th and got three hits off of him including Drew's 2R HR.

that's about all I've got. hope the tables are good to everyone.