Thursday, September 29, 2005

Out of Character?

CJ wrote a post that got me thinking, about how he feels he never acts out of character.

My first thought was, "When does anyone really ever act out of character?"

I was debating how to respond, when my favorite Chris Noth Look-alike (CNLa) sends me a line on his girly messaging tool, to inform me that he is the king of the fishes.  I, of course, don't believe this tripe, and we end up talking about his playing style and his game.  I really enjoy these conversations because CNLa and I are almost opposite on the playing-style scale, so talking about his game always makes me think about mine.  We started talking about the weakness in his game, which he summed up as: I'm having some trouble adjusting to my opponents style at times, and that knowing isn't the same as DOING. 

And you know why this is? It's because when you adjust your game, you have to act out of character, and that's never easy, fun, or comfortable.  It's a step out of what some call "the comfort zone", which is called that for a reason - it's nice and safe.  I told CNLa that one of the hardest things for me, especially in no-limit poker, is to bet the pocket kings I've raised preflop when an Ace-high flop comes out.  I hate it, my heart races, my stomach churns.  But I do it, and it gets marginally easier each time.

And as I told my little CNLa, that's one of the reasons I hate him sitting at my table - his aggression forces me out of character, where I don't like to be.  But that's also good, too.  The more I play where I'm uncomfortable, the less uncomfortable that spot becomes.  And even though his ego is now as big as the stay-puft marshmallow man, it got me to even more thinking (and yes, that's scary in itself):

The question that really needs to be asked is not "What's keeping me from acting out of character?" but rather, "Why would anyone want to act out of character?"  Because, really, who goes and looks for scary and uncomfortable places to be just for kicks?

There are two reasons that I step out of my usual role: a) I am around a bunch of people I will never see again, so it doesn't matter what they think of me and I'm feeling like having a wild time and being someone else for the night, or more often b) I am dissatisfied with my current "character" and am taking steps to become someone I'm more satisfied with.  I'm told that (b) is very similar to this "growing up" thing.

But it's very hard to figure out just what steps you need to take in order to move from character C to character D, and if you don't know what steps to take, it's hard to get the motivation to move out of that comfort zone.  So we tend to rely on someone telling us what we need to do to move forward; this is the driving force behind the whole "self-help" craze, I'm sure.  In the poker world, we go and talk to those folks that have a game we respect, in other cases it's a friend, or a therapist, or a priest, or an accountant, or someone who is respected in the area you're trying to improve on.

It's out of character for me to bet pocket kings on an Ace high flop, but I do it because LawyerMark told me I needed to bet it.  I asked LawyerMark because I wanted to be a better poker player.

It's out of character for me to flirt with single guys face-to-face, or to wear cleavage-revealing shirts, but I'm doing it because donna told me I needed to do it.  And I asked donna because I get tired of being 'one of the guys', and wanted to move out of that character.

It's out of character for me to go to the movies by myself, or to go line dancing by myself, but I've done both of those, again because donna challenged me to do that.  She knows I have a hard time not responding to a challenge, and we both knew I needed to get rid of the idea that people who do these things by themselves are somehow flawed, because really, that's just a stupid idea, and I hate being stupid.

And now, I've been challenged to take that whole flirting-in-person stuff to level 2, and go further out of character - and thus putting more at risk - by asking a guy I've just met that day out to dinner and see what happens.  And I have to do this 3 to 5 times by the time I come back from Vegas in December.  The theory is I'll have realized by going through this that neither the going to dinner nor having the offer rejected is really that big of a deal .

So, based on my desire to improve, and the advice of some trusted people in my life, I'm taking my white chips from the $3/$6 table and I'm going to take a shot at the $6/$12 life table.  Thank goodness I'm not playing No-Limit.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


She even went as far as to convince me to get tipsy by drinking wine with her last night. And, seriously, I cannot hold my wine. Hard liquor, fine, I can drink that all day. One glass of wine and woooo watch out.

Things I did last night that I blame Gracie for:
  • Along with Otis, being convinced to skip class and play on that CRAPPY TITAN SITE for a tournament

  • Getting beaten by a "journalist" in chess (and I was ONE MOVE away from checkmate, dammit)

  • Managing to pull down the Euchre Master's play enough to get whooped 3 times in a row, by a PLO8 player and a "webmaster" and then again by G-ROB. Oh, the HUMANITY!

  • Hitting on Otis' chip stack while railbirding the tourney

  • Heck, I blame her for my tipsy railbirding in general

  • Professing my TOTALLY PLATONIC love for DoubleAs, Otis, BG, GRob, and probably a couple more folks I don't remember ...

  • Retracting the above statement after getting SCHOOLED by Otis and Grob. I can't believe I'm admitting I got schooled by G-Rob (and on top of that, more than once). I may forgive them if they go to Vegas, though.

  • Lemuring off $25 to Iggy with middle pair in the NLHE blogger game (does $10 of that count as paying off my bet?)

However, I don't blame her for putting my money on Otis to make the top 5 in the WPBT event, because I would absolutely do that sober. Too bad he didn't win, or I'd be heading to the boathouse this weekend. :D

Thank goodness I'm one of the people who are genetically blessed with not getting hangovers, or I'd be a mess today.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bluff magazine

It took two hours to get to the boats, which is just insane right there. As soon as I got in, there was a seat at the $1k max game, and I tossed my stuff down in my usual seat, and went to cash in. Of course, there was only one cashier going, and the person ahead of me was cashing out for above the 'need a supervisor' limit, so I decided to see if Shelley was still around, which she was. I said hello, and chatted for a tiny bit before getting back in line to get chips.

As soon as I sit down and start playing with my popsicle-temperature cards (I couldn't even get cards that I could play 6-handed, seriously - it took about 2 hours for me to win a single pot, ugh), the floor announced over the in-room intercom that they would be taking pictures of the room for Bluff magazine, and if we didn't want our picture taken, we should leave the room for a few minutes. Good thing I'd taken the time to run upstairs and put the curling iron to my head and change into a nicer than usual shirt before I left, eh? Especially since after about 10 minutes, the photographer and escort came over and announced that they were going to be taking closeups of our table, and we'd have to sign release forms.

At this point, a guy directly behind me at Shelley's 3/6 table behind me said, "Hey, why not our table?!?!" I rolled my eyes and turned around and remarked, "Because we're playing with the green chips." He deflated and turned around to go back to his game.

So, who knows, maybe you'll get to see my mug in glossy print sometime soon!

IronMike asked me where Mark was as we were on the cusp of having enough players to start up the CMG. Since I'd talked to him the day before, and knew he was going out that night, I assumed (correctly) that Mark wasn't going to show up until at least 8, as he'd be catching up on work that he wasn't able to do the night before due to the birthday dinner. Mark called IronMike a little later, and this was the case. He finally said he'd be there around 9:00 or so, and when that time had rolled around and he wasn't there, I decided to give him a call. Poor thing was stuck in traffic and asked us to just start the game up and he'd be there as soon as possible. So we did.

There wasn't anything terribly eventful about the game (which is mixed $10/$25 NLHE, $10/$25 PLO), except that because we were missing some regulars, I was the best PLO player at the table by far. I'm so unused to being in this situation and it was rather cool! Instead of the usual getting help from LawyerMark about my NLHE game, the tables were turned and I was actually helping him with his PLO game. Crazy. Too bad the chips didn't remember that I was the best PLO player there, and I ended up down for the night, but mostly from the $1k game - I was about even at the CMG. I would have been up for the night, too, had I left at 2am instead of the 4 am that I actually got out of there. Got my butt in bed at 5 am, and set the alarm for noon so I could make my 1 pm appointment the next day.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Busy Weekend

I've had a busy, but good weekend :)

Friday, went to play at the boats for about 4 hours, and managed to triple up my buyin at the crazy monkey game during the PLO half when I got put all in with vulnerable nuts (JcTc9h with me having K5hQcQ, my opponent had A9c9) and didn't get sucked out on! That was especially sweet because the guy who doubled me up was the same guy who sucked out on me with T9s when he called a flop bet with the flop being A86 rainbow. Take THAT, Drizz!!

I did get to see LawyerMark after a long break, which was (as always) nice, and I got to talk some tournament hands with Tom Macey (of suckedoutonTVbyRobertBellalandeFame), which is always nice, too. DoubleAs - Mark plays the QJ hand the same way I play the QJ hand for the same reasons. Go figure, since he taught me most of what I know about NL poker. :D

I'm currently watching Matt Matros play in the WCOOP while playing some PLO8 as well as watching the Ind/Bal game and it looks like he might finally make the money, as the stalling has already begun and he's ahead in chips.

and dayyymn, he busts out at 180 on a bluff. Luckily, 180 places pay - it'll be interesting to see what he writes in his journal tomorrow.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Now that's a hammer!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

More interesting Phil Gordon chat from the table

Some other comments of amusement that went on when I was sitting at the table with Phil Gordon:

nyconnection (Observer): Phil Josh Arieh a jerk or no?
Phil Gordon: jerk
Phil Gordon: yes, I like Raymer a lot
Phil Gordon: great guy
hhhgamewmx7 (Observer): Hey Phil, Hellmuth, Jerk or funny guy
Phil Gordon: jerk jerk jerk
Phil Gordon: I get along with PH, just think hes a jerk at the table

BIG0BLT (Observer): that porn only hhh
hhhgamewmx7 (Observer): lol
Phil Gordon: really? I'm there
BIG0BLT (Observer): phil and dave foley look at porn the whole time
Phil Gordon: you know it

And when someone says he's not sure he wants to buy Phil's CD:

Phil Gordon: if $25 is too much for a tool that will absolutely, 100%, improve your game, take up knitting
Phil Gordon: I'm ALL IN with the RED THREAD!

Friday, September 02, 2005


Yeaaah, just look who's sitting in the first seat on my left - I was DOOOOOMED!!

After I gave him another chunk of my stack the chat went something like this:
sayeluis (Observer): what bank did you rob phil lol
Phil Gordon: the bank of MAI GREY

But YES, I played poker with PHIL GORDON baby! April's SO jealous!