Monday, July 14, 2008

More Confessions of a Hayseed: Darkness & Light

Posted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:26 pm
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Hello dear friends.

70 mph winds and the power is out at our house. I cannot play poker. I am sitting here with my wife’s iBook, a candle on each side of the keyboard and a cookie sheet propped up behind those in an attempt to see the keys. (I am a hunt-and peckist.) I thought I’d use this down-time to explain a re-consideration. I think I will not retire bastin after all.

I’d like to thank all who have responded to the previous thread. I have appreciated the kind comments and the discussion as to whether or not retirement and starting from scratch with a new nick is the best strategy. Things have happened in the last week that have given me pause, and I would like to share those things in the hopes that others at PA will benefit, but mostly I hope to save face.

When I first thought of retiring bastin, I was looking for a way to see if my game was actually good, or if I simply had an amazing run. I also wanted to find a way to engage a larger portion of the PA community. I still want to do both of these things, yet in the last week I have started playing online for cash, and I am finding that this is fulfilling the former goal. I started at .05/.10 and quickly moved to .10/.25 ring games. In many ways it has been like starting over at PA. I initially deposited $150 and within a week, I have doubled this. Hooray for me, yet I realize I took a chance and played at a level where I would use 15% of my bankroll the first time I took a seat at the higher level. I feel comfortable at this level, which is a good thing. That said, I should still practice very careful bankroll management. I would like to eventually move up to higher buy-ins. It wouldn’t take much of a bad run to erase my current profit and a lot more, and I don’t know if I would have the fortitude (and expendable income) to try again.

This profit did not come readily, and I would estimate I have spent 5 hours a night working to build this account. It does not escape me that a part time job would have been more profitable. Yet, it is alluring; so much so that I have reduced my time at PA to about one third of the time I usually spend. I have continued to play in Feldspar and Granite, and entered a few tourneys for a change of pace. (My tourney game needs a lot of help.) In that I have played against some very skilled players in .10/.25 for cash, in order to keep on top of my game, I must continue to play the best at PA. For this reason alone, retiring bastin would not be in my best interest.

Ideally, PA is an environment is which one can practice poker in order to move into a cash game and do well. It has been a useful tool in this regard, and I trust I will continue to benefit. With this said, there is more to PA than practice. (I have addressed this ad nauseum in other threads.) Community is important, especially for a guy like me who lives in relative isolation out in the sticks. Out here, neighbors watch out for each other and I would like to think that ethos is possible in a “cyber-isolated” online community as well.

OK, enough of the touchy-feely. Or rather, how do I address my second goal of engaging the larger PA community in order to encourage the “Academy?” My battery is showing about half of it’s power, so for the sake of brevity this is what I’ll do: I will play more tourneys. I will play as bastin at any level, from Bismuth to Masochist. If someone wants to play heads-up, I will oblige, as long as it is in the lower levels. (No cowboys please.) This is a win/win. Additionally, if asked, I will play in a lower level ring game under another nick while making it known that it is I, or rather, he who is otherwise known as bastin. J

Poker, like life is fluid. As Heraclitus said, “One cannot step in the same river twice.” The game demands flexibility. Strategies must change, adapt. I have just gone down to the basement to fetch something and stepped into an inch of water. The back-up battery for the sump pump is dead. Sometimes the river comes your way and while it makes you trips, it makes someone else’s flush. It looks like I won’t be playing much poker tomorrow even if the power comes back on.

Day Two
I spent the day cleaning the basement and readying myself for a second night in the dark. The electric company is suggesting this might last a couple more days. Actually, I was supposed to have taken a flight this morning as this is the weekend my family in Illinois is celebrating Christmas. My dear wife, who is already in Illinois, is coming home early tomorrow as she has a horrible cold. I will be glad to see her. I have purchased a couple small battery-operated lanterns (the last two at the local hardware store), run a series of extension cords from the generator to the sump. fridge, freezer, and fan on the wood stove insert. I have also been able to recharge the computer. A local radio station is playing episode thirteen of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” I have never listened to it before. I have a bottle of scotch, ice, water, a tea kettle on the wood stove, a couple cords of wood in the barn and five gallons of gas. Life is pretty damn good when “roughing it” is augmented by technology and elixir.

I suppose I could reroute some of my power supply to my DSL router, AirPort and the computer on which I play poker. I am hesitant to do this, however, uncertain of the DC to AC current conversion. (Oh, I know, I’m not so worried about it that I don’t take a chance while recharging my wife’s computer!) I have never been so close to my computer yet so far from my poker game. In the past year that I have been playing Hold ‘em, I would guess I have not played about 2 weeks in total.

I have often said that I started playing poker last Christmas Day when my wife gave me Poker Academy as a present. That is when I found you fine folks. Actually, I had received T.J. Cloutier’s game as a birthday present six weeks prior to that. I played the games on that software for hours and hours each day. I was hooked on poker and wanted to find out more than what I had seen on TV for several years prior to playing myself. I bought Brunson’s “SS2” and Gordon’s “Little Green Book,” and read both in short order. I admit a fair amount of what Gordon wrote went over this neophyte’s head, or rather, at the time I was unable to fully grasp the importance of some of the finer points. Since then, aside from a subscription to “Cardplayer” magazine and the poker column my dear mother clips from her locals newspaper and sends to me, I have not read anything else.

I am a bit embarrassed to make the above confession. I bought Harrington’s first book eight months ago but barely bothered to read the first chapter. I preferred to get online and play at PA. In life I seem to have always chosen the hands-on experience, learning by way of the School of Hard Knocks as opposed to taking the advice of others, often to my disadvantage. However, I must say this: the lessons learned in this manner do get etched a little deeper. Still, when others at PA chat about poker authors and the large number of poker books they have read, my input in these discussions is always, I plan on reading more this winter. Well, winter is here, in all of its northwest fury.

Last week I bought Sklansky’s “The Theory of Poker” for the plane ride and for non-visiting time in Illinois. I dare say that I probably would not have gotten too far into it because of family obligations, and upon returning home, it would start to gather dust as I again chose to play instead of read. That would most likely be the case had it not been for this power outage. I have read five chapters, and as soon as I put away this computer, I will pick up the book. And if we are to have two or three more days without power, I may finish it. It has eased my poker jones, and I’ve already learned a few things about how to improve my game.

I hear the collective “DUH!” from my peers at PA. But maybe, just maybe, you don’t want me reading. Wink

Day three: “It’s alive! It’s alive, I tell you!”

Thank you for this indulgence.

Happy Holidays! Blessings to you all!


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