Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Activating Ramble Doom Switch...NOW!

I've become an impatient degenerate bastard. Horrible (and costly), but true.

I can chalk up all sorts of reasons and explanations and extenuating circumstances but at the heart of all of it is a very simple fact: I'm leaving a shit-ton of money on the table because I'm pressing too hard, trying to win too much money now, immediately, this instant, NOW!

There's a weird sort of malaise that has crept into my mindset of late. Online gambling has been very good to me. It boggles my mind to think back to October 2004 when ScurvyWife and I got married, taking on a decent amount of debt to pay for our wedding, leaving me with a $100 bankroll. I'd just started doing poker affiliate stuff and remember checking my stats from a RV park in Arizona on our honeymoon and being excited as hell to see that I'd made $22.89 at Absolute from someone who signed up under me there.

Since then online gambling has provided me with a ridiculous amount of money, counting all my poker profits, bonus scheming, affiliate money, and freelance work. It's basically buying us a second house. For which I am very, very grateful and thankful.

But it also creates a bit of an odd conundrum, which I've been beating my head against of late. While all of those extra dollars are very nice, they're not necessarily life-altering, when you add them all up. I can't quit my job and retire to a life of luxury and leisure. I can't casually take a month off and go play as many WSOP events as I'd like. I'm still stuck at a soul-sucking job that I hate, with the degenerate stuff still consuming a lot of my "free" time that I used to spend doing things like, you know, having fun. I make too much money from it to let it go, but not enough to rely on it.

In recent months my response has been to push harder, playing bigger stakes and taking bigger risks. Instead of grinding out a casino bonus for a nice little $60 profit, I start betting $50/hand, looking for a really big score. Instead of grinding out steady profits at LHE, I jump into big buy-in tournaments or SnGs at the very last minute, trying to push the needle higher with a big score. I happily grind out nice wins at 2/4 NL and suddenly decide to sit at 10/20 NL, even though I know the risk of ruin is very, very high.

If you throw out last month (which was abnormally profitable due to running abnormally well at the 20/40 tables) I'm pretty much break even for the year, poker-wise, as sad as that is to admit. I've hopped around like a crack-addled lemur, playing nearly every game and limit under the sun, and don't really have much to show for it. But the recurring theme, over and over and over, is that I ignore the games and stakes that I've historically had success at, usually kicking them to the curb for flashier, more dangerous pursuits with a higher potential ROI but an equally higher risk of ruin.

Impatience, on both land and sea. I don't want to play poker full-time yet I've been trying to force poker into producing an equivalent full-time salary. I keep pushing harder, as if some windfall will, umm, fall into my lap, yet I know that profits only come in the very long run, in incremental doses. And, more than any other hobby or job or endeavor, it sucks up a hellacious amount of time, chaining me to the computer in some fashion or another.

Deep down inside, part of me actually wants to go busto, once and for all, or for the fucktards in Congress to outlaw all online gaming. For someone or something to take the decision out of my hands entirely. I've always been amazed when I'm forced to unhook the umbilical cord (whether on vacation with no Internet access or switching ISPs or random power outages or basically anything that makes the computer go dark) to the Interwebs, as I can't escape this odd feeling that somehow I've been given my life back, with all this free time to hang out with my wife or play with ScurvyRat or read a book or cook dinner or do any number of useful and/or fun things.

And sure, I'm a big boy, and I can simply turn off the computer myself, any time I want. Except I really can't, as it costs me money to do that, and there's the ever-increasing chance that the virtual gaming coffers may suddenly slam shut, at least for those of us in the US.

In the end, it's more a matter of rediscovering the patient monkey lurking within me, and focusing on all the opportunities in front of me, instead of greedily coveting the gaudy baubles just out of reach. Yeah, it'd be pretty sweet to play in the Big Game or to be an online pro raking in $200,000 every year. It's also pretty nice, though, to be lucky enough to live my life right now, and to make a few extra thousand dollars every month, from playing poker and mindlessly grinding out hands of BJ when silly online casinos hand me free money.

I've worked some pretty back-breaking, exhausting jobs in the past, making minimum wage. If some casino offers me a reload bonus that works out to a likely $18 profit for an hour of mouse-clicking, that's a pretty sweet gig, and $18 that I didn't have. Stop thinking that $18 won't put me any closer to quitting my day job, while betting $50/hand and going on an unholy winning streak will. Because it won't, aisde from the fact that unholy streaks never occur, and you know all that, so just take the good and stop acting like an impatient monkey.

Perspective, Daniel-san, perspective.


RikkiDee said...

Hey man, personally I figure you are in the perfect situation. You have a full-time job to fall back on if you do go busto chasing big wins. All the big WPT and WSOP winners that qualify through satelite are always dudes with jobs that dont need to grind it out. They can take those risks.

To someone like me who needs every ounce of EV, chasing satelites can't be justified. And while a day job can pretty much suck, it does offer the security necessary to take risks in poker. And if those risks add additional utility to your life, then just keep on keepin' on. Do what you want. You said it yourself, the money is nice, but not life-changing. I can't imagine the rush you receive by sitting at 10/20. You have the opportunity to actually enjoy poker rather than just mindlessly pressing the EV button over and over. Do it!

Drizztdj said...

Some nights I turn on my laptop wanting a quick buck playing baccarat or slots (and sometimes I do play but not for bankroll shifting stakes).

Then I'll remember what got me my small bankroll in the first place.


ScurvyDog said...


Wise words, sir, and thanks for commenting. I tend to get too caught up in chasing almighty dollars sometimes to step back and take in the bigger picture. Or, you know, enjoy what's a pretty sweet situation, all things considered.

ScurvyDog said...


Yeah, I need to be nicer to teh poker, as teh poker has been very good to me in general.