So. Having admitted that I cannot stop writing my thoughts and publishing them to the pages herein, and, likewise, admitting that those same actions are pertinent to my long term positive mental health, I find myself woefully underperforming, said and same efforts causing both consternations—consternations herein used to mean two of its synonyms, “alarms and worries”—and, additionally, backups in the pipeline of subjects which, with consternations, I wish to confer with you. In real world terms of analogy, it’s like having the constipation only a two-pound wedge of cheddar cheese can create when packed into the last several feet of your colon, that blocking the exit of two dozen sweet bean tamales slathered in my Gram’s habanero salsa.
Something’s gotta give.
Having said that, just how many synonyms does consternations have? It’s like saying you have the dreaded ADD and having the uninformed ask you, they’ll say something like, “You don’t act like my neighbor’s kid. That little shit can’t sit still for ten seconds.” Then you spend a couple hours in attempted educations to the subject only to be ignored for the efforts.
Like Wednesday. Before my mental backups and consternations explode in a conflagrated mash of gibberish, mayhaps some background might be required, so allow me to produce some. As I have decided to spend more time playing poker as a source of income, I’ve taken to studying the endeavor by enrolling in courses taught by the one poker teacher I trust. So as not to influence other poker players I’ll not say who this teacher is. I will say that since starting the classwork sixty days ago, I’ve almost doubled my hourly win rate. As your win rate is the most logical measure of financial success as a player that is a good thing, and, likewise, testament to the coach.
As practicing is a major part of any performance-based education, I decided to go over to the Choctaw Casino and enter a couple WSOP Circuit events after a lesson on slow playing big hands to trap an opponent. That casino is an hour-and-a-half from here rather than the half-hour trip to my new home casino, Winstar. I left Wednesday at 9:30 am after I had gone to the gym, shit/showered/shaved, insured the dogs were happily boarded, and packed. As the dogs are never happily boarded, I’ve just told the first lie of my day assuming we ignore the one where I said “Good morning” to the Squirt when she stomped on my full bladder to awaken me at six am.
“Wake up, shithead,” she told me as she did her morning ritual organ stomp from bladder-to-spleen-to-liver. “It’s three minutes after six and I’m starving!”
This daily exercise typically ends with her sitting on my chest and breathing morning dog breath in my face. Her fresh breath is maggot-gagging and in the morning it can peel paint, likely the why answer for this daily program.
“They eat dog meat in Manilla, you know. I can buy you a ticket to the Philippines that fast.”
My threat must have sounded more like a love poem because it got me a smelly face slurp. Maybe I need to get a face tattoo so I can get some respect.
I left at 9:30 Wednesday because the event started at noon. As I was driving my Chevy SS, I managed to trim three-minutes-twenty-seven-seconds off the estimated trip time, and arrived exhilarated from accelerating across southern Oklahomaburg. The adrenaline rush that comes from highway passing a Prius—dropping down two gears with a mash of the right foot—in less than three seconds, is almost more than I can stand. To hear that LS-3 burn a full gallon of fuel in a rush from 65 to 90 MPH, to feel the car’s body jump with brute strength…
I arrived at Choctaw, early, checked-in for my room, then went to the tournament area to sign up for the Mega Stack event. Like big motors, mega stack events have special drawing power, so this tournament had 1,096 entries. And like providing the petrol for a big motor, keeping your body and mind fueled for the grind of one of these events is a challenge. We started at noon, and I was knocked out at 1:00 am in, effectively, 115th place, a finish that was in the money but a profiting of something like $7.68 per hour of play. While I was happy to have cashed, I was disappointed to have not lasted longer.
I had stuffed some energy bars in my backpack to help me keep up with the hours played and ended sharing with my tablemates, information pertinent to the game but not to my point. I also packed my several medications which I whipped out at 4:00 pm, my ritualized medication schedule.
“Damn, old man, that’s quite a pharmacy you’ve got there!”
This from one of the young guys you can see playing on TV as he is a successful player who travels the circuits. During this day, I played with six guys you see on TV and one of the game’s greats, TJ Cloutier. TJ is still a strong player well into his seventies and is a truly fine man. As his home casino is also the Winstar, I see him a couple times a week.
“What’s all that stuff for?” the young gun player asked as I swallowed the entire fistful of pills with one swallow.
“Well,” I started, taking the next day’s assortment from my blue plastic four o’clock pill dispensary, “these two are for the side effects of having had routine visits with The Great Radiator for my prostate cancer, this one here is to replace the minerals that the first two deplete in order to work, and this one here—the red one—is because I’m crazy. The red one is speed for my ADD.”
Kid looked at me like I’d told him I’m a gender transplant. We played a few hands with him watching me from the corners of his eyes and I could tell he was formulating a question.
“Spit it out, son. You aren’t experienced enough to hurt my feelings, so just ask your question.”
“You don’t act like my neighbor’s kid. That little shit can’t sit still for more than ten seconds. You’re driving me crazy, but you seem to sit still OK. You don’t have ADD, I think that’s your excuse to be a gigantic pain in my ass.”
I peeked at my next hand of cards, took my usual four-and-a-half seconds to ponder their playabilities, and folded.
“You, young man, suffer from the misconception that ADD and ADHD are the same, precise thing, and they are not. Allow me to elucidate for your edifications.”
And I did. For the next fifty-five minutes I described the various types of ADD, how they differ, how they affect the sufferer, and gave many examples. His education was cut short when I knocked him out of the tournament where I smooth-called a flopped set of eights through the turn, he hit top two pairs on the river and I called his all-in bet. He flipped his hand over with youthful exuberance and declared, “Sorry, old man.”
As he prepared to scoot the pot his way, I laid my two cards face down, tipped them over while still back-to-face to show the Eight of Hearts. Then I took the index finger of my right hand and tapped them apart to reveal the Eight of Spades to match the eight on the board.
The guy’s happy face did that slow melt to terror we’ve all seen when a person realizes they’ve misread an important situation. He looked at the tabled cards then at me, back to the cards and then again at me.
“What the fuck?” he asked. “How could you slow play a set with the flush draw on the board?”
“Uh,” I mumbled as I raked and stacked his entire cache of chips, “I was distracted?”
He stood tableside after getting knocked out staring google-eyed at his bounty sitting in front of me. When we finished the next hand of play, he said to me, he went, “You sonofabitch. You set me up!”
Some of these young guys are brilliant players, people with the skills to figure out even the most complex situations. Which said, brings me back to my point.
I want to write more and I need to write more. But with my schooling and practicing and spending the required time to properly parent two precocious puppies, my decision is often to write, or to sleep. If you’d ever witnessed my countenance while sleep deprived, you too would vote for sleep.
But there should be a gap between this poker course and the next, and I intend to fill it with more scribblings. So why don’t we all cheer a hearty “Fuck Walmart!” and plan what to do in the stead of Friday’s inauguration.