I Am... the Enemy!
Or How I Fail And Am A Very Very Weak Man
 

Posted by Alex Laforest in

BRAG: 50 + 100 free money
BEAT: ShortStacking NL50
VARIANCE: 10 Pocket Rockets over the last ±500 hands.

William Miller: I am dark and mysterious, and I am PISSED OFF! I could be very dangerous to all of you! And you should know that about me... I am THE ENEMY!
- Almost Famous (2000), Cameron Crowe

O, I am such a weak, weak man, with such a big, big ego, fueled by a borderline unhealthy pride... The story goes something like that. Buckle up, it might be a while :P...

I babble and babble, in life as well as at work. Hell, just look at the logger of those posts! Being a tad outspoken has, as one of many consequences, well, that people know what you do for fun, basically. Thus my co-workers know Nic and I as the poker guys (yeah, I also work with my poker buddy; one of those nice, surprising friendships from the workplace, I guess :)). Every single time another employee plays poker, for any reason at all, any crazy fscking game out there, we're sure to hear about it. Thus, when a colleague of mine called David showed some interests in the game and started fiddling around with play money, I literally jumped at the occasion and started listening to him and answering him any time he'd open up on the subject. Obviously :). Later on, he confessed to me not being that comfortable depositing his own money on a gambling site with his own credit card. To each is own being one of my mottos, so I didn't question his take and opinion. A couple of weeks later, Nic, also dealing with a friend in a predicament similar to David's, discovered some ways to start a bankroll from scratch, basically getting staked by some websites entertaining partnerships with the most popular poker clients out there. Sites such as Poker Strategy. David ended up creating an account on this site, the first in the list Nic put together for his buddy, but was nice enough to forward him. Thus, he finally started playing real poker, on Titan Poker with a $50 credit from PokerStrategy. We quickly started discussing his results and the whole process for him to get the credit, which is basically a 20-question quiz you have to pass (20 out of 20 I think) in 5 tries. Since he had some specific queries, I told him I'd do the test and get back to him. So I did. And failed. ROFL! That definitely hurt my pride and ego, both as somewhat of a self-proclaimed intellectual as well as a wannabe poker player (and, well, to be quite honest, as a human being, plain and simple; I have always HATED failing exams :P), so I decided to give it another shot; I couldn't bare the idea that I had fail such a basic poker quiz :P. Well, I am very proud to say second time's the charm ;-)! Yup, "s-u-c-c-e-s-s. that's the way you spell 'success'", lol! Turns out, there actually were a couple of simple reading mistakes in my first attempt... nerf trying it during work hours :P...
Anyway, thereafter, I of course got credited $50 on one of their partner... I kinda thought about it only for a sec, not really considering the other bonuses I might be voiding by taking the credit from PokerStrategy, figuring it is, at the end of the day, a relatively easy free $150 injection to my then flimsy BR. So I setup my account and started playing NL20 on TitanPoker on a very short bankroll. And I accumulated Titan Points, Strategy Points, and rake, hoping to clear the $100 bonus asap. But then, I realized the bonus is clearable in $10 increments for each $35 of rake, when I was under the wishful thinking it was 35 titan points :|. LOL! (To give an order of magnitude, I have now played a little over 2000 hands on Titan, and raked about $41 while collecting a little over 1300 Titan Points :D!)

Anyhow, that is when I became the enemy. Sadly, "fallen to the dark side this one has". Figuring this bonus would take a little longer to clear that I first expected, I considered my options. Ok, said bonus does not have a time limit. That's right, no time limit. Freaky. But, I have been raised to believe that whichever seems too good to be true probably isn't, which, combined to a growing impatient greediness, led me to believe I should probably clear the bugger asap, if I wanted to make sure I'd get it. Back to options. Considering my bankroll allows me to barely play NL20/NL25 (ftr: TitanPoker doesn't spread NL25, only NL20, which I like best; feels more... standard :)), and the $1 rake cap on Titan for games under NL50, my actual options were running pretty thin. Based on what I had witnessed from shorties out there, I felt very (very) confident I would play a better SSS (ftr, SSS = ShortStack Strategy; I am after all a lazy guy abusing acronyms, abbreviations and smileys, lol). Just to make sure, I read Ed Miller's Playing a Short Stack chapter from his Getting Started in Hold'em (I do not consider myself a beginner anymore (wonder when that happened, as a matter of fact?!?!?), but I do believe that periodically reviewing the basics never hurt anyone and is something most people overlook, yet it's something the greats do on a very regular basis; my all-time favorite athlete, Wayne Gretzky (hey, I'm Canadian, hey?!?!!? lol), had the habit to frequently stick on the ice after practices, working on his game; Michael Jordan spent all his career working on his floor shots, yet he is arguably one of the all-time best in that particular aspect of the game. The examples are countless; I know squat about golf, but I'm pretty sure Tiger's constantly practicing his genius short-game :)). Anyway, back to my shit. So, I read Miller's thing, realized it was darn near genius in terms of game theory (again, no expert, far from it, but the thing feels rock solid... and amazingly boring :P), and I resolved to playing Short-Stack NL50 in order to pay as much rake as possible (very odd thing to say, I know; it's temporary, mind you...). And now I must confess, things are going very, very well. The fscking strategy is just so fscking easy, and gets quite enough action at µNL. It IS boring as hell and worse (I keep popping tables :P), but it feels efficient, again, especially at micro stakes. Lots of shorties, sure, and yes, I am aware of the saying "you can't short-stack a short-stacker", but, this implies both players are actually applying the strategy perfectly, which is o so far from reality. Seriously, the vast majority of shorties are awful shorties, just because they do not stick to the fscking guidelines and recipe. The thing is goddamn easy to follow (so easy in fact, I won't even bother detailing it here), yet it's barely poker, especially for a guy who likes other games besides hold'em. Nevertheless, it helped me figuring some of my leaks, I think; for instance, when playing real poker (lol, ie, deep-stacking), I might fall into the trap of outsmarting myself. Or, more concretely, I play AJ waaaaayyyy too often out of position still. All in all, it's doing exactly what it's supposed to do for me at the moment , ie help me clear this bonus asap, but I must say its efficiency is so far scary. Scary addictive, actually, but I know I'm gonna miss punishing the limpers dearly (already do), and will get back to real poker as soon as I'm through with the clearing process (hoping to get it all by the end of July; a little far-fetched, but one needs to kick one's butt sometimes). Plus, lets not forget I have been running extremely hot; 10 pocket rockets over my first 500 hands IS out of the ordinary. That has to dampen it's addictiveness. Still, I am starting to think this SSS has something ontologically stabilizing, and could even be refreshing in a poker life. In fact, I find myself remembering my past and that whole Dogma 95 thing; you know that Danish filmmakers group/movement back in the 90's, who shot entirely with "natural elements": non-professional actors, for starter, natural lighting, natural sound, no costumes, almost no production team, very light equipment which were in fact the first of the digital era, barely no script, etc.. Very minimalist. The media-proclaimed leader of it all was Lars Von Trier, who had already made amazing, big-budget, stuck-in-the-grinder films, such as Europa and Breaking the Waves, and the thing produced movies such as Idioterne (The Idiots), Festen (The Celebration) and Mifune (Mifune). I remember an interview with Von Trier, whose almost a shut-in, by the way (always fond of trivial, useless facts like that :P), explaining his own take on the whole Dogma 95 enterprise. What stuck with me was his saying that it was, is, mostly a remedy, a cure to the baroque exaggerations of the moviemaking industry, that Great Grinder that might be the last vestige of the assembly-line production era (dramatization, lol). Thus, he claimed he was done with making Dogma movies, but would most probably get back to it, in ten years, perhaps; "One tablespoon of Dogma every ten years or so"... All this could very well apply to SSS; just a way to get back to formula, actually. A way to get grounded on solid foundations once again. I will definitely try that has an anti-tilt when I get back to deep stacking. Or when I feel I can't win a coin flip, or worse, a hand. Or even when I've just been doubting and second-guessing my game for a little too long, and it ends up hurting it... One tablespoon full of SSS whenever the bankroll feels dozy :P... I just hope I don't develop bad habits and end up screwing my late-streets play; revisiting Von Trier's post-Dogma filmography does nothing to help, either, even though he said he was through with that for a while... lol. Guess, we'll have to wait and see :)...

All in all, that's how I've finished my June. Been discovering a new client too, and for once, I'm thinking "review"... to be continued :D.

Been ranting for too long; if you got here, you have my sincerest condolences :P...

P.S.: SSSing (yes, I do feel like a Nazi, in some weird, twisted way :P) is going so well so far I feel the Poker Gods are mean, cynical, delusional, Murphy's Law worshipping motherfsckers; I keep hitting uber suckouts!!! ... Ok, just mentally re-played the hand that just prompted this comment, and it was basically a coin flip ;-). But still, I feel the Jackasses are rewarding dimwitted shorties... as yours truly... /shame. Guess I'm up for a crazy karmic ass-whupping when I get back to deep stacking, most probably at the hands of the evil SSers ;-).

♠♥♦♣

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