04 April 2006

Noah's Arc

I was a big-time tennis player growing up during the height of the tennis boom, the late 70’s and early 80’s. My favorite players were McEnroe, Lendl, Evonne Goolagong, and Martina Navritilova. I never ever liked Connors, Borg was too dominant during his peak, I didn’t like any of the clay courters like Vilas or the Spaniards. I never ever liked Chris Evert, as she was the least gracious loser in the history of sport. And I liked Yannick Noah. Maybe it was his mysterious background, maybe it was his dreadlocks. Maybe it was because he was never really good enough, I don’t know. There always seemed to be more to him than tennis, similar to McEnroe. So here’s to a proud papa. Joakim Noah went to high school near Princeton, where we lived after we were married. The Gators looked like a herd of gazelles all night long, that’s for sure.

I’ve got no internet connection at my in-law’s mountain place, so I was able to get online Monday at the Cliffs clubhouse. I worked out while my wife and the three boys swam, then I took the little guy while my wife hit the treadmill. He is just so neat right now, and it is a real blessing that I’ve been able to take the time to slow down and see him, connect with him. Today, he went from clinging on him mom like a baby possum to jumping in the pool to me and kicking while we raced his brothers. The Big Guy and All-in had their first golf lesson, and I was able to sneak away and get email.

I wanted to comment a bit on a few points made by our guest testimonial yesterday. First, online poker. Her observations about online poker are very insightful and really ring true to me. I tremendously enjoy live poker, much much more than online. Online poker is about winning money and making good decisions. Live poker is so much more. My wife and I were talking about all of this stuff a couple weeks ago, and she said that one thing she didn’t particularly like about poker is that I am with people I wouldn’t normally associate with. I told her it is actually one of the things that draws me to poker. I spend a significant part of my day parked in front of my laptop when I’m not traveling. When I’m at the felt, I often am able to express part of me that I’ve lost, the one-liner-spewing nice guy. I also really love the diversity of people that you find at a table. I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating. I am able to be with people that I just wouldn’t be with playing poker. This isn’t meant to be judgmental, more as a fact. I live in my suburbia neighborhood, go to my megachurch, work virtually alone, coach my soccer boys, travel and that’s about it. Being able to be with people 20 years my junior and senior of different ethnicities, background, and religions is just something that I couldn’t do any other way. The second point is about the life we designed together. There is tremendous risk that my life is a series of accidental stumbles rather than a charted course. I used to be a bit over the top when it came to marital planning. I'm the one that made us go through a decision matrix to choose our everyday and fine China (and I still think Federal Cobalt Blue would have been the right choice for our fine China rather than Noritake Ontario). I also used to force us into biennial (every other year?) planning sessions, with Post-It notes, brainstorming, and charting out our goals on a wide array of topics. That's gradually fallen apart as our plans have fallen to shambles (meaning business, career, wealth). Poker is seemingly my first real vice and a real release for me, but I'm afraid I use it more as a crutch than anything, a way to escape some hard truths.

OK, maybe poker isn't my only hidden dark pleasure. I like Mariah Carey. I like to cry in movies (and even commercials; can any real man not cry at the end of the Applebee's retired coach commercial?). I like to eat. I like to sit in my chair doing nothing. I love TiVo. I TiVo English Premiership soccer matches, only to fast forward to the goals like any red-blooded American. I'm a carnivore. I love golf but don't play too often, mainly because it's so time consuming.

So, all the poker I had Monday was with my Poker Academy software. I’m in 2nd chip position with 85 people left and the chip leader is at my table. I’ve got T158,000, and blinds are 3500/6500. There’s a call, and the chip leader raises to 27,000. I look at KK and pop it up to 78,000. Two short stacks go all-in, then the chip leader calls. Flop comes Tc3d3s, and chip leader checks. I jam for my last 46,500 and am called by the chip leader, who turns over AsQs?!?! One of the short stacks has AQ, and another has 68. And 8s7s comes to toast me. You have got to be kidding (or as Johnnie Mac said, "You cannot be serious!). Poker simulators are rigged…

It looks like the home game with BadBlood is going to happen, although after reading about thousand dollar pots in the G-Vegas Big Game, I'm hoping it won't be too rich for my blood. I'm all for giving away my hard earned money to degenerate gamblers, but I do want to keep my car...


Blogger gpo said...

I have recently found your blog. I found it from Linda's site over at pokerworks. You sound very similar to me in a lot of ways. I got into poker about 1999 in terms of casino playing. I have since had two children and time is no longer there.

Unfortnatuely for me I have kept the amounts I have played for from my wife and she is now very suspicious of me playing often enough to feed my vice. I too like golf but it is too time consuming for my current life. My better half has never allowed me to play online and worries about me turning into a degenerate gambler. I would hate to tell her but that has already happened. The ironic thing is she was with me at the Bellagio in Dec'05 to witness me cash for 13.3k in a $500 tournament. (We made a deal at 3 players)

Your writing about poker and relationships ring true for me in a lot of ways. The bad thing is I don't think I will ever be able to get my wife on the same page as me in terms of my poker play.

Don't get me wrong I don't gamble with the rent money or anything like that. Actually I have been pretty successful in my play. I am currently a 15/30 limit player or a 2-5 NL no max player.

I am GPO on Linda's player page.

Keep up the good work.

1:06 PM  
Blogger cc said...

Thanks for the kind words, gpo. Congrats on the cash at the Bellagio as well. I wish you well with your efforts with your wife. Believe me I know the challenge you're confronted with. I might see you at the 15/30 tables the next time I'm at the Bellagio...

2:15 PM  
Blogger Victor_Enriq said...

About tennis... If you think US of A is going to beat us (Chile) this weekend on Davis Cup, you got another one coming!
Whether its on clay, hard, or grass, it doesnt matter. The olympic gold winners are going to beat A-Rod.
As for grass, in the kind words of chilean tennis player former ATP #1 Marcelo "chino" Rios, and current #1 of seniors: "grass is only good for two things: playing football (soccer) and to feed the cows"
I cant understand why wasnt he liked at Wimbledon.

2:36 PM  
Blogger cc said...

That's like when Lendl said he was allergic to grass, then played golf later that day...

2:44 PM  
Blogger Victor_Enriq said...

Actually Rios now says that grass is pretty good for golf as well!

5:52 PM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

CC, you never cease to amaze. I'll get the misses to sit down with me tonight for our testimonial.

I'm 100% in agreement with you regarding how poker can bring different people together. It's one of the things I love the most about the game. In law school, I didn't much socialize with my fellow students. I found them mostly boring and bookish, plus I had my HS and college friends nearby. But I struck up a conversation with someone regarding a paper I was doing on Internet gambling and we became friends. I've got probably a dozen other stories about meeting people through poker that I would not otherwise have met. Great stuff CC. Keep it coming

6:19 PM  
Blogger cc said...

jordan, maybe the machine gun made you kind of stand-offish in law school. Just a hunch...

9:53 AM  

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