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Sometimes while skipping through the poker blogging forest, I'll come across a post that'll get me to write a post-sized comment. C-mitch at O-Poker is the latest culprit. After reading his last post on why he plays poker, I left a two paragraph response explaining my reasons. Surely, I've posted them here before, but yesterday it all clicked. So, I'm going over some familiar territory, but maybe one day when I'm old and gray, I'll review the hundreds of Why I Play Poker posts and see how my thought on the subject changed over time.

I am a gamer. Since the Atari first came out, I grew up with the joys of pixilated gaming. In my household, the Atari begat the Commodore 64, the Commodore 64 begat the Nintendo, the Nintendo begat Sega Genesis, the Sega Genesis begat Game Boy, the Game Boy begat the N64, and the N64 begat the Playstation 2. In other words, I grew up with video games, and they've become a natural part of how I spend my leisure time.

The thing is, after college, there wasn't anyone to play with. In college, my buddies and I would get together before going out, or on a lazy Sunday (or when we skipped classes, Monday-Friday), and play some James Bond or FIFA soccer on the N64. It was just another activity while we hung out. Post-college, I was living with my brother in NYC. I didn't have friends, literally a floor up or down. I didn't even have friends who lived in the neighborhood. And no matter how much videogames were a passtime, it wasn't as though my friends would come over just for videogames. Instead, we met out at the bars, and videogames became something to do to kill time before meeing them out. Of course, that meant that there was less of a social aspect to the games, and there would be times, like those lazy Sundays, when videogames just seemed empty. This was before the online console game technology, so when I'd beat a level, there was no one else there. There was no excitement. Instead, there was that feeling of, Jeez, what am I wasting my time on this for.

I still played videogames, notably the Grand Theft Auto series. And actually, I can blame the GTA series for eventually breaking my videogame habit, albeit with a crippling affliction. More accurately, I noticed that after an hour of GTA, my hands hurt. They were cramping up, and by nighttime, I felt a tingling sensation from my finger tips to my forearms, with intermittent cramping pain. At the time, I was also in law school, where notes were taken on laptops, and working part time at a law firm, where I was again working on a computer. In fact, at the exact time that the injury became apparent, I was busting my ass at the office, and bringing work home well until 10pm and after, so my computer time had skyrocketed.

I got some braces for my wrists, and began a regiment of Advil, as needed, but I finally gave in and saw a nuerologist. I was convinced I had carpal tunnel syndrome, and he hooked up electrodes to my arms to see how the nerves reacted. On that particular day, my arms felt pretty good, actually, and I was half-contemplating cancelling the appointment. But the problem was usually daily, so I figured seeing a doctor couldn't hurt. The doctor zapped my arms and they did their twitchy reaction thing. When he had the results, I was a bit surprised. If I had carpal tunnel, it was mild. The next step is a confirmation test that would tell for sure if I had carpal tunnel.

"What does that entail?" I asked the doctor.
"Well, we'll stick needles into your arm at various points, from wrist up to your shoulder and into your neck. Then we'll move the needles around, while they are still inside of you, and see how you react."
"Wait. You want to put needles in my neck and move them around?" I was incredulous.
"Yes. That's the procedure."
"And if I have carpal tunnel, its minor at most?"
"I'll be leaving now."

And leave, I did. I weaned myself off of videogames, but at the time, I was just starting to get into the online poker world. I was playing $20 per month at Golden Palace, starting with $5 SNGs, and dropping down to $1 and even $0.10 SNGs by the end of the month. As time wore on, I started to win, and poker came into the forefront.

Now, I'm not going to go into my poker history. I definitely have done that before. But what I will do is jump ahead until now. I don't own a videogame system. I only have one computer game, an old version of Command & Conquer that I use when I'm tilting. When I have free time, I play poker, and for the most part, that is daily.

But the central question is Why do I play poker, or more accurately, why do I play online poker. The answer, because it's a videogame with real-world benefits. If I beat a part of GTA, I can feel a momentary sense of accomplishment. But then reality sets in, and I'm just a 20-something guy sitting on his couch playing a videogame (not that there is anything wrong with that). If I play a poker tournament and win, I'll also get that momentary sense of accomplishment. But it doesn't end with a high score or a new board. It ends in dollars and cents. Finally, a videogame was invented where my SKILL and ability to play actually could benefit me outside of the game. I could withdraw the money, and spend it on fun things, like my big screen tv, iPod, and various other things around my house. I could profit from gaming! GAMING! It's a fucking game! And I'm making money playing it!

Now, I focused this on online poker, because live poker, like my olden videogames days, involve playing with other people. I still get that social interaction, which in and of itself is part of the reward. The money is there as well. But online poker has a sorta soul-sucking component when you are grinding daily in your BVDs eating crappy food alone in your cramped apartment (not me, per se, but I'm sure there is someone out there like that).

Yeah, so that's why I play online poker. It's a videogame that pays me. On a similar note, when I was in Ireland, they had these Weakest Link and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire video game machines in some of the pubs. You put in a dollar. If you get x amount of questions right, you get a free game. Or, you can keep going and win money. What a freakin' cool concept. It's like a slot machine where skill matters. Why don't they have those in casinos?

On an entirely unrelated note, HUC4 is looking good. We have 16 players, and 2 alternates. If we can get 6 more alternates, I'll open a third 8-person bracket, so submissions are still accepted. You can go to the HUC4 website to see the current list of competitors, and some broad rules, in case you have any questions. Personally, my prediction is that, if I don't win it, a girl will. With Veneno, Kat and Gracie in the running, its actually quite plausible, even though we all know girls can't play poker.

Last night, I continued my attack on the higher stakes games. I played mostly 3/6 limit O8 and Razz, but played some 8/16 Razz, in which I initially won $45, but later lost $125 or so, for a -$80 run. Losing can be tough at those games. For the night, though, I won $115 or so, after winning a 6-person $20 SNG and placing 2nd in a $20 HORSE SNG. Man, I love poker.

DADI X is coming up on November 16th. I hope you've earned your token for the event. If not, get crackin' and once you've got that token, go sign up early for DADI X, so you don't spend that token elsewhere. That's what I did, so that I could go about on my quest to earn a $75 token for the next Big Game. I won it easily, by the way.

Until next time, make mine poker!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:34 PM,


At 3:32 PM, Blogger NewinNov said...

Girls can't play poker, eh? I'm sure that'll get some replies. I actually remember the time where I would go over to a friends house (early high school) and play a game on his commodore 64. I would get high score then he would, etc, etc. I now have evolved to an X-Box and regularly play Grand Theif Auto and football with the little one. Simplier times. Grrlls can't play poker, gotta love it.


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