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Super Mario Poker

When I first began playing online poker, I set myself a $20/month budget on one of the few sites that had micro-stakes and allowed players to deposit for $20 minimum (as opposed to $50). I was a law school student with limited funds, and I justified spending $20/month on online poker because it was significantly less than the cost of purchasing one video game per month. Online poker was very much a video game to me, and I would regularly lose my $20 buy-in, first with $10 and $5 SNGs and then toward the end of the month, with $.50 and $.25 buy-in SNGs.

When you are playing at stakes so small, the lack of significant stakes can really affect the way one thinks about the game. The buy-ins and payouts no longer resemble money. Instead, they become symbolic markers. Win a $.25 SNG and that $2.50 is not two dollars and fifty cents. It's 10 tokens to play more .25 SNGs, or more accurately, it's two shots at the $1 SNGs.

While I'm not currenly playing $.25 tournaments, I am beginning to revert to the token realm of poker. I have withdrawn thousands of dollars from my online bankroll over the last few years, but during my significant last withdrawal, I left myself with crumbs. At the time, I think I had under $300 online to continue my online poker odyssey, but I had also gotten a taste for higher buy-in SNGs and cash games, and after a couple of rough weeks, I was down to fumes.

I've continued to operate on fumes for month. Certainly, one of my problems is my inability to remain consistent online. My efforts to curb excessive play and inebriated play has given me a semblence of self control once again. Even so, I'm down to less than $100 online and I find myself in an interesting place. I'm back to seeing poker as a videogame.

Last night, I played a $5 HORSE SNG with GCox, who was willing to slum it with me. I placed 2nd (only after my opponent got lucky on two HE hands at the end) for a profit of around $7, a pittance for my efforts. Even so, I felt a sense of accomplishment, akin to beating a mini-mission in a videogame. I knew I had more to do to be where I want to be, but that small victory felt refreshing.

I also was extremely tempted to play the Mookie last night. The Mookie is one helluva temptation. $11 buy-in poker with my invisible internet friends. Sounds great! Of course, my bankroll really can't afford that buy-in if I'm being responsible, but the video game mentality can cause a bit of self-delusion. In videogames, you usually get three lives. In poker, it's technically unlimited long as you have enough quarters to keep plugging into the machine. Still, ultimately the 1am end time for the Mook kept me away. At least I've got that going for me.

Poker as a video game isn't the ideal situation, but it is better than the alternatives. One alternative is to redeposit significant funds, something I cannot justify doing, since any money I put online comes from wifey Kim and my savings (or my live bankroll, which I hope to perserve). I also have a weird fetish for building up a bankroll the old fashioned way, through hard work. Another alternative is to treat the bankroll building exercise as a serious endeavor, but the pressure and frustrating nature of micro-limits (where I would have to play if I was seriously following bankroll management) are bitter pills to swallow.

So, instead, online poker will remain a video game played for tokens that are denominated with a "fictional" dollar sign in front. While it may not be real poker, at least its a fun game.

* * *

While we are on the subject of videogames, why haven't I heard anything about Mario Kart Wii in the poker blogodome? Am I the only one playing this game?

For anyone interested, I give the game two carpal-tunnel-affected thumbs up. The game play is fantastic and the motion sensitivity makes for very intuitive game play (although more than a few friends and family members who have come over preferred the traditional game controled that can also be used).

Easily the best feature is the ability to play against other players online in either Vs. or Battle mode. It keeps the game interesting and different every time.

If anyone else out there has Mario Kart Wii and wants to play some online games, let me know and we can swap Wii Friend ID numbers. Or, I'll just have to continue dominating against strangers.

Until next time, make mine videogame poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:16 PM,


At 10:16 PM, Blogger KGBlovesOreos said...

You can count on my WWE-related insights every Tuesday following Monday Night RAW. I may even start doing a Friday night Smackdown update very Saturday, so stay tuned. :)

Glad to see there are other people out there willing to admit they're a WWE fan. Stay on the bandwagon, and you will be rewarded in the near future as the WWE has literally JUST (like, within the last month) begun to do a good job with their young talent.

At 2:06 AM, Blogger Booby Stealz said...

Thanks Jordan...keep up the good work on the blog. I'll be sure to see you at WSP and donk away my chips again =) paz bro.

At 4:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really interesting post, I'm in the same boat at the moment. (Though nowhere as accomplished as yourself)I took out about $10k last year from poker, mostly bonuses doing the multi table grind. It became a job and I lost my enthusiasm for it. It bought me a few toys etc, but more than anything it was used to be new, exciting, and I was willing to learn. With about $1k left in my roll, and the lack of limit games where I play, I decided to start again, and play NL cash games at the micro stakes.

It's hard to stay disciplines when you know to call a bet might only cost you 30c / 5BB's but I've made myself a personal challenge to see how high I can go, starting from the bottom. Keeps me kind of focused, and has given me that buzz back again.

GL at the tables.

At 11:25 AM, Blogger VinNay said...

I picked up Mario Cart Wii, but have yet to try it. Drop me an email and we can swap Wii Friend numbers (I don't want to post it here for fear of Wii Spam friends).

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Joe (aka Unimpressed) said...

Lucky thing about the Wii # is that you can give it out, but you don't get spam. Since they can't send you a message until you both have enter the Wii # (not sure if its' the same with Mario Kart's FCs). So i can post my Wii #. 2712 0325 5084 2330... but unless I've been given someone's wii # via email, they can't reach me, and I'll never know they put me in.

I know smash brothers brawl's FC works the same way. You can add anybody you want, but unless they add you, there's nothing you can do.

Anyway, HOP, I send you my wii # via email as well.


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