So Thursday night after all the players have cashed out, only sbo BadBlood and I remained. He was having a rough night, mostly due to poor timing. I had somehow managed to bleed away 3/4 of a $200 profit. As always BadBlood played the gracious host, and I had only one move to make.
“I know you’re too cowardly to do it,” I said, “but if you want to go heads up, I’ll take the rest of your stack”
“Come on, you can’t be serious,” said BadBlood…who was, in fact, serious.
“Look, I’m happy to cash out, but I’m just saying, I dominate you always”
And so heads up play, good vs. evil began.
Tommy the Axeman was so captivated by the duel he stayed to deal each hand for 40 minutes after he cashed out.
BadBlood took about $25 from me and outplayed me on almost every hand.
All the world’s a stage
The most natural outflow of this literary chip is unnatural competition. I’ll try to beat you at anything. Competition has been the bedrock of my friendship with Otis for over 5 years now. We’ve competed at beer chugging, rock-paper-scissiors, fake song singing, shot slamming, put down dissing, and every other activity we’ve ever pursued. Never was the leisure activity introduced that we couldn’t make into a fight. Somehow I’m always the bad guy there too. That suits me just fine.
More than anything, the competition drives me to the front of the stage. If I ever achieve anything in my professional career, its because I’m trying to one-up a co-worker. If I ever become a semi-decent poker player, its because I want to beat down the table. If I ever become a master of love its to have that unspoken edge against my lover’s others. (I’m hoping that last one is only in jest).
Poker is the best outlet I’ve ever had for that competitve nonsense. It’s perfect for a drama king like me because everyone is a major character and the competiton is so tightly tied to personality. I can divine so much about the character of my opponents simply by the way they play their cards. Its one of the reasons BadBlood and I have become such good friends. I know a lot about him by the way he raises and folds.
Into the soul with Mr. Hellmuth
At your next home game I challenge you look at the person to divine the style. You’ll be suprised by what you find. An insecure child like Phil Hellmuth is a good example, I’d play some goofy hands against him because he’d want me to look up to him. I don’t, and instead of letting it tighten my hand selection I’d do the opposite. If it weren’t for luck..and a lack of respect..he’d win every hand.
I expect a hen-packed husband to play calling station.
I expect a Napoleon complex to bet maniacally.
I expect a failure of a man to play too tight.
I expect a sucessful man is prone to a nasty suckout tilting.
More than that our character flaws, the ones that you can’t order from central casting to play a major role in post-flop play. The lifetimes of fears and secret motivations laid bare by a flush draw. In the game of poker all ten players, good or bad, are central charaters to the plot. In winning or losing we become critical players in their storyline as they do in ours.
Just watch out for the asshole with a need to be noticed. He’s likely to play whatever style you don’t. He wants to have someone else “Beam him up!”.
He wants to wear a hat.