Monday, October 23, 2006

Hot Streak....Cold Streak....No Streak??

Day after day I've been doing this thing that people life, or something like that. Honestly, "living life" is a personal definition. Going to work every day from 9-5, working some overtime, going home, paying bills, watching tv........elch whatever. That's not exactly what I'd call "living", but to each man his own. Having had this gambler's mentality for the past two years has really given me some different views on life and money.

Before the past couple months, for the past couple of years I've been skating by. Working part-time while attending CSUN wasn't paying much, but I didn't have much to pay for so I didn't really mind. Was it boring? Eh maybe, but I was working with a bunch of other college kids who just worked cuz they needed a job while they were in school, and I fit that description and was able to have a pretty decent time there. I had had my driver's license suspended in a crazy summer after graduating high school, I had just broken up with my girlfriend after three years when I got to college, and my living situation sucked, so things were looking pretty bleak. But I got a job, and found some friends in a city that I had just moved to, and made a smaller group of poker playing friends as well. Once that happened it was an hour drive in two directions to get to either of two indian casinos that had allowed players of 18+ to play.

So when I wasn't at school, or wasn't at home not doing my homework, I was either at the Mash or I was at Morongo playing cards. If I wasn't at any of those places I was at a home game, and things were good. I was learning the game, I was getting better, and moreso I was forming myself. Whether that was good or bad, it was happening, and I wasn't gonna stop it. It was exciting and winning or losing more than a paycheck in one night was fun for me. The lows made me feel like shit, yet the highs made me feel like God.

A little further down the timeline when Joe and I had met, and I moved out to Santa Barbara, I was basically a full-blown casino junkie, being only half an hour away from the Mash. I had learned blackjack and had gone through some pretty sweet streaks in that. Of course one night of a hot streak was quickly countered by two losing nights, but no matter what happened it was still exciting and never got boring. I started focusing more back on playing poker, and soon enough I had left the blackjack train for a game I felt could easily make me money on a consistant basis.

I had started as a limit player. Obviously entering the game at 2/4, but moving up through the 3/6, the 4/8, and eventually to the 6/12, being that Chumash didn't offer an intermediate 5/10 game. Although I wasn't as consistant of a winner as I would've like to have been at the 6/12, I was still ahead. At this point I'd seen Joe go through minimal losses and maximum profits in the 2/5NL game, the only NL game that was offered at the time. We were both taking the game seriously at this point and were playing live at least four days a week. After a few lengthy discussions, I decided to switch from playing the 4/8 and 6/12 to solely playing the 2/5NL.

Things started out well, and I noticed that I could definitely make more money off of the horrible players in the NL game than I could pounding away at the "idiots" (I've since learned not to consider anyone an idiot at the game; they either help pay the bills or have enough skill/luck to get my money, neither of which I would consider an idiot) at the 6/12. For the most part things were on the up and up, and although I suffered the occasional loss I was up. I spent a lot of money on crap I didn't need, spent a lot of money on food, and had a habit of paying for EVERYONE no matter who was with me or where we were. I still was winning, the game was still exciting, and I still didn't care about money.

Then a horrible thing happened. I started losing. I was still winning sometimes, but when I went to go unneccassarily blow a bunch of money on Sundays, I noticed that I had started ending up with less money than I had started the week with. But I still kept coming home with loads of DVDs and still treated all my friends to food and occasionally crap that they wanted that they couldn't themselves afford. But at this point Joe and I had gotten the reputation for being the badasses that played cards and actually won, and could afford to blow all this money while everyone else was humping crappy part-time jobs while finishing school. It was fun to be in the spotlight and even more fun to know that the way that I had gotten the money in the first place was not through hard work in any way.

I started to worry about my game, about my skill, and about my mentality. I had been taking some huge beats, and at the same time I wasn't playing my A-game. Then for whatever reason I went on a pretty decent one-month hot streak. One month, and no more. After that month I started steadily losing again, and this time it was no fluke. Within months I had lost everything that I had won and more. All the cash in the hidden places and in my pockets was gone. All the numbers in my bank account were zeros, and my body felt about as empty as my accounts. The months continued to show me red results, and even though I had now had steady paychecks coming in, they certainly weren't being saved in any way. I kept trying to pry my way back into the winner's circle, and for some reason it wasn't working.

Month after month my paychecks came, my bills got paid, and my extra money got spent.....err lost. So, I decided to stop playing. It hurt, it still hurts, and until I get back on my feet and can afford the swings, it's going to hurt in the future to come. No more dealer's games, no more late night trips to Carrow's after turning up a grand profit in just hours, and no more disregard for money. I have never been so uptight with money in my life, ever! And it kills me, cuz my personality is one that doesn't allow me to care about money as much as I do, yet my brain knows I need to so it overrides my instincts.

So now I wake up every morning, get dressed, go to lunch, bullshit around the office, do some work, and come home and be bored. Joe is playing still, supporting his life, and Darsky is still rollin through the professional player process. And I'm watching, that's it, just observing. Thankfully I have people who understand what I'm capable of, and I've been supported a few times throughout my drought by Darsky and Joe, usually resulting in profits for both parties. And now with my latest crush I'm getting support as well. I love women almost as much as cards, and that's one of the only things that's kept me going. When I find one that tells me that I can make it in the gambling world, like the one I have now, and when I have friends like the ones I have, it gives me hope. When they tell me that they believe in me, it relieves me from my everyday hypnosis of going through the motions just to watch another year past. I have a feeling that sometime in the future my hopes will turn into realities, and that I can prove all my supporters right.

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