Thursday, February 02, 2006

Alien Expectation

Garthmeister is rocking the house with his storied travails at the 180 SnG’s. Today was a tilt story, and while the blogsphere is riddled with such stories, this one hit home primarily because it is so in line with my own brand of tilt and tilt-triggers. It got me thinking more about why I tilt (yet again), and I feel compelled to expound a bit more.

The core of tilt is loss. When I first began to learn and play this damn game, I never tilted. A win was a win, a loss was a loss, and that was that. With any job I ever worked, I was never content to sit around and just do the job. I wanted to learn and be the best at my job, then start learning outside of that and advance to something better-- it’s part of my personality. So it is and was with poker. I studied and I improved, and while that trend has slowed in recent months, it is still continuing forward. I’m still a completely amateur donk, but I do know for sure that I have a distinct edge over much of the primordial ooze inhabiting the virtual tables.

Enter expectation, snuggled comfortably in the center of my being like something in the Alien movies. Come to think of it, that comparison seems pretty accurate, at least in my own case.

It didn’t take too much poker knowledge to launch myself from terra-firma and begin exploring the vast reaches of the poker universe as fast as I could. Every day brought new knowledge, and nearly every day brought an increase to the bankroll. Bigger bankroll basically means I had a ship that could explore farther, which is when began encountering Variance. It is an odorless, tasteless, formless, completely random, indiscriminate force that can hinder one’s journey at the least expected points. Instead of facing it and learning to co-exist with it, I have many times taken the easier road of ducking down and exploring the planet of Expectation.

What can I say, the trip was free.

The planet is beautiful, full of nymphs that live only for your pleasure, with real high-denomination casino chips that are redeemable anywhere. It’s not all candy and fairies down here, though. Sometimes you run across one of the dastardly face-sucking eggs so familiar in the Alien movies. The nymphs tell you it’s OK to look, so you do. When you wake up with one of them standing over you, sprinkling you with chips, it’s easy to forget what you innately know. Something bad just happened.

So off you go, back out to conquer the wild poker universe and win your never-ending battle with the ever-present Variance. You don’t realize, not for a moment, what’s gestating within. You’ve become an unwitting Expectation incubator.

You play and you battle. You’re pocket Aces are indestructible….. sometimes. You play and you battle some more. Same thing happens. Variance seems like it’s winning at a steady clip, but you are fighting the good fight, no matter it’s seeming personal interest in your suffering. Every time the indestructible is destroyed, the beast inside is fed and it grows.

It will be an adolescent Expectation beast very soon.

With adolescence comes a measure of self-awareness and a yearning for independence, and it is no different with this animal. A couple more meals and it will be ready, but you remain blissfully unaware, despite the nagging pain in your chest. You buy in and wait for your bulletproof holdings. Variance happens by, and once again, the beast gets fed and the pain gets worse until it finally bursts forth, spewing loud profanity and chips.

Upon recovering, all you can think is, “Oh gawd, I had that inside me?”

You take time and heal. You head out again to explore the universe and gain untold riches playing an easy game. As sure as the sun rises, you will be offered another trip down to partake in the wonders of planet Expectation. Do you go?

The above is completely corny, but dammit if it’s not accurate. I’ve been down there too many times already, each time harboring and giving birth to a beast that’s a bit more ferocious and draining than the last one. Stay away from this place, no matter how naked the nymphs, and no matter how many racks of black they offer you. You’ll never win in the end.

Be free of expectation. It’s much easier said than done, but I/you/we must if we are to avoid giving birth to any more ugly, chip-spewing spawn.