Thursday, January 25, 2007

An Update, and a Couple of Thoughts

Did I say update? There really isn't much of that. Poker is chugging along. I had a horrible December, but January is (so far) coming along okay; I'm not rich but I'm not broke, either.

After winning a satellite to the Sunday Million today, I sold PokerStars Tournament Dollars (T$) for cash for the first time. I used PSmoney.com, one of the sites that spammed chat after the tournament, because of the three sites I was aware of that do this, they offered the best rate. It worked fine and darn near instantly. The only weird thing was that the "player" I sold the T$ to has his city entered as "Damascus." Assuming that's the one in Syria, am I abetting terrorism? Of course not everybody in Syria is a terrorist, but I wonder nonetheless. (Not terribly seriously; I'll still be able to sleep tonight.)

Despite the win at PokerStars, I'm mostly not playing online right now. UIGEA and its fallout has exacerbated the problem I alluded to before, that online poker and live poker are fast becoming Two Different Things. Miller talks about some of those problems in the article I linked in my last entry. I don't actually think bots are a serious problem yet, but agree that they will be. Just as bad are the multi-tabling money farmers, which seem to me to dominate online play at stakes above $1/$2 or so. Can I play against good players? Sure. But at a whole table of good players, it's much more likely to come down to blind-vs.-blind or blind-vs.-steal, which I still maintain is one of my weak points, especially in limit.

All that to say this: I'm not playing much online right now.

For those that ask "what's new about moving to Vegas," well, really, nothing. We aren't moving in January, as I'd hoped, but that has a lot to do with Gil's not wanting to spend the money to break his lease. And, truly, all three of us are a little squeezed cashwise right now, so we'd have trouble making the move right now in any case.

Thought Number One

Over the last several months I've asked myself, "What do you want out of life?" My usual response to myself was, "Yes," implying that I wish for death, which I guess still isn't really that out of line for me. But more recently I've come to realize what it really is.

I want to be free. Although it's an important part of what I mean, I'm not talking about flag-waving fourth-of-July stuff, because I've long considered our government one of the biggest threats to individual liberty. (That has nothing to do with the current war; the war on terror needs to be fought vigorously, including in Iraq.) This formulation might work better: I want to never "have to" do anything, and I want to never "can't" do anything. I don't see that working in the real world unless I have a boatload of money, but that's what I want. Things that are mandatory grate on me a lot more than things that are forbidden: If you told me "You may never travel to Maryland," I'd wail and complain and then realize that I don't really have any reason to go to Maryland anyway, so big deal. But if you told me, "You must travel to Maryland," I'd be likely to react violently against that. (Or, more likely, react the way I react to most dumb laws: I ignore them.)

There's nothing terribly profound here, except a new way of stating "what I want from life:" I want to be free.

Thought Number Two

I was driving home from the casino last night, and since the one radio station near it that's decent was airing a basketball game I didn't care about, I drove home in silence. As is my usual, my mind wandered greatly during the trip. When it was recently suggested to me that I look at a job as selling my time for cash (I understand that, anyway), I argued that part of the problem of me working a straight job is that I value my time a lot higher than any job is likely to pay me.

I ran a thought experiment: how much is my time worth? Would I sell forty hours a week, every week for the rest of my life, for $1000 an hour? (Of course, it's not forty, but actually over fifty, when you count all the associated stuff involved with a job, including travelling there and back, unpaid lunch breaks, maintaining a "work" wardrobe, and so on.)

Assuming I can't game the system—agree to this and then quit once I'm "set for life" on what I've earned—I had to admit that the answer is no. I would resent the imposition of those forty hours every week even if I was getting $1000 an hour. Since $1000 an hour adds up to over two million dollars a year, and I'd have difficulty spending anything close to that, I conclude that there is no amount that I'd be happy working for at a "straight" job.

Don't misunderstand: If someone came up to me this instant and offered me $1000 for an hour of work, I'd probably do it even if the job was particularly messy, disgusting, dangerous, or back-breaking. A single hour of my time is worth less than $1000 to me. But after that hour, it's over; the rest of my life is mine. And, if someone offered me $8000 (or even $1000) for one day's work, I'd probably take it, if I was physically capable of the work involved. Because, once it was over, my life would be mine. It's the demand that I keep doing this forever—be here from this time to this time tomorrow, and from this time to this time the next day, and so on, for the rest of my life, that I rebel against: To me, that's slavery. We use the term "wage slave" to mean someone working hard for low pay, but historically, the term comes the contrast between working for someone else and working for yourself: from people who had to sell out or close their small businesses—family farms, craft or trade shops—and take "jobs" working for someone else, selling their time instead of doing what they wanted to do.

The obvious response to this is that I should find some way to work for myself. I ran through some of that some time ago, in an earlier post, but the only thing I can think of along those lines that appeals to me is a bookstore, and that suffers many of the same problems that a job does. Besides, with Barnes and Noble and the like getting into used books, I have a hard time seeing how a "traditional" small general bookseller can compete in any way. One could specialize, but I don't think there's much call for a Gambler's Book Club in Michigan, and there already is one in Las Vegas. (It's a neat place, if you've never been there; when I was there I overheard an employee giving a customer a bunch of recommendations for which were the best books on basketball handicapping, which impressed me.)

This paragraph was going to be about relating poker to all of this, but it's either obvious, or I've said it before, so I won't.


Do you really need a job? Are you in any danger of your parent's kicking you out? Couldn't you just live with them forever and make a little money on the side playing poker and doing other random things.
LordGeznikor, the fact is, everything worth having takes time, hardwork and effort. There is not a job/career/business/relationship/dream/goal worth having that doesn't require you to repeatedly do some kind of activity that you'll find boring or seemingly challenging. There just isn't. And there is no secret backdoor easy short cut around that fact.

So, please... you REALLY need to STOP making excuses for why the quality of your life and work is the way it is and start taking responsibilty for yourself. If you took the time to stop being so self indulgent, and become diligent, you will find that there is help, support, funds and mentors out there to help you in all that you do. But they are not going to come and find you... you have to find them.

This whole 'Me against the World' excuse technique thing you've got going on, will only wash right up until your mid-20's... then after that, you simply look like a man who is desparately looking for excuses to stay a loser...

... And there is absolutely NO excuse for that...

Download this torrent file (its free) found here at http://www.mininova.org/tor/338124 ... The file is chock full of free audio books written by top businessmen and motivational speakers. Listen to them, REALLY listen to them. You have nothing to lose...
The last comment was right on, although self-indulgent is way too mild of a way to describe your outlook. Extreme narcissism with an complete lack of accountability is more like it.

Maybe your time would be worth more if you actually DID something with it instead of mooching off others, and dreaming of fantasy worlds where you control everything.

The reasons why you are a failure at poker and a failure at life are exactly the same. Poker will not save you. Get help.
So basically you're never going to get a job?
It's funny to me that all of the critical comments were posted anonymously. Announce yourselves before casting the first stone.

LG, I really enjoy your inner dialouge but there is a difference between empirical theory and reality.

I haven't had a "job" since 2002. I'm not rich - in fact I live a rather minimalist lifestyle. But I earn $$$ when/if I have time. I only work when I want - odd jobs and freelance. I have enough to make me happy. (How much do you need to be happy?)

To me, the tradeoff is an easy decision. For many others, not so much. They need the toys or have to support families.

My advice is follow your passion and the money will follow. Practical suggestion - If you're into dealing books, become an ebayer. Virtually no overhead, flexible hours.

To quote OFFICE SPACE: "I did nothing, and it's everything I thought it would be."
I wasn't trying to be critical.I love this blog. It takes amazing bravery to put yourself out there the way LG does. I wish him all the luck in the world.

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