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Old 03-13-2002, 12:39 AM
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Default The Seductive Brutalities of Poker



That is the subtitle of a review of Andy Bellin's "Poker Nation" in the March 18 edition of The New Yorker. Thought that the following might offer some explanation for the abusive behavior that has been the subject of a few threads here lately:


"Bellin fits the profile of the gambler as a talented person who is nonetheless unsuccessful, smart yet unable to fit into the conventional workaday world. The gambling life allows such a person to feel that he is outside the system, and incorporates a number of masculine ideals not often met in ordinary life. The notion of being beholden to no one--boss, family, lover--is vastly appealing, and gambling for a living implies fearlessness and an absence of pettiness."


Unsuccessful, smart, unable to fit, outside the system, beholden to no one, fearlessness. Sounds like a card thrower to me.
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Old 03-13-2002, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: The Seductive Brutalities of Poker



That's a pretty good synopsis, to which I would add - impulsive and immature.


Thanks for the Commerce info btw.
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Old 03-13-2002, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: The Seductive Brutalities of Poker



"Unsuccessful, smart, unable to fit, outside the system, beholden to no one, fearlessness. Sounds like a card thrower to me."


And I thought my associations were thin. Wow! lol Where'd you come up with card-thrower from that list? And why did your list leave off the last thing from the original list? "An absence of pettiness." If you add that back, then I don't know what it describes, but it sure ain't a card thrower.


Tommy
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Old 03-13-2002, 12:51 PM
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Default poker has been a downy-skinned woman for tommy *NM*




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Old 03-13-2002, 12:59 PM
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Default we all should be so lucky *NM*




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Old 03-13-2002, 01:52 PM
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Default Re: The Seductive Brutalities of Poker



I left off "an absence of pettiness" because a) I didn't agree with it; and b) it undermined my argument. You read too damned carefully.


A lot of guys who play cards, it seems to me (you should excuse the expression) exhibit that list of characteristics: "Unsuccessful, smart, unable to fit, outside the system, beholden to no one, fearlessness." They are basically unhappy people who don't get along well with others because they have trouble seeing that the world does not revolve exlusively around them. This puts them on the verge of anger all the time when the facts of life, namely that the world does not revolve exclusively around them, intrude, and when they approach the precipice they become insulting; when they go over, they throw cards. You yourself coined a useful term that summarized a lot of the problem: entitlement disease.


A lot of the jerks I know in the cardroom also want to project a tough guy image. They want you to fear them when they play, so they feel they have to come across as not nice guys in between the hands as well. It's not enough that they win; it's as important that you know they win, that you know why they win, and that you know you're inferior to them because they play poker better than you do.


They've found a world where what they're smart at is important, where they are beholden to no one but themselves.
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Old 03-13-2002, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: The Seductive Brutalities of Poker



Andy,


I think one could also infer that the author is describing someone who not a social misfit but has issues with spending their life behind a desk making someone else rich. This person lives their life for themself because they have decided that becoming a part of the capitalist mechinations of the commercial workplace do not fulfill them and demand that they continually sacrafice things they hold dear (free time, choice of hours, honesty and integrity) in order to be successful. So others might find them unsuccessful in the material side of life, as well as "unable to fit, outside the system, beholden to no one" etc.. That individual can also be a very kind person who just happens to have different values then many around him. It is not implied that he does not treat people kindly or does not find immense fulfillment in his life and his choices. I feel that you are adding that aspect to make your point. I also think you are correct in some ways. I do, however, think their are people who chose to live "outside the system" but are not socially inept jerks.


I am one of them.


KJS
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Old 03-13-2002, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: The Seductive Brutalities of Poker



"It's not enough that they win; it's as important that you know they win, that you know why they win, and that you know you're inferior to them because they play poker better than you do."


most of them dont even win. or maybe they win a little bit over time. a very little bit, hardly enough to really make it worth it.


seriously andy (and tommy and others), how many people that play commerce top section would you say are what mason considers "expert" status, meaning they make over $30 an hour over 1000s of hours? id say very very very few. but your guess is more educated so id really like to hear your opinion on this.


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Old 03-14-2002, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: The Seductive Brutalities of Poker



I certainly didn't mean to imply that everyone who plays poker professionally or as a semi-pro is mean-spirited or a misfit. I have met a ton of people in the cardroom who are wonderful human beings. Not just kind and generous and good hearted and sociable, but also interesting and interested in what you have to say. Well-rounded, well-adjusted people.


But I was thinking a great deal about the abusive behavior I see, or at least notice, more and more in the casino and some of the descriptions in the review struck me as possible/probable explanations for this type of behavior. Here's what Mike Caro said about losing many years ago:


"I cope with losing very badly. I think I have a feeling of persecution. That the unknown is persecuting me. I tend to think about mistakes a lot less when I've had a big loss. In fact I think I try to justify big losses by not wanting to think I've made any mistkes. It's already too painful to think about without the addition of mistakes."


That pain that he talks about, I think, manifests itself in anger. Anger, after all, is the outward manifestation of pain. Rather than think about the mistakes, blame someone else. [And I don't mean Mike here, I don't know the man. I'm talking in general.]
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Old 03-14-2002, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: The Seductive Brutalities of Poker



I don't really know, Mike. Tommy would be a better judge of this. As a guess, maybe one in ten who play regularly. Maybe this too contributes to the behavior I'm describing: the pressure some of the pros feel to simply pay the bills.
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