If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I used to be a professional poker player.
I was somewhat of a latecomer to the game, and when I started playing for a living in 2009, the poker boom had already been reverberating for years.
While many people say the boom is still going strong, the main difference is that there aren’t many new players. Nowadays, the typical poker player has been playing for years and has experience – the one thing they were previously lacking. Sure, they made mistakes. But the mistakes weren’t nearly as atrocious as the ones they made in years past, and they didn’t make them as frequently.
As time went on, the skill gap continued to shrink, as did my edge. With the addition of the rake charged by the casinos, playing live poker wasn’t nearly as profitable as it had been.
So in 2011, I tried something different. I set a goal to achieve Supernova Elite on Pokerstars (an online poker site).
I don’t really want to get too technical, but essentially this would require me to earn 1,000,000 frequent player points in a calendar year. To do this, I would need to play just under 4 million hands of poker, which ended up being about 10,000 hands per day. This was online poker, so I was able to play on 24 games at the same time, having to make constant decisions. This resulted in long, stressful hours as well as incredibly large swings in wins and losses.
I saw an online advertisement last week, asking people to “Pledge to Shop Small.” It was the first I had heard about this new “Small Business Saturday,” in which consumers are asked to ignore their primal impulse to save money, which they voraciously set free on Black Friday. Instead, they are asked to catch their breath from the previous day’s mayhem and set forth once again, all in the name of stimulating the economy.
Armed with the money that they triumphantly saved the day before, they are now expected to “take one for the American team” and spend it on stuff sold in local stores, even though it might be more expensive.
Aside from the counter-intuitive timing of it all, I get it. It makes sense.
And I thought about doing it – or at the very least making a pledge to do it, as the advertisement asked me to.
But then I just thought, bleh. And decided not to.
The bleh is more than just the general laziness that I personally endure day after day. It is a broad-spectrum, all-encompassing bleh having to do with the state of everything. More specifically: the country.
I’ll insert here the fact that I don’t know, nor do I pretend to know, much of anything about economics or politics. I know the basic gist about how the United States got to be in the economic shitter only as far as how it affects me personally.
But aside from the basic facts about the economy fed to me via late night monologues, when it comes to actually learning about what is going on, I typically opt to just say bleh and change the channel or flip the page.