My Black Friday

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.

d648e-youngmanpoker
Yours truly.

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.

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Asterisks

Asterisks

I love to play online poker, but I recently realized how much of a different person I become when things don’t go my way. Here is the chat log, verbatim (screen names changed):

Dealer: marids11 (button) showed 10cQs and won ($170.60) with a straight, Nine to King
Seat 9: Youngman Brown showed KhKd and lost with three of a kind, Kings
Youngman Brown: aslkjflaskjf
Youngman Brown: WTF
Youngman Brown: you call all the way down with a ****ing gutshot?
Youngman Brown: what a ****ing donk
marids11: hehehe ul
Youngman Brown: unlucky my *** you idiot
Youngman Brown: you just called your entire stack with a 4 outer
Youngman Brown: I hope you get herpes.

The anger that flows from me is justified because this guy deserves to get verbally assaulted and that is a “bad beat” in any poker player’s book. What is surprising to me is my choice of ammunition.

Herpes? It’s not only mean, but it’s so… specific. Read more