Monday, August 18, 2008

Iron Man, Arnold Drummond, and the Four Noble Truths

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Some days you're the pimp. Most of the days, you're the whore. So what are you going to be? A $20 trailer park cheese jonesin' hooker? Or a $2,000/hour Bellagio working girl?

In the end what's the philosophical distinction between the differences in the lowest levels of Iron Man and the highest levels? Or is it just another carrot in front of the donkey cart?

Hookers and donkeys. Two of my favorite World Series of Poker topics. Without one, there would not be the other. The two have been linked together in a symbiotic relationships since the first settlers brought donkeys to haul the loads through the desert, and the first hookers thrived during the time that the Hoover Dam was under construction and attracted hordes of bored and horny construction workers.

You can even go all the way back to the New Testament of the bible, where you'll find stories about Jesus hanging out with his hippie crew of out of work apostles. Jesus routinely hung out with the sinners, including prostitutes. He was giving everyone a shot at redemption from the lowly street walkers to corrupt tax collectors.

Then there's Buddha's Four Noble Truths:
1. Life involves suffering
2. Suffering arises from craving
3. Suffering ends with the removal of craving
4. There is a way to the end of suffering.
I discovered a new way to absorb bad beats and that was by eliminating my desire to have to win every single pot. By eliminating that craving, the bad beats did not sting as much and I avoided suffering.

Sounds so simple, but it took years to finally achieve that level of detachment when I'm playing. It's easy when you multi-table four limit hold'em tables but more difficult when I have only one or two tables to focus on. I start thinking and overthinking instead of being in the moment.

I frequently played online poker since the World Series of Poker ended. I have more free time and I found a loophole in how to qualify much faster for Iron Man status on Full Tilt.

Normally, I'm not fond of frequent play promotions like the Iron Man promotion on Full Tilt or the colored Star status on PokerStars. I earned enough points on a couple of instances on PokerStars to qualify for Silver Star status. For the most part, those promotions are traps and the suckers get vacuumed up in their quest for validation. Those promotions are set up under the guise that they are awarding the folks who play almost every day, but sometimes you gotta think...

I told myself that I would attempt to become an Iron Man as a result of me playing a ton in August. I didn't actively want to seek out the distinction. Nothing is worse than knowing it's time to walk away from playing but staying longer and losing. I admit, that there were one or two instances where I stayed on longer just to get the points, but I didn't want that to be a daily routine and become a slave to the promotion.

Fortunate for me, I have been multi-tabling low limit hold'em which racks up points. And I also found a loophole... Happy Hour. You can earn double points if you play certain tables for Full Tilt's Happy Hour promotion. I like playing the "Late Night" segment of Happy Hour. It runs from 11pm to 1am ET so I usually jump on to play around 9pm west coast time or Midnight ET.

In an average session, I can attain 200 points by playing three 5/10 tables and one 8/16 table for about 30 minutes or 100-120 hands. Since I'm qualifying rather quickly, the promotion rarely affects my hit and run strategy.

50 points a day is the minimum daily points required to qualify for the lowest level of Iron Man, while 200 points gets you a shot at the highest tiers.

I played cash games on Full Tilt everyday this month grinding it away at the limit tables. I have been playing about an hour every day, which is not a lot considering I already qualified for silver Iron Man.

Yes, Iron Man I am. I am Iron Man. I feel so special, so fuckin' special. I'm a creep. I'm a weirdo.

I only need seven more days with 200 points or more to qualify for the Iron Iron Man... whatever that is. It will be tough for me to make it to that highest honor. I'll be traveling a bunch during the rest of the month... including five days in San Francisco for a music festival, a quick trip to San Diego for Radiohead, and then I'm flying back to NYC at the end of the month. I only need two more days with 200 points to achieve gold status (next to highest level), which I should get before I leave for Northern California.

In the last couple of nights, I found myself playing 5/10 with two red pros... Sweet Svetlana and Dag Mikkel Scandi. Svetlana won a bracelet this summer when she took down the Ladies event. Full Tilt doesn't have enough space for her to use her real name, so they had to abbreviate it to just S Gromenkova. I posted a couple of sessions with Dag Mikkel Scandi. He plays a lot of tables ranging from 5/10 to 10/20. I cracked his Kings one night.

I played a rare PLO MTT on Poker Stars. 187 runners and I finished in 34th place. Top three tables paid out so I got zilch. In the first level, I was the chipleader fueled by a hand where I busted two players. I flopped a set, got it all in against two pair and top pair with a flush draw. I boated up and jumped out to the early lead. I was running so hot that I even flopped quads.

I was near the top for most of the tournament until we got down to five tables. I lost a monsterpotten against some German dude with set over set. I busted out when my A-A single suited was cracked by Ks-7d-7c-6s. Foiled again by RiverStars.

If you either watched me play or played against me on PokerStars, you recognize my avatar. It's Gary Coleman as Arnold Drummond from the hit sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. It gets a lot of positive reaction from my opponents.

However, that's not always the case. During a micro-limit PLO table, I encountered a racist who just went off on me in the chat. I let him spew his venom and didn't say a word. I got the last laugh when I busted the simpleton. That pissed him off even more and he stuck around spreading his hate. And yeah, I won the entire SNG.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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