Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Haters Gonna Hate

“I Just Watched Bobby Bellande
Win a Hand
 and Started Breaking Shit”

It was 2:53 in the morning, and I was dead asleep, when I got this text message from an unknown number.

Sure, I knew of Bobby Bellande, who used to go by Jean-Robert, complete with the pretentious French pronunciation. He is all over the television, playing poker in the WSOP and on Poker After Dark. He has a semi-popular Twitter handle (@BrokeLivingJRB) that tracks his life of glamour. He even appeared on a season of the reality show, Survivor. And, yes, who wouldn’t be sick of his whole knit cap wearing, chauvinistic, smugness. But I’m not a terribly violent person, so I guess I feel that smashing my belongings just because Bellande is on television might be a bit of an o-ver-re-action.

The Chris Moneymaker poker boom of 2003 has elevated many top card players to the level of pseudo-celebrity. Names like Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, and Daniel Negreanu have become B-list household names. However, this national attention has cultivated hordes of “haters” that lurk in poker forums, spewing vitriol upon the minds of anyone within range. Even though the “haters” often know little more about a person than a few brief television appearances, they form strong, and sometimes even violent, opinions on what is usually very little evidence.

This “hater” phenomenon is a strange part of human psychology that the anonymity of the internet only seems to amplify. We often see it at the poker table as a player gets fixated upon revenge after losing a hand. Some players even utilize an obnoxious and abrasive personality as they try to induce tilt in their opponents and get them off their best game. However, it is always better to avoid pulling such blinders of rage over one’s eyes. They have been the death of many chip stacks. All energy wasted on hate is energy that cannot be harnessed for self-improvement and pursuing personal goals.

Hatred is an obstacle of success and happiness.

P.S. I never figured out who sent that text. Don’t want to. Isn’t it better that way?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Ass Dart

There are many reasons I love my brother Joe, but the biggest are probably that hanging out with him is always a good time and that he has a bigger heart than anyone I’ve ever met.

Over the years, Joe has developed a proclivity towards perverse prop bets. His outgoing personality relishes the performance, enjoys the pressure, and savors the accomplishment.

For example, I designed a noxious concoction specifically for him, called the “Chocolate Olive Drop.” We had a standing wager on whether he could get it down without gagging. The specific ingredients varied slightly, depending on availability, but the drink usually consisted of a large tumbler full of whiskey, chocolate milk, lemon juice, clam juice, and, of course, a couple of olives. The combination of liquor and milk is off-putting enough, but just as the alcohol starts to kick and mix with the acidic lemon and briny clam, down come those olives, like bowling balls, rolling right over a man’s puke button. The “Chocolate Olive Drop” is a drink designed to make a man lose his lunch, but my brother is a tough customer and he is a lifetime winner on his encounters with them.

The wackiest prop bet I ever witnessed Joe undertake started innocently enough. We were killing time at my parents’ house with a friend of his that was having some girlfriend troubles. My brother was really looking for a way to cheer up his buddy and distract him from his troubles. As luck would have it, we just so happened to be messing around with a blowdart gun. So, when I casually inquired how much someone would have to pay Joe to shoot him in the ass with the gun, a price of $40 was quickly settled upon.

Before I knew it, I had shot him in the ass. Somehow, we talked him into getting shot four times. We made him go bare ass to earn the money, and had got the video set up just right (above). If you look close, the red marks from the previous shots are visible. Nice grouping!