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Aces Full of It: The Ace’s Attitude

February 26th, 2016 by Justin Buchanan

Just a heads up–this one is going to get pretty personal. Not too long ago, I picked up The Psychology of Poker by Alan Schoonmaker from my nearest library. I still need to get through most of it, but at basically the very beginning, he brings up the variety of motivations people can have for playing poker. In particular, he mentions playing poker for the purpose of making money, for the purpose of socialization, relaxation, playing for the thrill of risk, for the thrill of challenge, for the thrill and sense of accomplishment of victory, and even just to kill time.

So where does your local love to hate poker blogger stand?

What Makes Me Tick

 As opposed to, you know, gets me ticked off.

As opposed to, you know, gets me ticked off.(Image:

It might surprise some here to see me put it out there that I consider myself a gamer first, a poker player second.  I have a multitude of different motivations for playing certain games over other ones.  I won’t go over them all because I’m trying to be relevant to poker, here, but I will mention that in order for me to even consider playing a game, one of the following conditions must be met:

1. The game is neither frustrating nor boring beyond a certain amount of tolerance (usually low, with exceptions in frustration for “platform hell” games)

2. There is something that I realistically stand to gain from playing a game that compensates for any issues I would otherwise have with playing it.

Poker, you see, is on a very short list of games that fulfills this second criterion. If it wasn’t for the potential for money, potential that I earnestly and truly believe I am capable of tapping into, I would have called it quits long ago. Frankly, I would never have joined Cardschat in the first place!

To me, poker represents more than fun or a game. It represents the hope that if I can build things up to enter a big enough tournament, and if in it I can get that one big score, I can secure a dang future for me with my own two hands. That is the end that poker is a means to for me: to get me the HELL out of the unemployed college graduate who took an English major like a dingbat situation that I’ve gotten myself into. So if I seem to get angry at you for making a dumb play that paid off, I’m not really angry at you so much as I am at karma for not punishing you for not treating the game with the same degree of respect that I do.

Oops, my tenure at the Mell O'Drama School of Rhetoric is showing. (Image:

Oops, my tenure at the Mell O’Drama School of Rhetoric is showing. (Image:

As for the other motivations, the esteemed Mr. Schoonmaker puts forth…socialization?  Oh, it is to laugh.  If it’s not on the internet, I rarely ever want to socialize.  That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy projecting an air of affability at the table, but it cannot be said it’s a purpose for my play.  Relaxation?  If I want relaxation I’ll do other things online besides poker, thank you.  Predominately Youtube and Netflix.  (This will tie into a later point, actually.)

The thrill of risk I admit is a secondary factor, but only because without it I’m too bored out of my skull to concentrate on the game enough to engage in winning behavior.  This, as I’ve discussed previously, is why I’m purely a tournament player.  The thrill of challenge not so much, and the thrill of victory in a very minor way, only because I find it immensely satisfying to see a particularly stupid (or “disrespectful” in the sense previously mentioned) playing get sent to the rail, whether by me or not.

My Own Worst Enemy

As I’ve alluded to, the biggest danger to my poker game is boredom or distraction.  Unless I focus on the game, my skills go all the way from shark to fish by a wide margin.  This is a much more difficult problem to overcome for me in online play than Live, I’ve found.  The central problem is that online play is, well, online.  If you don’t know about the potential for distraction the internet brings, then really I don’t even know how you found being so sheltered.

It’s with this in mind that I’ve decided to at last swallow my pride and try staking. Something small, I’m thinking only 10 events with a bit north of $20 of action being put on sale.  I think of it as a sort of warm up, something to test the waters and establish precedents for my results and rate of turn around for more ambitious requests.  The idea is that if I’m not just playing for myself, but am actually responsible for others as well, I’ll be much more inclined to maintain concentration.  It’s the same sort of thing that led me to try League play at CardsChat, and it worked then.  Honestly, it sort of worked too well…but that’s a story for another day.

 Or, you know, people who give me their moneyz. (Image:

Or, you know, people who give me their moneyz. (Image:

The staking thread, as it happens, has already been established by the time you’re reading this.  I must say I did not expect such a swift response from backers. I should be starting the events I have planned soon enough–if you want to follow my progress, click here!

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