Thursday, October 9, 2008


I'm having difficulty finding the right vocabulary (or "verbiage," as Sarah Palin would say) for what I'm about to write. The first problem arises when I want to say that I "realized" something last week, because "realize" isn't at all the word I want to use. It wasn't new to me, it was just the first time I thought about it consciously.

And what I "realized" was that I have what I fail to find another word for than "quirk" when it comes to the money I win and lose at poker. It's not a "quirk" per se, but rather an angle that I think might be different from others'. Anyway, forgive the poor language.

So last week I "realized" that I have a "quirk" when it comes to money I play poker with. To the US players, what I'm about to say might make little sense, but bear with me: I don't think of a good night at the tables as "winning money," I think of it as "winning dollars." And for me, with the Swedish krona as my currency, dollars don't necessarily represent money, subconsciously. Rationally they do, of course. I understand fully that I can withdraw from my bankroll and spend it on stuff. I've withdrawn a decent amount over the past few years. But, and I think this goes back to my past rabid obsession with computer games, when I lose or win a buy-in (typically $200) I don't see it as money won or lost. I see it as "points."

And I check my score in Hold'em Manager.

When I have a big winning night, I'm not excited because I'm better off financially now than before, I cheer because my score just improved.

On the surface, this appears helpful, because the angle makes me focus on correct things at the table. No tilt induced by losing a lot of money because what I'm losing isn't money. Right? Except that I think I tilt just as much as I would be if I had thought about it as money, if not harder. Because I care about my score, as I would in any game.

But, and this is the real divide, it's the $ Won column in HEM that constitutes my score. Not the money in NETeller or even how much money I currently have at, say, Party Poker. No, THAT money is real money. Bonuses that I clear, in other words, don't count towards my subconscious idea of reaching a high score.

I wonder how that came to be. I don't know what the practical difference is other than that I rarely put a big pot won or lost into the context of real money (that is, mentally convert it to my own currency), although the times I do that I sometimes go "oh wow, that's actually quite a bit of money."

So yesterday I won an $808 pot. I was happy because it put my score for the night at $670. A short while later, while brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed, I multiplied the $800 by 7 (which is about the exchange rate) and realized that the size of that pot was 20% of my monthly income after taxes from my employer. It put things into perspective for me.

But only for a short while. Now I'm back to thinking about points. Good thing, too, because I'm not sure I would like to play for that much real money.

1 comment:

BelgoSuisse said...

In understand you perfectly. Actually I think I could have written exactly the same words, although my own currency is euros. Of course i'm only at 50nl right now, so it's not like pots could reach 20% of my monthly salary, but i really don't see my bankroll as money. It's just a graph indeed.

Probably a good thing as I actually profoundly dislike gambling with real money. Never actually bought a single lottery ticket.