Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Overnight Sensation

Most of the things we want in life take years to come to fruition. Human beings love immediate gratification, but not too much happens overnight.

There's no one moment in time when you wake up and suddenly become the person you always wanted to be. It's all small steps. Each day can only build on the days that have come before it.

It's similar to watching a bankroll grow. Playing at my level I can't make 100 grand today. But I can make 500 a day for 200 days and that's 100 grand.

It would take alot of time and hard work but it's completely doable. Kind of like that old Steven Wright joke about how "Everywhere is walking distance....if you have the time."

I took a break from hold em and played some 7 card stud this week. If I had to rank the HORSE games for myself, 7 card stud would not be at the top of my list. I've definitely felt more comfortable in the past playing hold em and omaha. Makes perfect sense - I have way more experience playing those games than stud.

For what it's worth - I've never read any stud literature. I couldn't tell you what the top ten hands are. I'd guess the best starting hand is 3 aces. When playing 7 card, I probably make basic errors that any stud specialist would laugh at.

However when playing stud this week, I dare to say that it suddenly felt like I knew what I was doing. It was like waking up and suddenly knowing how to speak a foreign language. It's almost like I already spoke French (hold em) and some Italian (Omaha) and was now finally understanding Spanish (stud).

Hold em, omaha and stud are all romance languages. They're all still poker. No matter which game you play there are odds and percentages. There are still going to be players chasing draws versus made hands. There will still be bluffs and value bets. Good players and bad. Rocks and Maniacs.

And what made me feel like an overnight sensation was noticing the other players making obvious errors. I guess that's because they weren't necessarily stud errors. They were poker errors. And I play poker.

(Meanwhile as a math guy, it turns out I dig the 7 card! When is the stud revolution coming?)

The other experience that inspired this blog entry was my doing stand up tonight in Vegas. I hadn't told jokes onstage in 3 years. The 3 years part seems crazy to me because comedy has always been such a large part of my life. This is the longest break I've taken since I was 16 years old. It's who I am.

So I finally got back up there last night and it felt real good. I saw the experience differently. Maybe the key for me was my having such low expectations on what would come of it. I certainly wasn't expecting the experience to lead to anything careerwise. I just had fun.

When comedy is your day job, there are plenty of worries and questions. What is next? Will they like me? Will I be asked back? How am I going to eat? Will the bookers book me? Will the casting directors cast me? Shouldn't I be writing right now?

Other than the writing part, a comedian is always relying on other people. It's part of the reason why I transitioned myself over to a career in poker. Playing poker was instantly freeing for me. To finally not have to rely on anyone else. To not to need to gain anyone's approval.

Last night at Second City I wasn't selling anything. I wasn't trying to get on late night television. I wasn't doing anything other than sharing my point of view. It's the reason I got into comedy in the first place. To be funny. Not to try and become the neighbor on a sitcom.

After the show people were complimentary. They hadn't seen me do stand up before. I've only completed 3 levels of their school, so in that regard I'm an overnight sensation.

What they don't know is took me 16 years to get there. Just like it only took me 4 years to realize what the hell is going on at a stud table.

Please don't correct my publicist when she insists in my bio that both things happened overnight.

1 comment:

Check Raise Chin said...

Nice post Rob, glad you're doing the two things you love out there in Vegas.

Gotta say though Rob, stud was the only game in AC back in the day before hold em and stuff. 7 stud was the only poke game they had at the casinos so we had to play that game. Just curious Rob, Omaha hi/lo is an action game...probably lots of loosey goosey players playing...have you ever tried to play Omaha a little? there are some huge pots in those games. Also I've been playing some Badugi, now that's a crazy game. As always Rob, enjoying your posts and enjoying living vicariously through you.

Also tough loss in the Cliff Branch league.