Wednesday, March 28, 2007

...And I'm a Name-Caller-Aholic

My name is Stick and I'm a "name-caller-aholic". While playing online poker and someone makes a bad play to beat me, I have a bad habit of calling them a name in the chat box. The name is usually "idiot" or "donkey". One time, I even called a guy a "d u m b a s s". But the next day, I found him and apologized. I know name calling is wrong. I know it is very unprofessional. I know it can induce the player and others at the table to play better, thus making it harder for me to profit. But I've still done it and I know it is time to change it.

It's like a drug. I make the correct plays. Raise 4 times the BB pre-flop with QQ. Make pot-sized bets on the 2-flush flop and turn so that chasing the flush is against the odds. Then the river makes the flush and they flip over 74 suited for the flush. The feeling I get is not one of defeat. Not like I feel beat. It is one of astonishment and violation. Like when another driver on the road rides your bumper for a while, then speeds past you and you want to go and catch him to ride his bumper for a while. Like you've been violated and want to ask him "What the hell are you doing, you idiot?" (No, I have never done and will never do this). They know tailgating and speeding is wrong, so what makes them so special that they can violate the law like they are not supposed to and get away with it? In poker, why does the donkey play like they are not supposed to and get away with it by winning? That's how it makes me feel. It's like a kind of "road rage" to me.

I get a type of relief when I type the word "idiot" or "donkey" (Oh yeah. Another one I have used is "clueless"). It's just barely enough revenge to satisfy the rage that has been caused. However, there's no way I'd ever do this playing live. I've been beaten by some pretty horrible plays in live games and I've shown restraint and professionalism. Not because they were bigger than me (one was a tiny lady), but because I value my personal image. When asked about how well he takes bad beats, I saw Howard Lederer on TV say "I don't get visibly upset because I don't want them to know how bad I feel." So I've remembered this and I try to live by it, also.

The worst part is that I've been called names online and have scoffed at it. I've never really cussed online, but I've been called just about every name in the book (and my mother, too). I even made a post to this blog entitled "Verbal Abuse In Online Poker". So why do I myself do it? Lack of consequences, maybe? Revenge factor?

I guess the online thing has the aspect of anonymity and all I am is a name online. No face, no "personal image". Just words on a screen. It still doesn't make it right, but I think that's why I am a name caller. If I want to stop this, I'll need to address the "rage" feeling first so the urge for retaliation will not come up again. Why do I get that feeling that I've been violated? Maybe I'm feeling robbed or something? I dunno. Half the time, I then go on tilt the next few hands. Not good. Maybe I'll go back and read the book called "The Tao of Poker". It addresses the issue of tilt in depth.

So I hereby apologize to every online player I've ever called a name and I pledge to try to overcome my problem for the good of myself and the game of poker.

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