Mean Gene
Mean Gene
Pittsburgh's most decorated poker blogger, which I admit is like being the best shortstop in Greenland

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My Articles

Presto, the Arlo, & the Hammer
An Online Code of Conduct
The Ethics of Ratholing
"The Professor, the Banker..."
"Ace on the River"

My Columns

Lose the Shades
If You Can't Say Something Nice
Whither the Kicker
The Lady is a Champ?
Covering the WSOP (or not)
Statistics, Luck, and Poker
Poker and New Orleans
Managing a Bankroll
How To Tell A Bad Beat Story
Telling Lies
The Power of Poker Tracker
Advanced Card-Handling

My Greatest Hits

5 Things To Do Before I Die
Cafeteria Nostalgia
Mean Gene's Dubious Dating Tips
Poker and Business?
There's No Such Thing As Luck?
Isabelle, Je t'adore
No Shirt No Shoes No Service
Well, The Food Was Good
Good Morning, Mr. Matusow!
The Weekend of our Discontent, I
The Weekend of our Discontent, II
Books That Left Their Mark
Ode to a Fish Sandwich
Bill Simmons Ain't the Poker Guy
The Sports Guy Still Ain't the Poker Guy
Again, The Media Tackles Poker
Five Years After 9/11
Hitting Pretty Girls in the Face
Sixth-Graders Suck

Fellow Poker Bloggers

Guinness and Poker
Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Up for Poker
Boy Genius
Chris Halverson
Poker Grub
The Fat Guy
Todd Commish
Poker Works
Bill Rini
Bad Blood
Love and Casino War
Double As
Lion Tales
Paul Phillips
Daniel Negreanu
Poker Nerd
Poker Nation
Poker in Arrears
Human Head
Sound of a Suckout
Chicks With Chips
TP's Table Talk
Royal Poker
This is Not A Poker Blog
Chick and a Chair
Go Be Rude
Poker Cheapskate
Poker & Other Stuff
Seven Two
Musical Poker
WPBT Online
Isabelle Mercier
Cardschat Blog
Amy Calistri
BJ Nemeth
Annie's Blog

Poker Sites

Cardschat Poker Forum
Barstool Sports
Card Player
Internet Texas Hold-Em
Poker Pages


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    Friday, October 22, 2004

    Time to Wax Poetic

    Last night, while the cream of the pokerblogging world battled in a huge PokerStars tournament rife with celebrities, I was sitting in a bar soothing my aching body with Miller Lite. Playing volleyball two nights a week is starting to take a toll on me. My back hurts. My calves hurt. My shoulders? They hurt. When I return to earth after a spike or block I feel the effects of every chicken wing I've eaten the last twenty years.

    "Anybody want wings?" Greg asked.

    "Sure," I said.

    As I sipped soothing beer and watched Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen break the Astros back, I realized that at this very moment a big poker tournament was taking place, and I wasn't in it. Felt a bit of a pang. Probably a big field (tho the fact that 133 saw the off floored me) and I wasn't in it. Oh well. Play the next one.

    I sipped again, stopped, and thought of the date. October 21st. And I remembered that it was exactly one year ago that I started playing poker. Oh, how I remember that day. I'd submitted a deposit to Neteller, and was waiting anxiously for it to clear. I checked my account about 25 times that day, and as the adage goes, a watched pot never boils. Before I went home I checked my email one last time and there it was, a little note saying "Your EFT deposit has been accepted". Well, all riiiight.

    Fifty of my hard-earned bucks deposited at PokerStars, and I was ready to begin my assault on the poker world. I remember my wife going to bed around 10PM, and I fired up that computer, logged on, and joined the fray. I even remember the first hand I was dealt--7-8 offsuit. I saw the flop because I'd already paid the blind, didn't hit it, and mucked. The first hand of many.

    I won $13 that first night, and was convinced this would be a regular result. I started doing the math in my head, calculating how much I might expect to make in a year. Visions of sugarplums dancing in my head would have been more realistic. I lost a bit the next day, and the next, and the next. At one point I was down to like $20 in my account, and had I gone bust I might never have reloaded. I promised my wife, and myself, that this wouldn't be an expensive hobby, and if I couldn't make my meager stake last, well, I had better things to do with my time and money.

    I dropped down in limits, tightened up, smartened up. I started reading more about poker, specifically a site with the curious name of Guinness and Poker, who constantly beseeched online players to play in the vast aquarium called Party Poker. I emailed the one they call Iggy, asked his advice, and he told me to saddle up posthaste and get myself to Party. I showed rare insight and followed his instructions.

    But only after getting my account back up over $50, which was the minimum transfer for Neteller. I got up to about $47, meaning I needed just one little win to push me over the top. They say most poker player remember the bad beats they take, never the big wins. Well, I remember my A-10 which turned into a full house by the turn that gave me the pot I needed to cash out. I shifted my money over (of course using bonus code IGGY) and started throwing out lines to the fish at Party.

    In the past year there have been some ups and downs, of course. The biggest up, of course, was winning the first blogger tournament, the Grublog Classic, which not only gave me a three-figure payday but also an absolutely SMASHING set of chips. Every poker game we've had at the lake has been greatly enhanced by those heavy clay checks. Winning that tournament was such a thrill, in large part because it was so unexpected. When I got heads up with The Fat Guy, I knew what was at stake, I knew how I lusted for those chips, and I had to bring my absolute A game to the fray. Whether I did or not I'll never know, but I do know that when my pocket 10s stood up to TFG's A-6, I let out a shout that sent my cats to running and I jumped up and nearly put my hands through the drop ceiling in my den.

    That was a high point. So was coming home one night to find the big box holding my chips propped against my garage door. So was coming in 2nd in the another tournament, and third in another. I actually started to think I was pretty good at this game.

    Of course, the poker gods smite those who thinketh themselves better than they are. Lots and lots of bad days, bad hands, bad beats were to follow. I remember dropping $100, about a third of my account, in two days of brutal play. I remember playing 100 hands on two tables and not dragging a single unsplit pot. I remember dropping about $50 in $1/$2 to a guy who beat me every which way you can be beaten. I remember getting outflopped, overturned, and rivered scores of times. But those hands and sessions fade into the background when I look back at the year as a whole. If playing poker is just one big lifelong game, you can't get too stuck on the short-term variances of fate, luck, and your own failings. You just have to play your best, do whatever you can to get better, and to thine ownself be true.

    Over this past year I turned my $50 into...well, I did pretty well. Though I didn't do very well in ring games, I have to say. I did more than break even, but the majority of my profits came from tournaments, both blogger and simple SNGs. When I return to the tables, my cash-game must be tightened and tuned.

    And return to the tables I shall. I just don't know when, exactly. Definitely not during the month of November, when I will be writing away like a madman, trying to write a 50,000 word novel during National Novel Writing Month. I'll be posting my book as I write it, and if you'd like you can follow along. Poker does play a big part in it, and I may be posting questions here so I can add stuff to the book to make it more realistic, but for the most part this blog will lie fallow at least through December. But I hope you'll read along at my new site,, starting on November 1st. Or the 2nd, whichever day I get to write on.

    I don't know exactly how yet, but I'm going to figure out a way to get some of the more famous (or infamous) bloggers into the story. I'll trust my Muse will show me the way. If it wasn't for the folks I've met online, the players and writers scattered all over the country (and the world) whose blogs I've read and whose traps I've fallen into, this past year wouldn't have been a tenth as fun. I know I'm a better player for having read so much, I'm definitely a better writer after cranking out about 130,000 words this past year, and, dare I say, I'm a better person. Well, maybe not a better person. A slightly wealthier person, that's not quite so gooey.

    Thanks to all the kind folks who write the blogs that destroy my workplace productivity (gotta update my blogroll), and especial thanks to those who read my stuff. I hope to be ruthlessly skinning you, and writing about it, very soon. get this widget Please visit Pokernews site for more poker news, poker strategy articles or poker rules.

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