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

Subscribe with Bloglines

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


  • 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
  • 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
  • 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
  • 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
  • 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
  • 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
  • 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
  • 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
  • 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
  • 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
  • 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
  • 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
  • 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
  • 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
  • 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
  • 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
  • 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
  • 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
  • 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
  • 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
  • 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
  • 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
  • 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
  • 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
  • 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
  • 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
  • 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
  • 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
  • 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
  • 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
  • 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
  • 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
  • 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
  • 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
  • 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
  • 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
  • 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
  • 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
  • 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
  • 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
  • 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
  • 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
  • 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
  • 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007

  • Powered by Blogger

    Tuesday, February 28, 2006

    Deny Me Everything

    Although it's fair to say that my Catholicism can now be found in the "lapsed" category, I still give up something for Lent every year. I may have my issues with the capital "C" Church, but it's much harder to take Jesus Himself to task. Love thy neighbor, care for the poor and downtrodden...if only we had more of THAT in the world. And whether you believe the story of the Resurrection, according to the Good Book He suffered horribly and died out of love for each and every one of us. Giving up something I enjoy for 40 days seems like the least I can do to say thanks.

    But WHAT to give up? Back in grade school the class wag would say "I'm giving up homework!" and we'd all laugh and think what a wonderful world it would be if we kids had that sort of power. Of course we didn't, and as adults we still don't--I can't give up work, either. Unless I want to be sleeping under the 7th Street Bridge like the guy I saw yesterday morning. And it's a bit cold to be doing that, let me tell you.

    There are those who go the Draconian route. My friend Kris gives up sweets every year. Not just chocolate--sweets. No pie, no cake, no doughnut. I think fresh fruit is OK (scurvy, don't you know) but beyond that nothing sweeter than broccoli. My friend Rick does the no TV thing, but this isn't quite as macho as it sounds. First of all, Rick doesn't have cable, and his TV is one of those 35-year-old Magnovox dealies you see most often now in the Smithsonian. And he only gives up watching TV in his house. It's perfectly OK for him to go SOMEWHERE ELSE to watch NASCAR or March Madness or whatever else he can't bear to miss. Which reminds me, it's time to change the lock on my front door.

    I've never gone that extreme--except for one year. It was 1997, and I was in some state of moral flux. Either I'd just been dumped by a girl or I'd failed to make a play for a girl in time, something idiotic like that. And I felt I need to make some sort of statement that would prove to the world that I was ready to turn over a new leaf, become a new man, an even Meaner Gene. And so, fool that I was, I gave up alcohol for Lent.

    Now, I'm not an Olympic-caliber tippler. But like just about everyone, I see that pint glass filled to the brim with an amber-hued ale and it's like an angel herself is giving me a big hug. And to give up beer--and wine, and liquor, and any other fluid ending in the suffix -ol--was to my mind the sort of stupid, quixotic, brain-dead gesture I was looking for.

    My God, you wanna talk about 40 fucking long days?

    I drank A LOT of Diet Pepsi. You might think that cutting out all those empty calories would've helped me lose some good weight. No such luck--I ate more to make up for the liquid joy I was missing out on. The worst part was teetotaling during March Madness. While we don't go crazy like we used to, in years past I'd spend upwards of 20 hours in sports bars over the first two days of the tournament, all of it in a delicious buzzy stupor. This particular year we got tickets to see the opening roun games in Pittsburgh (I saw Coppin State pull the biggest upset in NCAA history, knocking off #2 seed South Carolina) so that was one day I wasn't chugging Bud pounders. But the rest of that weekend I was miserably sober. It didn't help that I was recovering from strep throat and beer would've done wonders for numbing my throat.

    It's something of a joke with my friends that I always pick Arizona to go far in the NCAA tournament. I can't count the number of times I picked them to go to the Final Four, or even win the thing, and see them get beat in the first round by the likes of Santa Fucking Clara. Well, this was the year the Wildcats went all the way and won the title. And I'd picked them to lose in the second round. We watched the Final Four games in a local bar the Saturday before Easter, the clock taunting me as it strained and groaned it's way toward midnight. Arizona knocked off North Carolina to make the title game, and my friends wanted to leave. It was still like 10PM--I wanted to hang around till midnight so I could have the bartendress line pints up like thoroughbreds waiting for the start of the Kentucky Derby. And then drink 'em all down.

    Nope, they wanted to leave. I got a stay of execution by putting in an emergency to-go order of wings (I gave up wings as well, to show you how warped I was) and when they arrived we were off. At home I watched TV, waiting for midnight, waiting for the moment when I could crack the top off a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and reach the finish line of this Amazingly Stupid Race.

    Midnight. I opened the bottle and had the discipline to pour it in a glass. Just to prove that I was in control. And that first blisfull taste...

    It wasn't that great. Oh, it was GOOD, but the context was all wrong. I wanted to be in a bar, I wanted to hear my friends cheering and shouting, I wanted to chug a watery Miller Lite and bellow for another. This was too quiet, too anticlimatic. Plus the wings were cold and I didn't feel like sticking them back in the microwave.

    In time I leapt off the Wagon in the proper way, I think as I watched Arizona beat Kansas and my friends jeered me as the worst front-runner in March Madness history. I proved something to myself by giving up alcohol, though WHAT exactly I proved is a bit murky. That I love beer but could, if stranded on a keg-free desert island, resist hanging myself? Ehh. Nice, but not life-transforming.

    Now Lent is here again, and I'm not sure what to give up. Meat? Thought about that a few times, but frankly it'd probably bankrupt me eating fish every night. Poker? Nah, I went months without playing before, it'd hurt but I've been there, done that. Sex? Ha. HA! That almost makes me want to fucking LAUGH OUT LOUD. Maybe I'll just mimic Rick and give up watching TV at his house too. get this widget Please visit Pokernews site for more poker news, poker strategy articles or poker rules.

    Play Poker Online
    Play Poker Online at Full Tilt Poker
    Learn, Chat, and Play with the Pros at the fastest growing Online Poker Room.


    Play Poker Online at Blind Bet Poker. Bonuses and promotions by online poker rooms like Doyles Room, Titan Poker, Full Tilt Poker and Noble Poker. Poker strategy for beginners, advanced, and professional poker players. A poker terminology section, news & online poker tournaments.

    Poker Forums
    Definitive online poker portal, featuring a poker odds calculator, poker forums, an excellent poker bonus code section with deposit bonuses.

    Full Tilt Poker Freerolls
    Party Poker Strategy Guide

    The 2006 WSOP
    Total Coverage
    From the Urinals to the Hooker Bar



    Poker Savvy