It’s been a funny old week.
Last Saturday I had some teeth out, three of the little buggers in fact. They’d been giving me trouble for a good couple of years so I was actually glad to be seeing the back of them at last. It was a hospital job because one was close to the sinus and the other two (both wisdom teeth) had their various issues as well (a huge root, close proximity to the nerve etc) so they needed to be careful. A hospital was the best place to be lest anything go wrong.
The letter I received from the hospital said I would not be having a general anaesthetic so there was no need to fast. So imagine my dismay when the surgeon asked “have you eaten today”, and I replied “well I just had a cup of hot chocolate while I was waiting” (which the nurse offered, after I’d showed her the letter so no blame on her) and he then told me “Oh shame, we could have done this with a general anaesthetic if you hadn’t had that drink. It’s going to be tricky”. Grrrrrrr.
And then he even asked me “Do you want to go ahead with all three extractions?” Well I couldn’t very well just bottle it now, but him asking the question didn’t exactly settle the nerves.
Anyway, without going into the gory details, he got the job done with a local anaesthetic in about 45 minutes and after they cleaned me up they gave me some antibiotics, some co codamols (a strong painkiller which I took immediately) and sent me on my way.
And that’s where the story starts.
After a couple of hours back home the injections wore off and it started to hurt a lot. The co codamols weren’t doing their job, but never fear! Being quite resourceful I had bought a shed load of super strength painkillers for a ridiculously low price while I was in India – with no prescription and for a tenth of the price……..enter the TRAMADOL !
Tramadols are an opiate based painkiller and these little green capsules DO get the job done. But there are these side effects as well, not really surprising for a heroin substitute.
I have been in cloud cuckoo land all week on these things. And they definitely are addictive so I’d better watch out (as we shall see it appears I am addicted to losing games of poker – so it ought to be a doddle to form a bond with an opiate based product.)
You might have remembered that in January I played 100k hands of Speed poker?
That hadn’t ended very well and I’d got the lingering suspicion that my opponents had just figured me out. My graph went up for the first half of the month and then down in the second half and I don’t think I’d changed my behaviour very much. I reckon they’d sussed me out and that even at the low stakes I was operating, the regs were all using trackers like Holdem Manager.
So I’d decided “if you can’t beat them join them” and undertaken to get my own tracker to fight back. But I hadn’t really got to the stage where I had assembled a HUD I was comfortable with and done the serious work on my opponents.
But then one day this week I had a revelation that I might not even need to (do the serious work, that is)!
The answer was so obvious and I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before: anonymous cash tables.
Or to be precise, heads up anonymous cash tables.
In the anonymous tables the opponents can’t see your name. You are given the title “Player 1″ or “Player 2″. As such they cannot assemble hand histories on you, or just go out and bulk buy a load of hand history data, because hand history data for “Player 2″ would comprise dats for all the zillons of other player 2s out there on the anonymous tables*. They don’t know who you are so they don’t know how to react until they’ve made up their own mind rather than just reading some statistic from their monitor.
Could anonymous heads up this be the perfect game for me? Heads up means a high % of hands played, a higher % of decent sized pots because most of the time you’ve both got weak hands and of course this means greater rake. But the clincher for me is that fact they can’t use your hand history data against you!
*In fact if you are ever setting up a new poker account, simply choose the name “PLAYER 1″ and your opponents efforts at tracking you will be dashed!
One bloke offered to play me at 4 tables saying “hey it will be more fun” but I wasn’t having that. “Fun” – seriously? Just by making this offer he must have thought he had an edge so I declined. And the whole point of the game is that you don’t know who you are up against. Why change that fundamental principle? I went on to cooler him in a massive pot and beat him but it turned out he wasn’t that hot shot a player anyway. Maybe he really did think it would be more “fun”.
I knew that I need to tread carefully. I reckon the best hand readers and post flop players are heads up specialists so there are some great players out there, but I’ve also found that at the smaller stakes like £0.25-0.50 and €0.50-1.00, there are a lot who are just pretty nitty and only bet big with big hands.
And that’s been the story so far. Most players I am very comfortable with but a few have given me problems.
The whole week has followed a similar weird pattern: wake up, realise the tooth area hurts, whack a tramadol down my neck with some antibiotics and gargle with salt water. After a while the tramadol kicks in and it makes you a bit nauseous. Lie down – nausea disappears and then this warm glow arrives as the opiate courses through your veins. Just like a jolly old smack head lying in a pile of tennants super cans a Glasgow bed sit – yeah I’ve seen Trainspotting
And then I just lie there and whatever I’m doing, even watching a Youtube video – seems like the best thing ever. Going out isn’t great because I tend to feel weak and a bit nauseous, but if you lie down under a blanket everything is just GREAT. So I’ve been spending upwards of 14 hours a day just…lying down watching episodes of Veep and the like. (I can highly recommended Veep btw).
The green capsules of goodness have been going down the hatch for 5 days now. 4 a day and 5 a day even. Appetite is suppressed completely. In 5 days I reckon I’ve eaten no more than 3000 calories in TOTAL, so I’m really weak and light headed, but mainly just an opiate fuelled space cadet. (Bear in mind I’ve been tee total for years – body’s a temple and all that – so this is a real assault to the system.
Unfortunately it’s been while in this mindset that I’ve discovered anonymous cash tables!
Guess how WELL I’ve been doing ?????
Doyle Brunson wrote a famous article about playing under the influence or under stress or even when in a bad mood. (It’s so restrictive it feels like the times when you actually CAN play are restricted to about 30 minutes a week!)
Well I expect you can guess what his advice would be about ingesting up to 250mg of tramadol a day.
But I’ve just been loving it. After a lie down I can fire up 6 heads up tables and beaver away for 500 or even 1000 hands or so. I do actually win more sessions that I lose – 8 wins to 5 losses. But look at the losses !
So it’s the usual “one step forward two steps back”.
I’ve found the game ! And look – I can even rake $50 per hour playing €0.25-0.50 over 6 tables. But the problem is I’m too walloped to know when to quit. Witness those $1392 and $459 losses! And at those diddy little stakes!
It was like I didn’t care – no that’s not true – I definitely did care because I kept getting coolered by higher flushes (I’m not folding a flush heads up with only three of a suit on board). So it did wind me up but not enough to quit the game! I thought I could get it back – and that deluded state of mind shows how good these pills are – you simply do not reverse a 20 buy in down swing and I should know that better than anyone.
Oh well. I think I could be on to something here – a game which would mean I didn’t have to go to all the trouble of learning the vagaries of trackers and HUDs. If only I could learn to quit when I’m stuck. If I walked every time I was 3 or 4 buy ins down I’d be very much a winning player. We’ll see.
Quitting the green capsules might be an idea too