Da' Rush"This was the first time he had seriously confronted what he was doing, and the force of that awareness came very abruptly- with a surging of his pulse and a frantic pounding in his head. He was about to gamble his life on that table, and the insanity of that risk filled him with a kind of awe."
I have this quote at the bottom of my email as my signiture. Why? Because unless you are a poker player or maybe some other form of gambler you don't know the feeling. Da' Rush for poker players is very different than with other sports or hobbies. For instance, in football you run out onto the field and jump up and down or do a dance. In poker you have to sit there and keep a still face...not trying to give off too much if you got Da Nuttzzz. Doyle always talks about the aura or feeling almost a sixth sense about some poker players...and if you are lined up across from one who has that sense it's hard to hide your exhileration. After all, it's hard to hide quads (that is you just hit four of a kind). If you do show it, you might not get them to bet into you. Of all the sports I have ever played (yes, poker is a sport and I will cover that in another issue) I think that poker is the only one where you can't show any emotions when you do something well. O.K. maybe chess is one where you can't show too much emotion because you have to concentrate so damn hard...yes, I was on the UCLA chess team. In any case, here is another little bit written by a fellow blogger TAO OF POKER. This was a hand with him and a Suit doing battle at the Borgata.
4:41pm EST... -265. The suit was a calling station. With AA in the BB and three limpers in the pot, I raised to $50, well over 25% of my stack. The suit called and before the last card was dealt on the all rags flop, I pushed my chips all in. He took his time and for the first time all day, my heart jumped out of my stomach while my breathing intensified. I live for those moments. Some folks jump out of airplanes, others climb misty mountain tops, and some party themselves into frenetic highs. The rare instances in my life when I never felt more alive and in the moment... were at poker tables. At 4:41pm EST... that moment was no different. I'll be chasing that high for many days in the future for sure. My heart was thumping harder than Monica Lewinsky rushing down the street to Krispy Kreme first thing in the morning. Sweat was dripping off my face harder than Patrick Ewing at the free throw line. The suit was staring me down. I couldn't decide if I wanted him to call and chase or fold. He took more time before he peeked at his cards one last time, sighed, then folded. I wish he waited a few more seconds. The rush of adrenaline sobered me up and kept me going for the next day or so.
I think it's this rush that people are always in search of. One time at a the Tropicana I lost my cool a bit after almost two hours of junk hands...how can one not get a bit on edge. The one KK I had no one played back at me. So I played one of those good old...no matter what I get next I'm playing till the end. I get delt an Ad5c..I think o.k. I have the Ad in there. All of the sudden the pot gets fat from two raises with 5 people still in...after the flop 5KJ everyone does the double re-raise...I get a piece with a 5d but all five people are still in...I'm still staying to the end I tell myself. The turn bring a miracle 5 and my heart jumps out of my shirt...but I'm putting people one some good hands since no one has jumped ship...I'm looking and a guy limps in...I see his hand shaking and I know I have to raise...I see the shaking of the hand as a sign of weekness, not strength. I pop it up and get reraised....two drop out now it's three handed. The guy fills the two raise (still shaking...there is not much out there for him I figure, but I'm a bit scared I might be reading wrong)...there is a good chunk of change in there but I'm thinking the guy to my left has pocket K or J...but I can't get out now...too much money in the pot and I said, "till the end". The river comes and there it is...the A. I have a low end boat...I check figuring the guy to left to bet...he did...comes around after the guy to my left fills...I say...take her up a notch...I'm sitting there with Da' Nuttzz knowing this is going to be the hand to bring a smile to my face and to pay for my dinner and make my two and half hour drive back to NYC via greyhound worth it. My heart must have been racing about a million miles a second I felt very cold for some reason...almost like there was no life in me but so much life. Everyone is about to turn them over and I call "BOAT" and the two other players peep my baby boat...look and chuck their cards.
I learned a lesson on this hand. I should have let those guys show their hands before I called "Boat" and showed off a bit. Sure it was the only win I got in two hours, but I could have learned a lot by seeing what they had. Did they get three of a kind? Did they have junk? Why did they come down the river with me and with what? I won the hand but lost a lot of information...so although the heart gets going a million miles an hour you always need to remember that in poker one can't dance and jump when in the endzone...as the legendary Bear Bryant of Univ. of Alabama use to tell his boys after they scored a touchdown, "act like you have been there before". This little touch of playing things down will help in the long run and make you a stronger player.