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Luck Doesn't Even Out
by Shaun Tobin | Contact   
Friday, 07 March 2008


Don't tell my wife but...

A few years ago I had just finished boning a Super Model who had become disillusioned with dating billionaires and movie stars and had decided to drop down a plethora of levels and slum with a lowly Hollywood Trainer. We were naked, post coital, and standing in front of a mirror. She was truly a physical freak of nature, all natural, and as far as I could see virtually flawless. We were about two weeks into our very physical relationship. I actually liked the woman as a person and yet while I was admiring her in the mirror my overwhelming thought was “So this is it, huh? This is all that everyone is shooting for?”

Even though we, like the Bonobo chimps, base our lives primarily on setting in motion things that will lead to us getting laid, the truth of the matter is that as exhilarating as that activity may be, especially with others you find extremely attractive, even so it is still just one little piece of the proverbial pie.

In many ways Poker has become for me that woman in front of the mirror except that she started out as a rather average looking, neurotic, though interesting young lady and now has been chain-smoking and drinking to excess for half a decade. She’s also borrowed way too much of my own winnings and I’ll probably not stay with her long enough to get back more than a nickel on the dollar.

Which brings me to this: Luck does not even out. If you think it does, or it is bound to, then that reveals more about you personally than it does about the nature of chance. Mostly it shows you have not been around long, have run rather well for that time and possess strong enough character to try and take some responsibility for your own fallibility. I commend you. But in the same way that life will never even out negatively for those of us who have won the genetic lottery, there is even less a chance that these past three years of bad beats will ever even out over the life of my poker experience.

Remember when Antonio headed down to economically down-trodden Costa Rica, drank a lot of booze and implied he took advantage of the economically desperate local girls? I’m a big fan of his poker abilities and he was really young and obviously really dumb when he wrote the Bluff article extolling such sexual predation as ‘good for the soul” but still that’s about the only way most poker players and men in general are ever going to sleep with an incredibly attractive woman. And it’s a whole different experience when they actually enjoy and, perhaps, crave the experience. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe it. And if you did not hit that genetic lottery early there is slim chance it’s going to even out.

How in the world is my poker luck ever going to even out? At one point recently I was 5 of 26 with flopped sets. The former writer of this column didn’t believe me when I told him I was 4 for 17-- and that, looking back, was my “hot streak.” Here’s just one example: I have 5 5 , Villian has K 9 , flop is 5 3 K , series of raises and reraises then he puts me all-in for a $600 pot, it comes K 9 . I lose. Luck will never even out because it will not have the opportunity to do so. I will never get my money in bad enough, often enough, for it to have a chance to even out.

Here’s one from live play, this one from a 1 /2 at The Reno Hilton during last year’s Pot of Gold series. You could sit with an unlimited buy-in. Pots would suddenly escalate from averaging $100 to suddenly $20,000. I was, as usual recently, taking horrendous beats and fattening up the bankrolls of hoards of hoping luck boxes. Finally I trapped some Uber Donk all-in for over $10,000 with my KK vs his JJ on the turn with all four cards on board being unconnected unders. I was so shell-shocked that I asked to run it twice and after explaining what that was he agreed. A Jack came on the first river and the case Jack on the second. He scooped the biggest cash pot I had ever been involved in and he was 988 to 1 against doing so.

I will not play 987 more of those pots in my life much less win them all. Then again it’s probably more than 988 to 1 that most men will ever bone a Super Model and off the charts unlikely that she’d more than just grin and bear it. Such is life.

By the way I appreciate hearing of long runs of negative variance. It helps. I just read Isaac “luvthewnba” Haxton’s blog where he tells of how he ran even, or below break even, in cash games for seven frustrating months straight. That helps me.

My limited PokerTracker stats tell me that of the top ten starting hands I am only showing a profit for AA and that for slightly less than two BB’s. My biggest leak, in terms of bankroll cripling, is flopping sets, though I do crush with K8 sooted! No wonder I’m up slightly less than a WSOP ME buy-in this year. And no wonder I feel the need to share with you my vast manliness and conquests. Such is life.

Thanks for reading--



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