Painless Poker excerpt: The First Noble Truth

“One time I got so tilted playing online, I threw my mouse at the wall as hard as I could.” Charlie thrust both arms out. “Ka-PUSHHH!”

“That’s the sound of money being saved,” I said. “I’m a big believer in mouse smashing as a stop loss strategy.”

Charlie showed surprise, and then laughed. “I guess you’re right. It could be a big EV win, depending on how tilted you are.”

“I have to tell you guys an Alex story.” I grinned. “When I started coaching in ‘04, I had some poker chips made that were red and black, like a $100 casino chip—”

“Like our BS chips?” Charlie said.

“Except these said TILTLESS in the middle. I gave one to each client. And one to Alex. He was playing mostly online at the time. There was one spot on his keyboard, off to the right, where there was a gap in the keys, and there was just enough room for his tiltless chip to nestle in. He kept it there to remind himself to keep his cool, something he has been known to lose.

“One day he went into one of his rages and he smashed his fist down onto the keyboard. The keyboard was killed instantly, but that was a predictable casualty. Even more impressive was that he broke his tiltless chip clean in two.”

“Exquisite irony,” Alf said.

“I forgot the point,” Victor said.

“The point is that pain happens,” I said. “It’s inevitable. And unavoidable. And the only way to end it is to die.”

“Now you’re talking,” said Babs.

“Dang, Tommy,” Charlie said. “And you too, Babs. You guys are morbid.”

“Just being real,” Sonny said. “Shit happens, and then it continues to happen. That’s all they’re saying.”

“It’s like there’s this gigantic bowl of pain soup,” I said. “My problems, and everybody else’s problems are like… alphabet pasta. In the soup. The bowl contains not only all human pain, but all pain experienced by every organism on earth, ever. Wow. That is a lot of pain. Think of it. Countless conscious creatures starve or get eaten to death every day. It’s like the surface of planet earth is nothing but a pain factory. And that, my fellow earthlings, is the environment in which we live.”

Mick was vibrating in his chair, agitated. “So what you’re saying is, we’re fucked.”

 

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