Many of my conversations with my buddy Alex begin similarly:
Hi. Whatsup. How you doing.
It doesn’t matter who starts the initial hellos. All that matters is who ends them. If I start talking next, the conversation can start anywhere and go anywhere. If Alex starts talking next, it goes like this:
HIM: … sigh … I got my money in with the best of it 4 out of the last 5 big pots, and lost them all but one.
ME: So how much are you ahead?
See, he always starts out with a negative report of some kind. Every single time. When he tells me about a hand, it’s always a hand he lost. And when it comes to patterns in the data, it’s like this: He might be in the middle of his best session of the year, and he will extract losing stats. Alex can change black into red.
Sometimes, seriously though, its hurts to hear it. He really gets himself worked up over absolutely nothing. And the sick part is, he knows it. He knows it’s 100% mind clatter. He knows he can … poof … make it go away, and he knows exactly how.
One day I was thinking about Alex and I thought man it’d be nice if I could come up with a gimmick or something that worked like a faucet. If only I could turn off the flow of sewage going through his mind and out his mouth, just for a few seconds now and then. Hmmm. Okay! I have it! What is the source of his suffering? It’s the thinking he does about bits of negative cash flow. So I’ll just offer him positive cash flow, to think about positive cash flow! I’ll pay him money every time he tells me about a hand he won. This is brilliant! And it’s guaranteed to work. There is no way he can be in the middle of telling me about a pot he won, while at exactly the same time be dwelling in misery and woe over a pot he lost.
Just one problem. It wouldn’t work. Well, it wouldn’t work at a price that I was willing to pay. Which is entirely the point of all this. How many dollars would it take to get Alex to tell a good win story? I was in position to force him to put a price on his addiction to his pain.
What I really wanted to do, besides tighten the faucet if possible, was to show him what he already knows – that he’s a total fucking moron for suffering like he does.
So here’s the deal I offered.
“I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“Every time you tell me about a hand you’ve won, I will pay you $10.”
::: suspicious silence from Alex :::
I continued on…
“And there’s more. You can just tell the hands to my voice mail. As many as you want. And you can tell them real fast, like, “I had pocket aces and won.” That would count as a hand.”
At this point, a frenzy was mounting, as we both realized how completely Alex was in the process of being had.
“And, if you want, you can just make up the hands. You don’t even have to have played them. The bottom line is – for every hand you tell me about that ends with you winning the pot, I will pay you $10. If you tell me 100 hands, I will pay you $1,000 cash.”
It was a couple months ago that I made this offer. I’m still even.