October 01, 2010
Four different folding chairs.
A half dozen mice. At least.
A dozen keyboards. At least.
An Ikea computer desk.
A sliding glass shower door.
A chest of drawers, one drawer at a time.
These are the things I have destroyed in a blind rage during my poker career.Â
Ridiculous? Yes. Immature? Completely. Â Signs of emotional unpreparedness for a profession as volatile as online poker? Â Without doubt. Â But true nevertheless? Sadly, yes.Â
Oh, sure, it started off slow. Maybe just a muttered, "Goddammit" at first, or gritting my teeth tighly. But eventually that wasn't enough to meet my tilt fix. Soon I graduated to the hard stuff. Literally. Physically hard stuff. I remember that chest of drawers being hard as hell.
Of course, I didn't WANT to break stuff when I tilted. I would employ psychological tricks to try to stop myself. Once I went out and bought a fancy seventy dollar wireless mouse. I figured if I had an expensive mouse I would be deterred from breaking it. Turns out I was wrong about myself. Another time I stood in a Best Buy and contemplated buying keyboards three or four at a time, just to save myself a few trips. Frankly, a thought like that should tell you that you have a problem.Â
In the smashing keyboard versus smashing mouse debate, I have to come down in favor of smashing keyboards. Sure, you can hurl a wireless mouse at a wall, and you can swing a wired mouse like the villainess from Kill Bill, but usually you'll just crack the case, maybe send the right-mouse button flying off somewhere. Â But a keyboard, on the other hand . . . a keyboard you can grab by the edge, raise over your head, and overhead slam down hardÂ on a desk and get a really satisfying THWACK, plus the accompanying harmonic overtones of individual keys spraying out across the room and clattering like plastic rain drops. Of course, inevitably you'll miss a couple of those keys when you clean up and you'll only find them when you painfully step on them in bare feet in the middle of the night. Fact.Â
In that period after you smash your keyboard or your mouse but before you drag yourself to the electronics store to replace it, you find ways to make do. I am an expert at using computers using only EITHER a keyboard or a mouse. Keyboard's easier. With a mouse you can only chat with friends online by copy-pasting words and sentences from a website like the New York Times, so I always end up talking to my friends about some oil shortage in Panama. Â I come across as insightful but dull.
Sometimes after a singular bad hand you just smash your fist into your keyboard once and it doesn't break completely but a few keys stop working. I have gone weeks copying and pasting every time I needed to use a letter 'k'. Oftentimes you simply change your word choice. "Sorry if my typing is strange. Â I bro . . . [pause] . . . [backspace][backspace][backspace] . . . damaged my . . . [pause] . . . computer typing board."
I was clearly the leader in overblown violent tilt in our apartment but Jay and Emil would also indulge from time to time. Once, while Jay and Emil were in the middle of a nosebleed downswing, I returned to the apartment from a weekend away to find that our coffee table had disappeared. When I asked Jay what happened, he told me Emil had smashed it to splinters with a baseball bat. Jay had a calm, disinterested look as he told the story, like Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction. "I'm sorry John, I had to crash that Honda." Â
Of course, Jay and Emil had just lost over a million dollars between them and the coffee table was a six dollar find at Goodwill. The sacrifice of the coffee table was pretty well justified. It seemed to provide some catharsis and they both moved on successfully with their lives.Â
A year later Jay and Emil were both on 2 Months, 2 Million and Jay had the idea for a dedicated Tilt Room, a place to vent frustration by smashing fruits with baseball bats. Reactions to the Tilt Room were mixed. Â Some viewers said, "That's so awesome!" Others said, "That's so wasteful!"
I just shook my head. "Watermelons." I thought to myself. "Why didn't I just buy some goddamned watermelons."