February 10, 2011
....wait, that's not how it goes...
Before reading this blog, you'll need to read the following if you haven't already done so:
I commend Haseeb on his writing skills as I was certainly eager to read each paragraph faster and faster. The story is a fun read and makes me think about the poker community as a whole. It also makes me glad that I happen to live a normal life, with proper priorities and morals (imo).
Warning: the following may offend some of you.
The poker community, as I see it, has plenty of pros and cons. Some of the pros are the trusting nature of most people in it, the willingness to help others in need, and a diversity that helps everyone. DC's community is but a small subset of the poker community and I couldn't be more proud to be within that subset. I liken DC to college (uni for you foreigners ;) ) and 2p2 to high school. I couldn't wait to get out of high school because of the idiot to intelligent ratio. 2p2 seems filled with young kids who have nothing better to do than participate in flaming others at every opportunity, +1-ing or [ ] standard-ing posts, and overall just being what they are - young, immature kids.
DC, however, seems filled with a more mature crowd, specializing in various professions and actually posting coherent messages. There are of course some who would seem more at home at 2p2, but we all hope that they either adapt or leave. In a recent thread, after posting a well-thought out response, I was actually surprised to see the guy say "if people just would have +1'ed or -1'ed, things would be better." He was also quickly offended when it was pointed out that his grammar, spelling, and sentence structure left something to be desired.* What some fail to realize is how helpful writing properly can be for everyone involved, including yourself. Everything is easier to read when it is written in a standard format that your brain is used to seeing. If more people took the time to write things out, review what they wrote, and possibly even research (gasp!) the rules or spelling of certain words, many people would benefit. The more you see the word definite spelled correctly, the better chance there is that you spell it correctly the next time. I pick that one in particular because I see it misspelled so, so often. As a trick, just remember that the word 'finite' is definitely in there ;)
* - I don't expect anyone, myself included, to write perfectly. We all make mistakes, and many people's first language isn't English.
Wow. I got way off track there from my original topic. The point I was trying to make was that there are many good things in the poker community. There are also some very unhealthy habits found here. If you're a poker pro, chances are you have many of these problems: a horrible sleep schedule, you get less exercise than you should, eat horribly, have poor social skills, drink too much, you get absorbed into an immature culture and don't have the self-confidence to stand out on your own, you handle your finances very poorly, and/or personal hygiene is.....let's go with lacking. Now - let's be honest. Many people have these same problems and don't even know if a straight beats a flush. I just feel like many of these issues would be detected with higher frequency in a random sample of the poker community as opposed to the standard population.
In the instance of this now infamous prop bet, many of the issues I listed were easily detected. To me, it seemed as if Ashton was experiencing a time in his life where he was desperately in need of a friend. Someone who could sit him down and prevent him from spiraling out of control. Even if there was only a 1% chance you could stop him, a true friend would take those odds. Haseeb assumed 2 things: that he couldn't stop him and that someone else would take the bet 100% of the time. I disagree with both. If I thought my friend was going downhill mentally, I wouldn't rationalize an effort to extort money out of him. I would do everything in my power to help him. If you told me there was a ZERO % chance that I could stop him, I would still try. That's what you're supposed to do for a friend. You're there for him when he needs you, regardless of all other factors. Haseeb can rationalize his actions however he wants, but the guilt he felt during the bet is an easy indicator of the right path and the wrong path. If you feel like shit for doing something, chances are you didn't do the right thing. And you know what you can do, especially in this situation? YOU CAN CHANGE IT. You can march into that gym, tell him the bet is off, that the idea was crazy, and you care more about him than the $. If you two truly are friends, YOU CAN DROP THE BET. IT'S NOT A BIG DEAL. YOUR BALLS WON'T SHRINK. But no, Haseeb was blinded by EV glasses. I'm not here to crush him for his decision as everyone makes mistakes, but anyone with a sense of normalcy can tell that Haseeb valued the $ more than anything else. He saw an opportunity and he took it. He would be wise to listen to Ursula. She sounded like a mature adult and knew that the pain Haseeb went through was a necessary pain. I hope that he learns from it.
As for Ashton, who knows, maybe he wasn't out of control at all. Maybe he knew he could do this bet and suckered Haseeb into the bet. The problem lies in that he likely wasn't thinking clearly so even if HE thought he could do it, it was by no means a lock. If in fact his health was in danger at all, it was a silly thing to do. If he wasn't in danger and knew he could do it, he just suckered a good friend out of a large chunk of his net worth (speculation, I obviously don't know this for sure, only assuming based on his repeated words in his blog). What kind of a friend swindles you out of a painful amount of $? Even poker players, who by nature play a game where you take someone's money, can have a sense of moral decency. You don't play someone HU for the food of their children. You play someone for an expendable amount of income. Of course, it's not your responsibility to know how much the $ means to someone, but if you consider yourself a friend of that person and know that winning a bet will hurt them, you shouldn't take that bet.
Clearly I don't know all the details. Many factors can sway things a little in each direction. What I do know is that Haseeb felt guilty for a reason. I know that Ashton's parents were concerned for a reason. I know that this whole situation showcases many of the faults in the poker community. Luckily, things worked out in the end. I'm willing to bet many others could learn a great deal from this situation. I'm hoping people don't just read it and move on. I hope they realize that each of us as human beings have a responsibility to our fellow man, woman, animal, etc. We are all so very lucky to be playing this game. I'm going to say that again. We are ALL so very LUCKY to be playing this GAME. If you are lucky enough to have made a decent clip from this game, please do everyone a favor and get your priorities straight. I urge you to look into a charity that is close to your heart. At the very least, don't spend $285,000 trying to swindle your friend who might actually experience health problems in the process.