February 10, 2011

Mo' Money, Mo' Morals

....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:

http://www.cardrunners.com/blog/internetpokers/the-million-dollar-bet-pt-1 
http://www.cardrunners.com/blog/internetpokers/the-million-dollar-bet-pt-2 

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.

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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. 

Posted By TecmoSuperBowl at 09:35 PM

31 Comments

31 Comments:

bosoxx34 posted on February 10, 2011 at 22:35 PM

Boston-red-sox-logo

Well said, I'm going to be blogging about this in a bit. I have many of the same thoughts.


bellatrix posted on February 10, 2011 at 23:53 PM

Bellatrix

Ah, but I still have some of my best friends from High School. Yes, it was a pain, but we went through it together!

Can't really comment on the other side as I do have a job and play for supplemental income.


OneLastRoll posted on February 11, 2011 at 00:56 AM

Untitled

+1 ur a god riter


TecmoSuperBowl posted on February 11, 2011 at 01:01 AM

Tsbbadugi

icwutudidthere


OneLastRoll posted on February 11, 2011 at 01:04 AM

Untitled

"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"

"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."

This is a phenomenon I've always found so strange. Our pay is determined by performance, and is mentally taxing. We have more incentive to get these things right than 99.9% of the population, yet we don't. Like say you play 6 hours of 2/4-5/10 per day; getting a good nights sleep, going for a 30 minute jog in the morning then eating a good breakfast could net you an extra $200-400/day, just for doing that. Offer that much to anyone, even the 400lb insomniac and they'll find a way to make it work.

The poker player doesn't though. Even though we're so EV conscious.

In reality we should all be chiseled, perfect sleeping, perfect eating, zen, well socialised happy people. We even have the time, money and environment to make it all happen with relative ease. I guess the fact that most aren't shows that the games are still good, and you can gain a lot of edges that people aren't taking advantage of.

Great post btw... as I already said above :)


GingerViking posted on February 11, 2011 at 01:29 AM

Halo2emblem.ashx

First off, good read.

Secondly I agree with you about the money and the bet itself however from what I've read it sounds like Ashton is super focussed and determined guy. Therefore as a friend I wouldn't pull him off the treadmill I would just say the bet's off. From Ashton's POV he wants to do something incredible and win money from it. Therefore if you take away the money you take away part of the victory of winning. Personally if Ashton was dead set on doing this and I was his friend I would do a smaller bet but do it for like even odds. Then Ashton could drop out without losing ~$1M and if he did it he would still feel the glory and victory of completing it and winning decent sum of money. Thoughts?


TecmoSuperBowl posted on February 11, 2011 at 02:26 AM

Tsbbadugi

@OLR very, very good point. Games are good.


TecmoSuperBowl posted on February 11, 2011 at 02:30 AM

Tsbbadugi

@GV a small bet seems like a great idea, but unfortunately it probably wouldn't make it exciting for them.


TecmoSuperBowl posted on February 11, 2011 at 02:38 AM

Tsbbadugi

Per Entity, it seems Ashton's health was not a real issue. However, Haseeb sure thought it was and he did nothing about it except keep his eye on the prize. And if Ashton knew his health would be fine, he basically owned his friend out of tons of $.


DiggerTheDog posted on February 11, 2011 at 04:03 AM

Chuck

I agree - it is the intent that is important.
I can appreciate gambling on things - I can also understand prop bets at a poker table e.g. red/black bets for blinds or w/e.
I think your point about betting large amount of money with friends is hazardous - is a good one.
There are some friendships no amount of money is worth even the smallest risk of losing it.
However, I do not believe it is necessarily a matter of education but I tend to agree it is a matter of maturity.


DosXX posted on February 11, 2011 at 05:38 AM

Lobsteravatar

I think that a lot of this has to do with the scale on which these guys are betting. I'd like to say I'd be a friend first, but when someone wags close to $1mm in your face, I'm sure a lot of people would waver on a lot of their morals.


TecmoSuperBowl posted on February 11, 2011 at 17:22 PM

Tsbbadugi

"However, I do not believe it is necessarily a matter of education but I tend to agree it is a matter of maturity."

I definitely agree. Maturity can come from many areas, be it education, time, or experience. It's clear that the individuals involved aren't mentally equipped to handle their situation.


TecmoSuperBowl posted on February 11, 2011 at 17:24 PM

Tsbbadugi

"when someone wags close to $1mm in your face, I'm sure a lot of people would waver on a lot of their morals."

I agree that many people would make this same mistake. Many people don't value loyalty, friendship, and many other things in life more than money.


corkeye posted on February 13, 2011 at 12:06 PM

468507642_18f2513ddd

These guys, while young etc, are professional gamblers. I actually don't think morals come into play here, as everyone knew what they were doing IMO, as stoopid as the bet actually was. The bet was a mutual agreement. If the other guys had instigated the bet and said "I BET YOU CAN'T RUN 70 MILES IN 24 HOURS ASHTON", and proceeded to rile him into taking it, perhaps that is different.

I must admit it's difficult to quantify the full story, as the blog (and AEJone's) could be swayed 1 way, or miss out vital pieces of the puzzle.

From what i've read no one forced anyone to do anything, Ashton asked everyone if they wanted a piece. They didn't have to say yes.

Haseeb knows Ashton, knows his level of health, his attitude to prop bets, but I think where he went wrong was he probably didn't research hard enough if it's possible. I think Haseeb went by Ashton's previous records of lost prop bets and assumed he'd bitten off more than he could chew.

Ted Forest recently took a ridiculous weight loss prop bet for a ridiculous sum of money, and somehow pulled through.

I must admit, considering that Ashton didn't hardly sleep and had a lot to drink, its an unbelievable thing to complete.


DiggerTheDog posted on February 13, 2011 at 21:47 PM

Chuck

Well if they are a professional gamblers - what is the EV for this bet?
Ashton is a 25/50 regular - what is the BR required for that level? I dont know his net worth - but was it worth risking a potentially large amount of his BR for what - a marginally +EV bet ( if it was) in a discipline that is not his 'profession'.


GingerViking posted on February 14, 2011 at 18:48 PM

Halo2emblem.ashx

Ashton claims it was a lock and that he was 98% sure he could do it.


GingerViking posted on February 14, 2011 at 18:49 PM

Halo2emblem.ashx

since he is the only one that knows his body it was hugely +EV for him


TecmoSuperBowl posted on February 14, 2011 at 18:53 PM

Tsbbadugi

So Ashton basically schooled Haseeb out of what we can only presume (based on his reaction) is a large chunk of his friend's net worth. I don't blame him or Haseeb, but I wouldn't want either of them as my friend.


GingerViking posted on February 14, 2011 at 21:31 PM

Halo2emblem.ashx

Yeh I think if you're going to put it bluntly then Ashton was definitely the one schooling the people that bet against him.


DiggerTheDog posted on February 14, 2011 at 23:38 PM

Chuck

Just because he thinks its a lock does not make it a lock.


GingerViking posted on February 15, 2011 at 08:01 AM

Halo2emblem.ashx

That obviously goes without saying. However he is laying 3-1 so needs to be right 25% or more, and he is 98% sure he can do it. Simple EV calc


TecmoSuperBowl posted on February 22, 2011 at 02:51 AM

Tsbbadugi

Just noticed this comment - if you're laying someone 3:1, you need to be right 75% or more. Not 25%. It is a simple EV calc ;)


GingerViking posted on March 01, 2011 at 13:07 PM

Halo2emblem.ashx

You knew that's what I meant


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