published almost 4 years ago
Many of my conversations with my buddy Alex begin similarly:
Hi. Whatsup. How you doing.
It doesnâ€™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: â€¦ sighâ€¦ 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, itâ€™s always a hand he lost. And when it comes to patterns in the data, itâ€™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, itâ€™s hurts to hear it. He really gets himself worked up over absolutely nothing. And the sick part is, he knows it. He knows itâ€™s 100% mind clatter. He knows he can â€¦ poof â€¦ make it go away, and he knows exactly how.
One day I was thinking about Alex and I thought man itâ€™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? Itâ€™s the thinking he does about bits of negative cash flow. So Iâ€™ll just offer him positive cash flow, to think about positive cash flow! Iâ€™ll pay him money every time he tells me about a hand he won. This is brilliant! And itâ€™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 wouldnâ€™t work. Well, it wouldnâ€™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 â€“ that heâ€™s a total fucking moron for suffering like he does.
So hereâ€™s the deal I offered.
â€œIâ€™m going to make you an offer you canâ€™t refuse.â€
â€œLetâ€™s hear it.â€
â€œEvery time you tell me about a hand youâ€™ve won, I will pay you $10.â€
::: suspicious silence from alex :::
I continued onâ€¦
â€œAnd thereâ€™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, â€œI had pocket aces and won.â€ That would be a whole hand.â€
At this point, a frenzy was mounting, as we both realized how completely had Alex was in the process of being.
â€œAnd, if you want, you can just make up the hands. You donâ€™t even have to have played them. The bottom line is â€“ 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. Iâ€™m still even.