Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Who Needs the Drama?

Man, what a week. I'll bet my blood pressure soared. I'm glad things are calming down somewhat. I gave the flamers their platform, but they tucked tail and ran for cover. Oh, well. I tried. And before anyone accuses me of not really wanting the heat, I'll say once again that the first and only thing that crossed my mind when asking for it, was to get honest, candid responses from people who did not like my writing. No subterfuge, no hint-hint fishing expedition, no plea for compliments. Heck, I can flash my chest and get compliments all day! Har, har.

Anyway, I think I'll leave the comment line open for a week, and then just give up.

Some people assume that I enjoy controversy, that I ask for heat and lap it up. No, I really don't. If that were the case, I'd be embroiled on 2+2 every day. Instead, I've been there for 3.5 years and only involved in maybe a dozen controversial issues. Please feel free to go to the archives and do a nickname search on FeliciaLee. You'll see that even in an environment which has big drama every day, I so rarely get involved that it borders on never.

Also, I try to post good, strategy, theory and psychology posts here. If I truly wanted a lot of drama, I wouldn't bother.

I went through that type of lifestyle for ten years. It was called co-dependency. My stepfather was an alcoholic (no one in my immediate family really drinks). We were definitely thrown for a loop with him. He was a total Jekyll and Hyde personality. My Mom was deeply ensnared (a very addictive personality), and put up with his BS for ten years. My preteen and teenage years were ruined. I became an adult when I was only a child.

This led to co-dependency. Because drama was an everyday occurrence in our household, my psyche became hooked on controversy, and if there was nothing broiling, I had to make something happen. It is a vicious cycle, from which I was finally released in my early twenties.

Freud is my friend, and I believe in a lot of what he had to say. I'm absolutely certain that my choice of Glenn as a husband had to do with Glenn's total lack of drama. He doesn't argue, he doesn't fight. Period. He will not engage in an immature conversation. We can surely disagree, and debate, but he will absolutely not be involved in something childish. We have known each other for ten years now, and never really had some knock-down drag-out argument.

I wanted to be rid of drama, and I was able to seek out someone who refused to engage. Freudian, I'm sure.

There is a difference, however, between someone who refuses to get involved whatsoever, someone who does not back down from heated issues, and a co-dependent. A casual reader might not see the difference between a strong personality and someone hooked on drama. A psychologist or reader who has read 300 posts of mine can see the difference.

I will not back down from controversial issues, and never have. When those two clowns at Four Queens cheated the Razz tournament, I was there the whole way. I kept myself in Roland Waters' face and ranted and raved (Roland was the TD of that event). I told everyone who would listen, I passed the story to dealers, floorpeople and players alike. I kept up on the issue telling the head TD David Lamb and the organizer of the event, Bonnie Damiano the next morning. I pushed and pushed, and finally got the two cheats barred from the Four Queens, as well as Waters fired from the festival. I did all of this not because I had a personal stake in the event (I didn't), but because they were clearly violating every ethic of the TDA and what modern poker is trying to achieve. I felt it was my responsibility to stand up for the future of poker. I did not back down until the issue was resolved.

Was this because I love controversy? Um, no. I barely slept that night, tossing and turning, I was unable to play my A game the next day and lost money on the deal and I felt like I was getting an ulcer. I did not enjoy the experience whatsoever, and was glad to fade back into obscurity days later. We went back to our peaceful, rural little existence, and that was that.

If I could simply turn my brain to the OFF position sometimes, I could write a poker journal that consisted of all strategy, theory and psychology. I could write a book, play the toughest games, make a ton of money, play tournaments and cash games, be seen all over the world and be a "poker superstar," lol. But I don't have that personality. I have the Jungian INTJ head, and the "type A" classification from Friedman.

I can't separate myself from the negative things that go on in life or in the poker world. Does that make me a better person? No. Does that necessarily indicate co-dependency? No. Does that frustrate me to no end? YES!

One thing I love to do is play live. I am able to reduce myself to the lowest common denominator. I get into an almost zen-like mental state. I am hyper-aware of everything that is around me, and as I have said many times, I can usually close my eyes and remember the chip stacks at the table down to the dollar (in white chip games). I can describe everyone at the table as TPP, TAP, LAP or LPP (following Dr. Al's criteria). I know roughly how many hands the dealers is grinding out per hour and habits of every player at my table (attempting angleshooting, calling station, maniac, etc).

The poker room narrows itself down to one thing, one focus. I can be the silent, deadly, stone cold player. I can be the rock. I can be chatty cathy. I can run over the whole table. I can be meek, mild and invisible (this is the case most often, since I play so much O8 and want to fish in the players). I can be a man or a woman.

In this respect, I draw absolutely NO attention or controversy. But if even one guy decides he's going to palm some chips because no one is paying me go absolutely ape.

I remember one incident at the Belle, right before I was kicked out. Someone who was playing there and later found my journal said that I was so utterly outraged that I "scared him." Yes, a MAN actually wrote me an e-mail saying this. Yes, that is how angry I get if even one jackass decides he is going to cheat someone. I don't care if it's one frigging dollar, I'm going to ride your butt like a gay convict in prison for life. I'm going to scream rat and make such a scene that I'M the one who ends up getting banned from the cardroom along with you.

Is this a strength or a weakness? Both. I wish I could control myself, but there is no way, it just ain't gonna happen. Maybe it's the redneck in me, but I'm going to ream you in public.

So here you go, a look into my very, very deepest psyche. In the end, it does come back to poker, doesn't it? Your mental stamina and mental health can make or break you. It can help you develop into a world-class player, or it can keep you from ever becoming a world-class player.

I know where I fit into this equation. Do you?

Felicia :)