Friday, March 17, 2006

Can You Become a Poker Superstar?

Well, as you can see, my fingers have been blazing a blue streak across the Internet. I have been writing a lot lately, on serious poker subjects.

I told you that lists help keep me accountable, didn't I? So far, I've accomplished this:

1) More Psychology of Poker (finished first two parts; working on 3rd)
2) Third (and final??? Naw, I don't think so!) theory on the demise of Stud
3) Future of Cardrooms
4) Grinding Omaha online (partially finished)
5) Future of tournament poker
6) Narcissism and poker (finished)

This list wasn't made months ago, but just days ago! So I've gotten some real work done.

I've also been playing online almost daily. I have the Stars VIP and deposit bonus working for me. That gives me some incentive (other than making money consistently, that is).

Lately I've been curious about taking a newish player and making him or her into a poker superstar. Not TV star, not tournament star, necessarily, but into a really awesome player.

I could do it to myself. Maybe I could do it to Glenn. But we have been around too long, we are jaded and know too much.

I want fresh, raw meat, lol. I would like to take someone who just know the mechanics of poker, and maybe knows a little bit of strategy naturally, or because he read a book or two. I would like to see if I could turn him into a real star.

If I end up doing this, I would probably hold some kind of contest to choose my victim, err, future star. Definitely these will be mandatory criteria:

1) Must play live
2) Must have an interest in playing games other than Hold'em
3) Must be immune to TV/tournament stardom
4) Must be primarily a cash game player
5) Must have passion for poker

I will probably never find anyone to fit this criteria, but let's fantasize. Let's imagine I do find my perfect subject.

I would probably bankroll him, starting at the lowest limits. I would sweat him online, to see how he handles himself in different cash games, for low stakes. He would send me hand histories, and we would chat on IM about his play, and his philosophy of poker.

If he passes this test, I would either fly him out to Laughlin/Vegas (only 90 miles apart) and sweat him in live action. I would be able to teach him the proper way to hold cards, the proper demeanor at the table, what he should be saying/not be saying, cardroom etiquette, making the most out of comps, table selection, etc.

If he passes this test, I'd move him to other games. Stud, Omaha, Mixed games. I would teach him fixed limit, spread limit, pot-limit and no-limit. I would teach him to adjust to each player type, and conquer all poker personalities (LAP, LPP, TPP, TAP). We would talk poker theory and personal life outside of poker.

I would likely stake him in a few small buy-in tourneys to see how he reacts to the increasing pressure of this type of contest. We would do book studies together and travel to a few of the bigger festivals, to check out side-game action, and how to make the most of side games during big events, when players are steaming and spewing chips.

Okay, so I could go on forever. This is a big interest that I have, and might someday attempt.

I, personally, don't have the passion to make myself into the next Cissy Bottoms. But I do believe that I have the ability to make someone else a superstar. Of course, I'll never know until I try, so you might expect a post looking for "volunteers" shortly.

Felicia :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Learn to Act Like a Loser

Psychology of Poker (Part Two)

Do you remember my last psychology post? The one where I talked about getting into the mind of a fish?

At the beginning of that post, I ticked off some key elements that I incorporate into my game which helps me to stay in control at the poker table. The first one is that I always downplay my skill.

(This is more geared towards cash play, because it often behooves us to appear as professionals during tournaments but that post is a different subject, for a different time.)

I guess I should say "almost" always, because there is a time and place to get into the act of the braggart in order to control the table and put other players on tilt. But for the most part, I like to stay very incognito.

I don't believe that anyone should be "required" to put on a big song and dance at the poker table. Sometimes, if the "acting" doesn't come naturally, one can put so much work into the routine, that he has lost his ability to play poker correctly. This is usually a mistake. If playing good poker doesn't seem "easy," then probably something is wrong. There just aren't that many decisions to be made. So if having an elaborate act in the poker room is stressful, and causing one not to play good poker, I think one should reevaluate his act and tone it down somewhat.

Something that I tend to do almost always is to downplay any skill that I have. I don't let this become such a charade that it takes over my life, but I do try to remain inconspicuous at most tables.

Being a woman, I can go about my image in the poker room one of three ways:

1) Dress up, flirt, get attention, have male players make mistakes against me
2) Dress down, be so "invisible" that most men think I'm also a man
3) Play straight up, neither dressing up nor down, but appearing as "plain" as I can be

I usually choose option #3. I am still thought of as a man by some players, but probably most know that I'm a woman. I try to remain quiet and small. I like it when I come across a table where the men try to crowd me out of my space, so that I am more and more shrunken. I don't talk, I don't try to gain any attention. I usually just put my bets and raises out with one, silent motion. I'm the tiny, little mouse who crept up and stole their cheese.

Sometimes being the church mouse isn't the proper strategy at a particular table. My cover can be blown by players who know me, by cardroom staff, or it can just be a circumstance where I need to be more conspicuous. When that happens, I tend to change my act as follows:

I get a couple of seat cushions. I sit on my knees to appear larger. I take up more space to the sides than normal (but don't cross boundaries). I tend to lean over the table, making my presence and domination of the table evident. I talk in a clear, booming voice, making myself heard and firm during every action. I rarely check or call, but tend to bet and raise most often.

In the past, I have tried #1 a couple of times, but that act is not for me. I don't want male attention or softplay. I don't want to be flirted with. It bothers my concentration too much and my game suffers. It's just not my shtick.

In a game where schooling can be devastating in the short term, I tend to try #2. I would rather be thought of as a man, and get a few folds when I need them. I don't usually speak.

In fact, I don't speak much while playing poker, ever. Sometimes if I'm playing with friends I gab endlessly. If someone engages me in conversation and it is in my best interest to talk to him, I will, but compared to the type of person I am in everyday life, and the way my fingers blaze a trail across the Internet, I am relatively silent.

Okay, moving on to an overall, winning act. Losers usually talk about how much they win, or how great they play. Winners usually say nothing, or downplay their ability.

Sure, there is a time and a place when good or great players should actually brag about their ability, but for the most part, they don't, and they shouldn't.

Why would you want anyone to know you are good? Why would you want your opponents to play better against you? Only those with frail, low self esteem and egos would want that acknowledgment at the tables. Don't let opponents know that you have any poker knowledge above theirs. Commiserate with them, be a peer to them, don't try to run them off with your "superior poker prowess."

If this doesn't come naturally to you, just sit quietly. Don't let them get a bead on you one way or another. You shouldn't feel the need to let everyone know that you were a 4:1 favorite during the last hand, and that you KNOW you were a 4:1 favorite. Who do you think you are going to impress? The best thing that can happen is that they will all roll their eyes at each other and ignore you. The worst is that they'll play better against you. Why risk it?

When I buy-in, I usually only buy enough chips to cover the minimum buy-in, maybe even less. The rest of my buy-in is under my chips. The typical poker psychological ploy is to come in looking like you are a winner, that you have a big stack, that you can't be bullied, but you just might be bullying everyone else around. You dominate this table, you own it.

Some men need this ploy. It has become more comfortable to them than an old pair of underwear. They only feel on top of their game if they have a lot of chips. They arrange them in all different ways, from soaring towers, to the standard 20-chip stacks, neatly lined up.

This security blanket is needed more for men than for women. If a player KNOWS that it's a psychological trick, and doesn't buy into it, then it is unnecessary. Furthermore, if other players don't buy into it, it is worthless and can cost a good player some money, because their weapons aren't effective. They are shooting blanks.

Since I am a woman, I don't need a lot of chips. First off, even if I thought it might work in my favor against my opponents, I would have to reevaluate that stance, being a woman, because it doesn't. I get all the action I need. I get excessive action. I could have 95% of all of the chips on the entire table, and men would still be fighting amongst themselves to bust me. That is just the way it is with women, in most cardrooms. Having some faux facade of big stacks to bully with just doesn't work for us.

Instead, I have very few chips, and can move easily. I move all the time, to gain better position, or to get into a better game. I don't have to miss hands by moving my three racks, lol.

This also makes men think they can put me off of hands. It is amazing the number of men who forget that cash plays in most cardrooms. So it can be to my advantage during a big hand, if they try to put me off of it with nothing, a pure bluff, and I casually whip out a stack of hundreds. The bluff backfired.

When it is important for these types of men to know that I am deep, it is easy to make it well known. This isn't rocket science. If it is to my advantage to keep the pot shorthanded, making my depth known to the table is no big task.

Most of the time, however, it is to my advantage to appear short stacked.

Moving on to the next point, I never tell anyone that I'm winning for the day. When asked, I hang my head, point at my chips and mumble, "I'm just trying to get even." Even if I amass a lot of chips, I'll reply with a story about having lost my whole buy-in earlier at another table, or some other kind of nonsense to downplay that I'm running well.

As often as I can, I try to inconspicuously color up. I'll buy bills off of players, I'll color up to a higher denomination of chips, I'll casually rack up ones for fives, fives for quarters, quarters for blacks. I try to keep as little clutter in front of me as possible, downplaying my wins.

I will come up with any believable, feasible story I can when pressed about winning. I always say that I just got lucky, I never admit to playing well. I can tell huge lies at the table, if it means that I keep the fish happy, smiling and throwing their chips around. I never want the game to go silent, or get tight. I don't want to see a fish rack up. This can take a lot of maneuvering on my part in Omaha! The one game that is known for a bunch of grumpy nits. Mostly I just sit quiet, but if things are going really well, I can put on a big song and dance.

There is a time and place to let other players know that you actually know what you're doing. There is a time when being outed as a 2+2er, or someone who has been in Card Player is a positive thing for you. These times, however, are few and far between. Most of the time, you want to appear like a recreational, losing player.

Don't sit and shuffle your chips, showing off your chip tricks at the table. This will NOT get you respect, this will only make the game tougher. Do not wing your cards elaborately at the dealer. Do not reel off statistic after statistic. Do not tell your opponents how you play.

You want them to think of you as one of THEM, not as a pro. If you can't get into an easy act, then the best thing to do is sit quietly. You can fiddle with your chips or cards, but don't build the Roman coliseum or impress your neighbors with the two-handed twenty chip simutaneous cross shuffle.

Learn to act like a loser. Your pocket book will thank you later.

Felicia :)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Cleve and the Riverside

Well, just as soon as I decide I'm invincible (mild winter+flu shot+pneumonia shot) I come down with a cold.

What better time is there to write my Tolkien behemoth than when I'm drunk on Nyquil and hacking up a lung? Okay, nix the Tolkien. I'll try to keep it short and sweet with a fun story.

Last night we went to the Riverside for some juicy 2-6 O8 fun. I am very careful in cardrooms, always washing my hands as many times as I can. I try not to use my hands to eat with, after having touched the table, cards and chips. Guess I wasn't doing a good enough job, because I woke up in the middle of the night with a cough.

Anyway, I don't write about the RS enough, and I should, because it is definitely the funniest place to play. There are enough stories to fill a book in that place. Even though it has cleaned up somewhat, with the gaming commission cracking down on them and the removal of Bear et al, things just don't get much crazier than the RS, for it's size.

Last night Cleve was playing with us. He gets fed up with O8 at times and refuses to play. Then he comes back. He always comes back. He is not your typical happy-go-lucky tourist. He is unhappy when he wins, unhappy when he loses. I never really realized just how unhappy of a guy he is until last week when Glenn left the table for a good HE game and Cleve said, "Good! I'm glad he's gone! I don't like him!"

Anyone who has ever met Glenn or had dealings with him knows that it is almost impossible to dislike Glenn. He is the most easygoing guy on the planet. This is when I knew Cleve was truly unhappy.

So last night Cleve was sitting by me. The game got a little tight, for O8, and Cleve was complaining about it. He was pointing to each player, "He doesn't play, she doesn't play, he won't play..." because we don't play every hand like Cleve. He hates it that some players will fold before the flop, and always expresses his dislike for this practice. So I volunteered, "Oh, you want someone to play every hand pre-flop? Okay, I'll do it, I'll be your guy." And I did.

Of course, I ended up outdrawing Cleve by this practice, and won a decent pot off of him (top and bottom pair, checked on flop, turned into a full-house on turn).

Cleve wasn't so happy that I decided to play every hand after all. As soon as another seat opened (across the table from me in the two seat, I was in the nine), Cleve asked for a seat change. LOL, poor Cleve. So much for wishing outloud, you may just get what you ask for.

Okay, it's time for me to try to get in a nap, if I can just keep from coughing up a lung in the next couple of hours. Hope you enjoyed the story.

Felicia :)

Monday, March 13, 2006

New Look

Had to change the pic. Shaved off my hair again, and allowing it to go back to it's natural color (brown & gray).

This is not a current pic, btw, it's just the closest to the hair style I have now. I need to develop some current pics, I've aged at least 10 years from the one above and I'm still really bloated from the steroids (maybe I need to diet, lol!).

Felicia :)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Poker and Narcissism

A while back I posted a poll that I'd found online regarding narcissism. Shockingly, I only got one comment. Many posters IM'd me with their own, personal score, but most readers were scared to talk about their results.

I have always believed that successful poker players must have a selfish streak in their personalities. We must lack empathy in order to make the most of our wins. People who write about poker seem to back this theory up. Dr. Al, for instance, and Barry.

A personality type like an ESFP (strong in each category), for instance, could probably never make it, long term, in the professional poker world (there are many exceptions, I'm sure). Here are some attributes of ESFP's:

"outgoing, social, group oriented, does not like to be alone, feels at ease around others, conventional, talkative, modest, good at getting people to have fun, values relationships and family over intellectual pursuits, open, spontaneous, underachieving, at times unprepared, emotional, suggestible, at times easy to impress, not analytical, disorganized, prone to crying, likes to be center of attention, happy, trusts others, can be influenced more by others than self, can be touchy feely, feels the emotions of others, likes teamwork, guided by moods"

As you can see, this person is just a disaster waiting to happen at the poker tables.

The more unique, and stronger personality type of an INTJ, however, fits like a glove at more serious minded poker:

"loner, more interested in intellectual pursuits than relationships or family, not very altruistic, not very complimentary, would rather be friendless than jobless, observer, values solitude, perfectionist, detached, private, not much fun, hidden, skeptical, does not tend to like most people, socially uncomfortable, unhappy, does not talk about feelings, hard to impress, analytical, likes esoteric things, tends to be pessimistic, not spontaneous, prone to discontentment, guarded, does not think they are weird but others do, responsible, can be insensitive or ambivalent to the misfortunes of others, orderly, clean, organized, familiar with darkside, suspicious of others, can be lonely, rarely shows anger, punctual, finisher, prepared"

It is not a hard stretch to see that someone like an INTJ would have narcissistic traits. I certainly do. I answered the poll honestly, and publicly, so everyone knows exactly where I stand. It wasn't even that hard for me to do, but then again, a narcissist wouldn't mind everyone knowing about it, would he? ;)

So what narcissistic tendencies and traits would benefit a poker player? And which would hurt him, as well?

Here is a good definition of the type of psychological narcissism that I'm discussing (traits that would benefit a poker player are in bold):

"A pattern of traits and behaviours which signify infatuation and obsession with one's self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition."

Even a blind mouse could find the similarities to this and the personality type needed to be extremely successful in poker.

This does not mean, however, that a personality lacking in narcissistic traits cannot be a hugely successful poker player. It also does not mean that a giving, compassionate human being is incapable of having strong narcissistic traits (Barry Greenstein). I do contend that most serious, winning players have at least one, if not many narcissistic tendencies, but it is not 100% necessary to have them, and be successful.

Online poker has shown us that some weaker personality types can be big winners. Chat can be turned off, one does not have to "face" his opponent in order to make that bet, raise or bluff. A personality that has no narcissistic traits at all could survive online, if he works hard enough and recognizes his weaknesses. I know many successful, online players who lack the "killer instinct," yet get eaten alive in B&M play.

Just because one may have narcissistic traits, does not mean he is a narcissist. Since most of you are too scared to even address this possibility, I will use myself as an example. For instance, from the recent poll I posted:


I answered yes to this question. But a true narcissist could never admit that he is not the best, not the smartest. I can admit that I'm not. So while I have this, particular trait, it is not to the extent of a real narcissist.


This is a no-brainer. It is almost necessary in big bet, serious poker.



So although I fit these traits almost to a tee, where are the other seventeen? Well, I don't have them to the extent of clinical narcissism. Some of the top players might have more tendencies than I do, some might have less. I am not positive if any top players are true, clinical narcissists.

Some other traits I found online that are almost necessary for successful, long term players are (IMO):

--Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends
--Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others

Some interesting statistics about narcissism which help illuminate the make-up of an individual player, as well as that of a typical cardroom are as follows:

--Most narcissists (75%) are men.
--It is estimated that 0.7-1% of the general population suffer from NPD.
--Narcissists are either "Cerebral" (derive their narcissistic supply from their intelligence or academic achievements) - or "Somatic" (derive their narcissistic supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and "conquests").

(Obviously I am only interested in "Cerebral" narcissists.)

Addressing those three traits, first I would estimate that up to 90% of most live cardrooms are male populated (in some areas less, some more). Online, however, female players are a much higher percentage. Again, the lack of narcissistic traits and the killer instinct does not hurt an online player as much as a live player. Combine that with the fact that almost no females are of the INTJ or INTP personality type, and I think we've got more than a coincidence.

Second, if only .7-1% of the general population have NPD, I would bet my last dollar that of the top 1000 poker players today, this percentile is greatly multiplied.

Third, I don't know any somatic narcissists, but am speaking exclusively of the cerebral variety. Listening to the way some of the top players talk about themselves, I'm almost certain there must be a few cerebral narcissists out there, and plenty more players with heavy tendencies.

So after reading all of this, what if you find yourself with almost no narcissistic traits, and a weaker personality type like ESFP? Do I make a blanket statement to you and just say to quit poker? No, although that might be the right answer if you find yourself losing, and not being so happy about it (eg, not a recreational player who expects to lose).

In today's cardrooms, both B&M and online, there is a place for just about everyone. We are lucky to be living in the age of extremely live games.

Some of the Two Plus Two books go through player type and how well they will fit a certain game. Since I am of the Two Plus Two mindset, I'm not hesitant about directing players towards a certain game, depending on their personality types and skillset.

If you are of a weaker personality type, you might do better online than live. If you are a tight, passive player, a game like limit Omaha 8 will be just the ticket for you. Other players WILL bet your hand for you, and you can even be a long-term winner with that strategy. That being said, you will probably need to stay in the lower limits, from 10/20 down to 2/4 live, and from 1/2 down to micros online.

If you are relatively tight, but tend to be a calling station (sometimes referred to as weak/tight), you probably will want to stick to online play exclusively, or never play higher than 2/4 live. The right game for you might be Stud (high only).

The weaker the personality type, the less abuse he is most likely to be able to withstand. That is where internet poker comes in. The chat can be disabled, and even the weakest, timid personality types can survive.

While individual statistics can prove just about anything, I am pretty convinced that narcissism tendencies play a big part in successful poker players. Over the years, I have just seen too much overwhelming evidence of this.

Now, having written all of this, who do I think will benefit from it? Well, I do believe more successful, serious minded players may have some illumination about their winnings and how their personality type may play a roll in those winnings. They might also be reassured about moving up levels, trusting that they really can win in the long term (but they probably already knew that, anyway).

Weak players with weak personality types and no traits of narcissism? Well, I don't have to say much. They don't have the will to win. They don't have the killer instinct. But they will not stop playing. This post or others like it (see Two Plus Two Psychology or the FYI poker psychology site, for example) will not deter them from losing. They will continue to play, and continue to lament their "bad luck." They need something, an outlet. If it weren't poker, it would be slots or something else. They have a mindset that they need to spend a certain amount of money on something every week, recreationally, and they will not heed any warnings.

While this, in and of itself, is not a horrible thing, those of us who are winners need to keep it in mind that the weaker players will get taken advantage of, sometimes badly.

We cannot get into the middle of these situations. As much as we might want to, we cannot constantly warn the fish not to lend money to Joe-Broke. The fish are determined to lose and be taken advantage of. They will not listen to our warnings, and we will only create frustration that is not warranted, among all parties involved. (Stealing, however, is another matter, and we have an ethical obligation to protect the fish from those circumstances.)

Any sympathy or empathy that we might feel for the fish needs to be completely killed when we enter the cardroom. There is no gain to "checking it down" against a live one. Soft play and implicit collusion will only get us in trouble, and will absolutely not "help" the fish at all. Trying to be the table coach will make us hated among our peers, while the fish will not benefit in any way whatsoever. Do not lend the fish money, do not give them pointers or tips, and do not "feel sorry" for them. They came to play, and lose, and you are helping them achieve their goals. They may tell you that they want to win, they may try to lie to you and convince you that they are winning players, but you know the truth, although you sit and smile and commiserate with them.

You cannot help the fish become a winner, but you also, in turn, should never berate the fish. For more explanation on that theme, please refer to my psychology post, "Learn to Think Like a Fish."

Felicia :)

It Snowed in Golden Valley!

For the past few days, I've mostly been doing things other than writing. I go through periods of not writing at all, and them come back to writing like mad.

We woke up to snow this morning! The first we've ever seen in Golden Valley. This is our third winter, but the first with even a hint of the white stuff. It's already gone, and it's only 10am. Glenn built a temporary cover, to protect our strawberries, onions and sweet peppers, but I doubt they will survive. Potted plants, however, were safe and warm in the kitchen.

Since I've never been a "real" writer, har har, and should leave it to the "professionals," har har, I don't feel guilty about this ragged, binge-and-purge writing schedule.

I also tend to go through phases of playing many hours online, followed by not playing for weeks, even months. Like I've said so many times, I've never been much of an online player, preferring live cardrooms instead. Oddly enough, I've always made money online. In terms of big bets (or big blinds in PL/NL poker), I've earned a lot more online than live. Unfortunately, I just don't care for it enough to make it a career. I'm stupid that way. I can't turn off my mind and force myself to do it . If I would sit and grind online for ten hours, multi-tabling, I would be burnt out in a week and probably never play online again. If I could just force myself to think of it as a job, and do what I need to do, I would be a lot happier within the poker world. I could sit and play multiple tables of NLHE or LHE like a trained monkey and make a lot of money. Of course, probably all of my poker passion would die in one stroke. Then again, a person with passion probably (and I do mean probably, since I don't know for sure), would never want to sit and grind away to make a "decent" living at online poker. Oh, what a catch-22.

At any rate, I have tried pretty much every variation of poker online (yes, this even includes obscure games like Pan, Chinese, double draw lowball, etc) and for whatever reason, the only one I can tolerate to play consistently, without losing my marbles, is Omaha. I can play limit or pot-limit, 8-or better or PLO high only. I can't do it for 40 hours per week, but I can do it here and there and make some scratch. And by scratch, I do mean scratch! The highest limits I've played thus far are 1/2 blind PLO8. So I'm not talking a new Ferrari here. I can't even afford a Yugo with the scratch I'm making.

I started writing up a post about narcissism and poker. Unfortunately, I can't seem to tie it up, or make it flow. That sometimes happens when I use a ton of quotes and references. I did release it to about a dozen "friends," to proofread it, but for now, it's sitting on the editing floor, just waiting for me to do something with it.

I need to stay focused on the 2nd in the "psychology of poker" series. I was amazed that the "learn to think like a fish" post went over so well. It's odd, some posts get flamed to hell and back, and other posts get all positive feedback. I just never know which way it's going to go. Sometimes when I post something that feels benign to me, I get hate mail day and night. I think the key to getting flamed lies in the self confidence of the flamer. Most likely, people with very low self esteem feel like I must be talking to them, personally. So they have an overwhelming need to strike back, thinking everyone will know I'm addressing him or her. I don't believe they stop to think that I'm talking mostly in generalizations, or even to myself. They feel they were being personally attacked, so they assume they must fight fire with fire.

If one felt that they were being personally pointed out in a post by another individual, they could react in the following ways:

1) ignore it, just laugh it off (this assuming that the attack is not directly libelous or would expose the flamee in some way, like posting their home address)
2) flame the poster, publicly on his/her site
3) write hate mail and/or try to anonymously flame the poster without giving their identity away

I would think that a person with high self esteem, would probably never assume that someone is speaking to him, personally. Correctly or incorrectly, he feels that he is "above" petty little ploys for attention by said writer. Unless the writer uses his name directly, or makes it extremely clear that he is attacking one, particular person, he probably wouldn't care one way or the other. If the writer makes it perfectly clear, however, the attacked individual might address it briefly on his/her own personal site, and then move on. He is self confident enough to take what the writer says into consideration, weigh whether or not the writer could be correct (or at least partially correct), and perhaps change his behavior somewhat, or decide the writer is simply griping just to have something to gripe about, and go on with his life.

I have both ignored flames by others, and addressed them. Sometimes the flamer is partially correct, and anonymous or not, I make a note of it to correct my own behavior. I also try to always apologize on my site, to publicly admit that I was wrong, and that I will try to watch myself more carefully in the future.

A person who feels guilty, or suffers from a lack of self confidence, is usually #2. He has the balls to copy & paste writing from someone else's website, and then go on to read into it what he wants to read, so that he can call the writer out, flame the writer and try to get something started. This person usually is guilty of the very thing/s he accuses the flamee of. This is a common phenomenon. It has been proven throughout history, that those who are guilty themselves, often shout the loudest about the guilt of others (eg, those who steal, often feel that others are trying to steal from them).

The anonymous flamer is similar to #2, in the fact that somehow he feels that he is being picked on, or singled out. He does not, however, even have the balls to address his flame publicly, preferring instead to hide behind an anonymous e-mail address or nickname. He, probably the most out of the three, has the very lowest self confidence. His life is likely pretty miserable, so he wants everyone to be as unhappy as him. He is the typical internet troll.

In that vein, I do feel that I've actually made at least somewhat of a contribution today. These three personality types can be directly cross-posted to poker traits. And, oddly enough, the one reason I feel that I have lots of narcissistic traits, but am not a true narcissist, is because I'm typically #1. I don't automatically think that someone is "out to get me," and even if I get the suspicion that they are, I simply don't care enough to bother much with them. For instance, a true narcissist would call up a friend after attending some function and demand, "After I left, did they talk about me? What did they say?" I, on the other hand, could not care less that people talk about me, and I never want to know what was said in my absence. I just never really think about it. Sure, everyone gets gossiped about, that seems to be a worldly sin, but I don't care enough about what they think of me to bother to find out! I don't gossip about others, and don't really care one way or another if they gossip about me. The one thing you will never hear from me if I write or IM you is, "After I left, what did they say about me?"

Borrowing a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:

"People with small minds talk about people.
People with average minds talk about events.
People with great minds talk about ideas."

So now, how do I wrap this up? Well, I'll do something that I know you all hate. Leave you with a list of things yet to be done, with no promise of when they will be done, lol. I'm horrible about that. I hate it when other people do it, and I hate it when I do it. But I do know one thing, the only way I'll feel obligated to get it done is if I publicly post that I WILL do it!

1) More Psychology of Poker
2) Third (and final??? Naw, I don't think so!) theory on the demise of Stud
3) Future of Cardrooms
4) Grinding Omaha online (partially finished)
5) Future of tournament poker
6) Narcissism and poker (mostly finished)

Felicia :)