Despite my well-documented enjoyment of poker, and my recent acquisition of a position where I can watch television often, I haven't caught onto the poker-on-tv craze. It seems to be the sort of thing you have to do, rather than watch. The same argument is occasionally made for sports, but I think that one can find a certain aesthetic appeal in, say, a well-done slam dunk, involving the workings and grace of the human body. In other words, jamming looks cool. On the other side, well, nobody ever used the words "grace of the human body" when describing poker.
In a bit of boredom and waiting for something afterwards to come on, I decided to try watching the poker thing. I think I caught a particularly good match (episode? game? I'm not sure how to describe it, because it's certainly not live, and heavily edited to boot.) It featured a woman winning, big, which was cool enough, but also she was an interesting person, crying when she knocked her brother out and having, well, a personality. She also wore t-shirts over colored turtlenecks, which is kind of adorable at a poker table.
Regardless, I think I see the appeal of the poker on the teevee. At a certain level, all sports or competitions feature a "that could be me" aspect - I've played football before! I've driven cars! I've done trivia in bars! - though of the major sports, only soccer really features people who actually look normal in terms of height and build. Poker exponientially increases this. After all, who hasn't won a hand or two of poker, and really, these people are nothing if not normal-looking. Plus there's no real age barrier.
So obviously, I got to thinking that I could be a poker pro. I have three things going for me here:
1. I love games. Video games, obviously, but I'm also a fan of board games and card games. I flourish in contained systems.
2. I'm really, really, really good at paying attention to detail on things that I'm interested in. The rest of the time, not so much, but when I play poker, I've been called "The Conductor" because I make sure everything is on track. (control control control control controlcontrolcontrolcontrolcontrol) I am also good at pattern recognition.
3. If there's one thing which defines my personality, it's that people constantly misinterpret me. They think my jokes aren't jokes. They think my complaints are real. They think I like things that they like, just because I haven't said that I don't.
Of course, there are a few things going against this:
a) If I were good enough to be a pro, I would have won regularly against my friends. In Chicago, I did, true, but at Antioch, I believe that I broke roughly even. It's possible that my poker friends were also really good at poker. It's possible they weren't a good way to measure my abilities. But perhaps I shouldn't bet the farm on, uh, betting the farm.
b) I don't really know how to go about doing it. I mean, I haven't had a regular game in over a year, let alone ever going to a casino. I'm not exactly rolling in dough, either.
c) Being a professional gambler is not exactly appealing to me. On one hand, I'm probably not going to be a rock star, pro soccer player, or a great actor at this point, so my pathways to fame are limited. Not that I really want fame specifically, but nonconsciously, who doesn't? It's poker or public intellectual for me. Yikes. But seriously, having a career of "I'm going to go take other people's money or they'll take my money" seems like it would be unsatisfying. What would I do to make the world better, donate half my winnings to worthy causes? Plus there's the whole dependency-creation aspect of gambling. Don't wanna become an addict.
Like most of my dreams, this one will almost certainly remain unrealized. But who knows? Maybe one day, I'll have a decently padded savings account, and head to a casino, and become a poker superstar. You know, like the guy with the sunglasses. Indoors.