Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Poker Ethos, Part Whatever...

Was reading with some interest the latest post by Shamu the Killer Poker Blogger, called "The Wrong Focus (Another Cheating Pro)". In this case, Shamus noted the commentary made by Mike Matusow about taking over for a friend very late in a major online event... and, oh yeah, that's cheating. As Shamus related it: "I don’t have it in for Matusow in particular here. I’m just tired of these pros acting as though all of these rules the rest of us take for granted somehow don’t apply to them." Say it again, but louder.

I don't have it in for Matusow in particular, either, though I've had him squarely in my category of "angle shooter" pros since the first time saw I him on TV, making a faked-but-forward move with a handful of chips in an attempt to elicit a tell from his opponent in a big hand. Crap-ass stuff that was, as is the latest. But one can only throw so many darts at such an easy target. It's not like Matusow's the only one, nor is imagining that all poker players are pristine ne'er-do-bads with nothing but the concept of fair play as their foremost thought.

I just get tired of it, y'know? Because it never stops; even as poker gets ever cleaner, it remains a gathering spot for lots of shady types --- young and old, live and online, those new to the game or the veterans of many battles. I'm reminded of something Harlan Ellison once wrote, relaying a quip from Charles Beaumont about success and writing in Hollywood: "It's like climbing a mountain of manure to reach one flower at the peak, only to discover that you've lost your sense of smell when you've made it to the top."

Not that my ambitions have ever been that noble, even if I do try to do right by what I write. One can only kick the shit from the boots, one supposes, and move on.

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