I’ll save you the trouble of asking. They don’t call me Floater because I like to peel the flop in position, although I do.
It’s because I drowned and came back to life, and that was all I talked about at the poker table, until I realized nobody gives a rip. So don’t worry. I’m not expecting you to believe I rose from the dead when Jimmy dragged me in after I cracked my head in Santa Cruz trying to surf like Kelly Slater, in the dark. All you need to know is I changed that night into a man who doesn’t keep secrets from himself.
For instance, I am a flop addict, always was and will be, and now, I’m matter of fact about it, and man, what an upgrade. When I was living in my own bullshit, everything stunk.
Funny how I never thought about any of this until after my resurrection. It was a month before I played poker again, and when I did, it was like I had new glasses on, filtered glasses, that blurred out the BS, and showed me only what was real. And what I saw when I got ten-nine in the big blind and called a preflop raise was not pretty. I saw a junkie shooting up.
Do you suppose it’s genetic? Being hooked on flops? Do you think maybe I was born this way? Seems to me my addiction had to come from environmental causes. And in that case, who’s to blame? Midnight Mikey? The guy who turned me onto poker? Or maybe this is all on Doyle Brunson. For writing the bible.
Nature, nurture, whatever. What matters is that now I restrain myself from seeing too many flops, because that’s how I beat the game. I’m talking about the long game, the game of delayed gratification. The game of survival. Because for a grinder like me, that’s all there is. Poker strategy dictates that to survive, I must fold before the flop a lot. So I use a flop piggybank. Each time I fold before the flop, that’s a deposit into my piggybank, to pay for future flops. Because I crave flops. Because like I said, my name is Freddy the Floater, and I am a flop addict.
Let’s talk cigarettes. I learned a thing or two from those tubular terrors. I learned that my willpower is nowhere near what I wish it was, and, I concluded it was pointless to beat myself up for it, for being weak, because where’s the sport in kicking the crap out of a weakling? But that didn’t stop me.
I did quit cigs, and here’s how. In my mental closet, some items I keep on hangers for easy access, and others get tucked away in boxes. One of the more practical boxes is the poison box. In it are things like gasoline and shattered glass. Materials that I must keep outside my body, lest I suffer greatly.
One day, kind of all of a sudden, I put cigarette smoking in the poison box. I didn’t even know I had a poison box, until I put cigs in there. And once I did, I felt the same way about taking one drag off a cigarette as I do about drinking paint. Rational? Maybe not, but there it is. I’m an ex-smoker.
My new theory about flop addiction is that it’s the same as chocolate addiction and cocaine addiction, where the only variable that matters is location. When I was doing lines with my buddies way back when, it didn’t matter how much coke we started with, or how long it took. We tooted it all. And now it’s the same with chocolate. I’ll stuff myself full. When no one is watching.
But what kicks it off? I mean the heedlessness. How does it start? Well, I finally figured it out. Proximity. It’s like protons in a nucleus. The attractive force is strong, but only at close range. I don’t crave cocaine or chocolate until they are right in front of me. And I’m not addicted to flops unless I’m seated in a poker game. But then you need an atom smasher to keep us apart.
If you were an M&M addict, do you think you could carry around a bag of M&Ms and only eat a few per hour? Without ever falling into uncontrolled consumption? I know I couldn’t. Yet that’s exactly what I used to ask of myself at the poker table. I expected to be able to sit there, surrounded by flops, and have the discipline to not overeat. So it’s no wonder I couldn’t do it.
I even considered quitting flops altogether. Though that plan was problematic because how would I make money? Poker is my livelihood. Sure, I could quit flops by quitting poker. I could also quit chocolate by quitting eating. Either way, I’d starve.
So here’s what I do now. I see the right number of flops most the time, and too many flops some of the time, just like I’ve been doing for years. The difference is that now, I know I’m weak, and I know I don’t always fold when I should, and I’m okay with that, and I mean totally okay with it, because of what happened that night in Santa Cruz, when I took on Steamer Lane in the dark, and lost the need to delude myself.
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