I wrote the following for the (now-defunct) website thisisby.us last June. I'm posting it here primarily to give some context for a future post, to appear sometime in the next couple of days.
Yesterday was my birthday. A few days ago, when my wife asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday, I thought for a bit, and then surprised both myself and her when I answered, "I want to go to the casino and play poker."
This was surprising because, even though for years I have lived fairly close to a prominent Native American casino/resort, I have never before felt the urge to go there and throw away my money.*
*Okay, so there was the one time I quickly blew some cash on one of those evil money-sucking machine things, but that was when I was performing in a show there and so I was already on the premises, and it just sort of, well, happened.
In recent months, though, I've been playing online poker for fun, and amassed a fairly impressive amount of online play money, and so I was curious as to whether I could, like, play real poker. With real people, and real money.
I figured a birthday was a good excuse to do something foolhardy. What's more, I recently won a bit over a hundred dollars at a local chess tournament, so I figured I could take that one-hundred-dollar bill* as my budget, and if I lost it, well, no big.
*I'm not used to having one-hundred-dollar bills. When I won the chess tournament and the tournament director handed me a one-hundred-dollar bill, I was like, wow, a one-hundred-dollar bill. It's, like, got Ben Franklin on it and everything. And he played chess too. Dude.
To make a long story short, I took my one-hundred-dollar bill to the No-Limit Hold 'Em poker tables last night, fully prepared to lose it all and thereby extinguish this strange new gambling urge I seem to have developed.
Except, I didn't lose it. I doubled my money. I now have not one, but two, one-hundred-dollar bills.
Now I'm in trouble.
I went to sleep last night amidst daydreams of various poker hands, envisioning scenarios in which I won lots more money. When I awoke this morning I was still dreaming of poker hands, so presumably my subconscious mind was playing poker all night long. It won lots and lots of poker chips, and now it wants me to do the same.
I have two mythical creatures on my shoulders, and they're having a dialogue.
Devil: Come on, you know you want to go back to the casino. Think of all the money you could win!
Angel: No, that was a one-time, birthday thing. Quit while you're ahead.
Devil: Aw, come on. You're good at this! You're not going to lose.
Angel: Hold on there, pal. Remember that you almost lost your entire hundred and were saved only by a good card on the turn.
Devil: It was your first time out, and you did great! Next time you'll do even better. Keep at it and you'll never have to work a real job again!
Angel: Greed is your enemy. That way leads to the dark side.
Me: My angel is Yoda?
I cannot yet tell which metaphysical force will win this argument. For now, I'll leave them to it and focus on my chess game. The chess World Open is less than two weeks away, and I'm playing.
But, yeah. I won a hundred dollars at the poker tables on my birthday yesterday.
How cool is that?