Since my teens I've waged a war versus perception.
Because I am generally cracking jokes, smiling a lot, and in trying to be the
life of the party, it is assumed that I am unable to be serious or am somehow
an immature or irresponsible person. This actually cost me a job about 6 or 7
years ago when the GM of the car dealership I worked at was unable to
understand that being fun and responsible were not mutually exclusive abilities.
I've paid the price for who I am.
When I was younger I acted that way as a defense mechanism.
I was lacking in self confidence and found my ability to entertain made me feel
better. Now that I am into my 30's, I continue on because it feels good to have
people laugh at something you said. It is no longer something I do because I
have to, but something I do because I want to - it is good for my soul. Along
the way I've come to realize that if anything, my insistence on being this way
has made me a more mature individual. I am able to realize what I am doing and
how it impacts people's perception of me. Beyond that, I have gotten to the
point where I don't care if it impacts me in a negative fashion. Having to
overcome this perception has made me a stronger, more confident person. Show me
somebody who insists on suppressing who they are in order to impress people,
and I'll show you somebody with a shattered ego.
What does any of this have to do with the most recent
online poker hullabaloo?
For some reason the perception of poker players, especially
high stakes regs, is that they are somehow wise and intelligent beyond their
years. If you go back and read any amount of the comments to Haseeb's blog from
the past couple of years and you will see a reverence generally reserved for
historical figures like Lincoln or Churchill. For the same reason people see me
as a 32-year-old 13-year-old, people saw Haseeb as though he was a 21-year-old
50-year old. His age has been completely ignored, when it is actually the clear
answer to, "Why, Haseeb, why?"
While I am no wise old owl, the fact that I am some 8-10
years older than the average online poker aficionado, defined here as those who
are regulars on 2+2 and other training sites, gives me at least some ability to
look at this situation and say, "If Haseeb was 32, he'd not have allowed this
to happen." This is true for those who choose to believe both main sides of
Those who generally believe DIH's side: If he is
to be believed, it is pretty clear that he was careless, egotistical,
irresponsible, and incredibly reactionary when some level of thought and
maturity was, like, you know, fucking important.Those who think he spearheaded/had deeper
involvement with the scam because he is busto: Somebody who had a full decade
of adulthood is MUCH less likely to be in a questionable financial situation
despite having the earning power he has.
As a former 20-something, I am well aware that everybody
thinks they are WAY more with-it than they are - people who are successful
young, even more so. Let's be honest for a moment. If you are 22, rich, and
able to basically print money because of your ability to play poker, you are
almost guaranteed to have a warped view of reality. Because you worked hard to
achieve what you did, you are granted a high level of self-worth, making you apt
to have an even more messed up sense of things. The fact is that in a maturity
contest, education and family history being equal, I'd take a down-and-out
22-year-old over a very successful 28-year-old any day of the week, and it aint
Men and women are shaped by their past - the tougher the
decisions, the more difficult the path, the more life experience. I can name a
number of people I know who range from their early 20's to late 40's who have an
incredibly inflated notion of their own wisdom and maturity yet would laugh hysterically
at the assertion that I trump them in this very category. They've been
fortunate to have things go their way, making bereft of the hardships that a "normal"
person has endured. Show me a millionaire that has never worked an $8/hr job,
and I will show you a person with a warped sense of self and a distorted view
of the real world and how it works.
I am certainly not suggesting that there are not exceptions
to any of what I've said. And please keep in mind this is all based on
assumption of the health of individual's surroundings and overall mental state
from the time they are born until present day (I am not talking about the
children of an abusive father here). I am speaking in strong generalities based
on years of self reflection and the societal analysis of a thoughtful and
introspective person. These words have been my opinion presented as fact,
because to me, they are.
The moral of the story is that all three principals in
this scandal are 21 or younger. They have all been rich beyond dreams since
before they were old enough to graduate college. The fact that more of our
young poker hero's haven't done something that ranks 100/100 on the retarded
scale is an absolute fucking miracle. Considering how we glorify insane,
ridiculous, and irresponsible actions like prop bets that threaten the health
of friends, it is pretty lol when we get upset because some young kid acted
like a kid often does. That there are legions of 20-somethings decrying the
actions of DIH and JM when they would have acted the exact same way if they had
been in that situation is probably the biggest single source of outrage that I
have over all of this.
I know that a lot of you are rolling your eyes thinking I
"If I was young and wealthy I'd be different"
"I would never let this happen"
"I am too responsible to go busto, especially if I had
that kind of money"
"I would think it through more"
I hate to break it to you, but you are probably not that
one guy who at 23 has the wisdom of a man at the top of the mountain. And if you think that you are, all I can say
is that your belief is proof that I am right.