Waktaskshi wa Gene desu. That’s two years of schoolin’

Wednesday, March 31st, 2004, 1:17 am

In college I decided to take Japanese, because I’ve always been fascinated by the culture and thought it would make me a more valuable cog in the global economy. I made it thru the first two semesters, but during the third term you had to actually use kanji and hiragana and katakana on the exams, and my fate was sealed. If I were Japanese I’d be illiterate. I couldn’t make my hands make the symbols, even if I had the characters right in front of me. On the first exam I looked at the questions, watched my classmates (many of whom were Asian and, I think, considered this class a cakewalk) scribble away, and I decided it was time to face the facts. I handed in my exam, said “Domo arigato”, and walked straight to the Liberal Arts building to drop the class.

Even though I washed out, studying a different language really gives you insight into your native tongue. It was especially helpful for an English major like myself learning the different syntax and grammar of Japanese (and French, which I took in high school and college). Now, how the hell does this apply to poker? It occured to me recently that I’ve only been playing poker for about six months, that I have a lot to learn, and that my month-long run of poor results is perhaps an indication that I need to go back to Poker School and stop worrying about building my bankroll up so I can buy a new laptop.

Summer is also on the way, meaning I’ll be outdoors more and playing less. And I’m also going to be the antithesis of Iggy–playing less and writing more. My bankroll is still healthy for the levels I’m playing, tho I’m not going to be buying in to this year’s World Series. I’ve been getting massacred lately, the last 3 weeks or so have been brutal, and I can’t say that it’s all because of the fish. I’m not playing well. I may be in a bit of a rut.

To get out of it I’m taking a few steps. One, do more reading, especially McEvoy and Cloutier’s book on Pot- and No-Limit which has a new edition coming out. I’ve been playing Pot-Limit mostly even though I haven’t done much reading on it and think it preys on my weakness at the table, namely aggressiveness. I need to learn what the hell I’m doing so I can hit the tables with a vengeance.

My brother’s been struggling as well, and he’s started playing 7-card stud as well as Hold-Em. And that’s where my Japanese example comes into play. I’ve always been interested in Omaha, it seems to be the game the top pros consider the best test of skill (tho Hi-Lo is I think the game of the moment). So as I study Hold-Em I’m also going to school myself in Omaha, both to broaden my poker horizons and hopefully gain some insight into Hold-Em by coming at poker from a different direction. Thinking about the game outside the constrictions of two cards down, flop, turn, river will hopefully get my brain going again and whip my overall game into shape.

I played some Omaha tonight, won a quick hand, and then lost 3 hands with trip aces, an ace-to-the-five straight and a full house. Uh, time to hit the books, grind out a few thousand hands, and maybe be ready for next year’s WSOP. Maybe.

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