Not the greatest day I’ve ever had

Tuesday, June 1st, 2004, 12:45 pm

Perhaps I should’ve stayed in bed, after what’s gone on today. Not that I could’ve stayed in bed, not with my kitten in psycho mode. He was playing with a milk ring on the bed about 6AM, flailing around and bothering me, but that didn’t compare to what happened shortly after that. He grabbed a wadded up paper ball he’s been tormenting the last few days, and leapt from the dresser to the bed–landing square on my nuts. This is not the best way to be woken out of a dreamless sleep. I let out a shrill bellow, threatened Izzy’s life, and would’ve taken a frying pan to the little bastard had my wife not threatened me with a larger frying pan. Izzy’s her favorite, so my revenge had to wait.

I went to work, fiddled with a few files, cleared up a problem from Friday, and went to get a cup of coffee. I returned to my desk to find my phone ringing and our HR person on the line. She asked me to come down to her office. Now, I’m not an idiot, I know that it’s rather unlikely that she wanted to tell me I’d just gotten a big promotion and a raise. I went down to her office and learned that I was being laid off. Things have been really slow the last couple of weeks, so it doesn’t come as a big surprise, though I was surprised that I was let go. I didn’t get the chance to go up and get my stuff out of my desk, since the modus operandi these days is not to give the canned employee a chance to go postal and lay waste to the office. My boss brought my work bag down, and it wasn’t until I was halfway home that I remembered my radio and CDs are in my desk. So I’ll have to go out there again and pick them up.

It sucks. I get to collect unemployment, get my benefits through the end of the month, get paid for my 2 weeks of remaining vacation. I didn’t like my job, especially recently, and last Friday was about as bad a day of work as I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some doozies. This might be exactly what I need to get my act together and get a job I’m actually good at and actually enjoy. I’ve never had a job I liked–actually, I’ve never had a job I didn’t hate, to some extent. I actually went to a job fair at a local bank on the way home, I’d planned on going there on my lunch break, so I just stopped in a few hours earlier than I intended. So already the job hunt begins.

Uh, if anyone reading this lives in Pittsburgh and needs a really smart guy with an MBA who can write a bit and knows to lay down AQ unsuited in a raised pot with three callers, I’m your man.

I’ll miss a lot of the people I worked with, and one irritating thing about getting escorted from the building is that you don’t get to say goodbye or anything. Oh, yeah, to my work buddy Matt–if you see this, leave a comment and let me know if you’re still working there or if you got let go too. I also have to get some of my poker chips back from a guy I worked with there, but he lives near me and I’m not concerned.

Another weird thing–I have a lot of issues I was working on that I didn’t get to complete, and it’s going to bother the hell out of me wondering what’s going to happen. One problem has been going on for about 10 months, and I finally got it just about fixed, but I needed to check to make sure everything was done right and now I won’t be doing that. I can just imagine what the person I was helping is gonna do when she finds out I’m gone. I could just shrug my shoulders and say, hey, it’s not my problem anymore, but I have trouble doing that. Maybe a beer will help.

Hey, so now I have lots more time to play poker! Uh, no. I was planning on playing less and doing other stuff more, and that’s going to be accelerated bigtime. But I do have some poker content to write about. First of all, this blog was featured in the excellent piece written by HDouble for All-In, a fancy new glossy magazine devoted to our favorite game. The article is about the proliferation of poker blogs and it was very cool to see my name and words included. Although, I probably should have thought of writing such an article myself, so I got scooped, but still pretty cool to see my name in print. I haven’t been able to find a copy of the mag yet, but I’ll keep looking or just subscribe to it. If you’re a Shana Hiatt fan, methinks you’ll like the pics that accompany the piece about her.

The article does seem to be luring folks to this site. The example Hank used for my blog is the piece I wrote about Phil Hellmuth, and when I check my site statistics I’ve found quite a few people who came my way after they typed in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being Phil Hellmuth”, which was the title of said post. And that’s pretty cool. About 80 people a day visit this blog, which doesn’t put me quite in the league of ESPN or, but is again pretty cool. Maybe if I keep posting good stuff I can get it up to 100 a day, and beyond.

Speaking of Phil, you need to read his latest “Hand of the Week” screed. Kudos to Iggy for pointing out Phil’s latest trip to Lululand. Every year there’s a contest where writers try to parody Ernest Hemingway’s prose, and I thought about sponsoring one where I’d award a copy of Play Poker Like the Pros for the person who could best capture the unique blend of whining, boasting, and self-delusion that is Hellmuthian prose. But, come on, who amongst us could hope to compete with the master himself? Plus there’s the danger it might permanently infect some unsuspecting blogger who would soon be wearing out the exclaimation mark key on his/her keyboard.

I haven’t read Andy Glazer’s WSOP report yet, mostly because it was about 4 days in coming. Hey, if they need help covering next year’s event I’ll do it for free, Andy. I’ll even let you have the byline, a la the New York Times. Pay my airfare, give me a floor to sleep on, and a little bread and water, and I’m your guy. And this has nothing to do with my recent employment situation.

One thing Andy wrote about got the eyebrows to raising. He said that, unless the WSOP increases the buyin, there could be six to ten thousand players at next years event. They’d have to hold it up and down the Strip, I doubt there’s one casino big enough to hold that many players at once. Ten thousand players…that’s just nuts. I can definitely see them boosting the buy-in to $25K or even $50K, which would have the immediate effect of cutting down the number of online qualifiers. Maybe, as Iggy opines, the online sites will start their own huge event, giving their players another chance to shine on a stage maybe as big as the WSOP itself.

Another reason to play at Party and avoid PokerStars–Moneymaker played at Stars, so did Greg Raymer, David Williams, and I believe two other 2004 finalists. While I’d love to match wits with the absolute cream of the poker world, I struggle enough with the fish at Party. So I’ll just admire from afar.

I actually wrote a long post this weekend lamenting how lousy I’ve done the last month, but after reading it I decided to spare you all. I needed the catharsis of writing it, but you didn’t need to read it. I’ve been running ice cold for two months, but May was the first month I lost money playing poker. Thing is, thanks to my 2nd place showing in the most recent WPBT even I still made a few bucks. Hard to say that I’m hurting too bad when I’m still making money, so although I need to get my head on straight and start playing better, I can’t be too disappointed when I’m still solvent. I’ve also had a strikingly bad run of cards lately. Not bad in the sense that I get kings when another guy gets aces, bad in the sense that I play for an hour and end up winning one small hand and losing one big one and get blinded along the way. It’s weird having a $30 loss and not losing a single hand at the showdown, as I did the other day. The one hand I lost like $10 I flopped a straight, had the board pair on the turn, and then triple on the river. I folded, one guy turned over a full house, the other dude turned over quads. If that last six doesn’t come on the river I win a very tasty pot, but instead I drop $9 and then make an obvious fold on the river. Oy vey.

So hopefully the cards will show some mercy on me. I actually won’t be playing too much, since I need to find gainful employement and I’m not quite ready to follow David Ross’s lead and play online for a living. As my wife said, maybe this is the best thing that could happen to me. I was stuck in a job with no future, a job I hated, a job where I made no money…I should have been looking for a job like crazy anyway, but when your brain is fried after 11 hours doing something you don’t like its hard to rev up again once you get home. So, time to get cracking. Like I said, any Pittsburghers who are reading this right now and are thinking, “Y’know, I need a guy like this in our dahntahn office, writes a little, plays a little poker…”, just drop me a line.

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14 Responses to “Not the greatest day I’ve ever had”

  1. Anonymous Says:


    Damn, man. I don’t know whether to give you a hug, buy you a beer, or break into a envy-fueled sweat. I recognize the pre-layoff malaise you described, as I’ve been in it for seven months.

    Frankly, though, I think you’ll be fine. you’re one of the smart folks out there. That’s all it takes.

    Well, that and a little luck.

    Kinda like poker, I guess, eh?


  2. Anonymous Says:

    Hang in there… I got the boot in october, been contracting (aka whoring) myself out since…they just announced they are selling off the company I’m at now… so who knows… just know you aren’t alone…


  3. Ignatious Says:

    hang tough gene – methinks you’ll find something far better than what you were doing…you gots one big brain, my friend.

    i fully expect daily blog updates now. 😉

  4. BG Says:

    I got laid off late last September, and it was a good thing ultimately. I got a better job, collected one month of unemployment, and gained a new found respect for episodes of “West Wing” on Bravo during the day.

    Good luck to you Gene – you’ll do alright.

  5. Matt Says:

    Hey Gene,
    Yep. I got sacked as well. You will definitely find a better job though; one that you will enjoy more. I’m planning a trip to AC next week – I’ll let ya know how I do. In the meantime, good luck with everything. I look forward to reading your future posts. Talk to ya soon!

  6. PokerProf Says:

    So that’s what the little trash icon does… DOH! Anyways to recap (the short version) I have zero doubt you’ll find a better higher paying job in no time, your just too talented (if you blog is any indication, that is).

  7. AlCantHang Says:

    Sorry to hear it MeanGene. Hang in there.

  8. chrisL Says:

    Don’t sweat it too much Mean Gene, I’m sure someone with your intellect and chutzpah (and MBA to boot) will be fine. Maybe it’s time to do the damn thing and take the poker world over…

  9. NemoD Says:

    i’m sure you’ll find a job that you’ll enjoy. your talent will not go unnoticed for long. (now i need to go find me a job … apparently you can’t stay in college forever, who’d of thunk it?)

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Best of Luck with finding a new job, Im sure it will all work out. Keep up the fantastic blog!

  11. Dr. Pauly Says:

    Hang in there, MG. I lost my job at JP Morgan in Feb 2003 and it was the best thing that happened to me! You’ll figure stuff out… best of luck. See ya, Pauly

  12. Anonymous Says:

    I think this got lost in the shuffle in my reader, hence I’m about 5 days late.

    Just wanted to say to hang in there, something will come up. In the interim, it is summer, enjoy it as much as you can, you won’t have another summer off until you retire. Try to find a bright side to it. My wife got laid off last May, found a job in early Sept., and got to tend to the yard and garden all summer. All in all it worked out, yes it sucks, but it’ll come around.

    Chris Halverson

  13. Anonymous Says:

    listen to all of you losers. Maybe if you spent less time taling with mean gene and more time concentrating on your job, you would still have your jobs.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    listen to all of you losers. Maybe if you spent less time taling with mean gene and more time concentrating on your job, you would still have your jobs.

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