A feeling so foreign

December 30, 2007

Do you ever feel bad taking someone’s money?

I know, probably the worst question to ask to a group of people whose main goal is to take people’s money. But being the holiday season, I’m sure there’s no better time to raise the issue of pity or remorse at the end of a night of cards with a group of friends. I’m also not talking about cashing in a ten dollar bill here and a twenty dollar bill there. I’m talking about the awkward 20 seconds when your buddy across the felt is clearing off chip crumbs and beer spill to write you a check for $650. What exactly do you do during those moments, anyway? I usually escape to the bathroom, then emerge under the pretense that I’m not expecting a check (although all I’m doing is waiting for him to hand it to me.)

I mean……I kinda feel bad at that point. Not necessarily because I’ve been on that side of the fence (and we all have at least once). Not really because I particularly like the person, either. It’s actually hard to describe, just a sort of combination of taking advantage and undeserved happiness at someone else’s expense…maybe I’m more human than I claim to be.

I imagine the thought process from the loser, however, is much simpler. “Here’s your check, $%&*er.”
This also isn’t an attempt to make some type of generalization or commentary about whether gambling is right or wrong. I really couldn’t care less what anything thinks about that, as I’m sure my own opinion on the matter isn’t being desperately solicited. This is just me wondering if I’m alone here.

In fact, I can’t even explain why this emotion comes over me. I love the thrill of competition as much as I do spreading my fingers, joining my hands and literally raking in pot after pot. I don’t think about who lost what on what hand while it’s happening, and maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I’m the only one who does.

Overanalyzing? Perhaps.
Guilt? To a degree, even though there’s technically nothing to be guilty about. You play a clean game, you’re a more talented player. Sometimes luck is more on your side, and your winnings are less of an earned prize and more of a nice surprise. (“That’s just a real nice surprise, Clark….a reallllll nice surprise!” – sorry got caught up in the classic Christmas Vacation for second there.)

So what’s my point? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you, and I don’t think I started writing this with the intention of wrapping it up with a nice conclusion. It’s weird, because as a teenager I can remember taunting and gloating and quickly spending much, much more than I remember skill, technique or restratint.

Things change, of course, but I didn’t expect to care about this. Not about how it feels to be on the losing end, because I’m certainly not thinking about how nice it must be to win all that money when it’s my wallet it’s coming out of.

No, at that point I’m usually thinking…”Here’s your check, $%*&**er.”

That’s why I like to play online at FullTiltPoker.com, because you never see the people you are winning money from.