Friday, February 15, 2008

The Wrong Focus (Another Cheating Pro)

Yet another poker pro casually admits to cheatingTwo weeks ago I was driving home late on Friday afternoon. Was turning left into my neighborhood and out of the corner of my eye noticed a patrol car cruising off to the right. I remember consciously thinking I should keep it under the posted 25 speed limit, which I did. Hung another left and then a quick right. As I slowly motored down my street I noticed the blue lights in the rearview.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought, knowing full well I couldn’t possibly have exceeded 25. I glided over to the curb, just a couple of doors down from where I live, and waited for the policeman. As I waited I took a quick peek up and down the street to see if any of my neighbors might be watching the fun.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” he asked. Suddenly it dawned on me I had an expired 30-day tag. Ended up taking nearly two months for the plate to come (it didn’t arrive until earlier this week), so I’d spent a few weeks driving around after the tag had run out. I was actually feeling relief as I replied “I know I have that 30-day tag,” pointing backwards as I spoke.

I stopped short, though, when I saw the officer shaking his head. “You ran right through that stop sign,” he explained. He was right. There’s a four-way stop just before the turn into my neighborhood, and I’d blown right through the sucker. Having focused on my speed, I’d missed the sign.

“So you just got this car?” he asked, stepping back and looking up and down the side. I nodded. “Do you have the Bill of Sale?”

Oof. Did I? I had a sinking feeling. I started rifling through warranty info and manuals. But I knew I didn’t have it. As I looked I gestured pitifully across the street. “I live right there,” I said. He remained nonplussed. Good Lord, I thought. This is turning into one fine day.

When the sign says stop, you’re supposed to stop. No negotiating that. I’d been caught. And now it was up to Officer Blue to decide my fate.

Speaking of breaking the rules, I happened to hear the guys over on the Hardcore Poker Show mention something about Mike Matusow’s latest “Mouthpiece” episode (on CardPlayer TV) in which he reveals having taken over for a friend deep in an online tourney, Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi-style. The Hardcore Poker guys refrained from commenting on the subject, saying they wanted to have Matusow on the show to let him explain what had occurred.

I dialed up the “Mouthpiece” today -- the latest episode (#32), dated February 7th. After wading through the first 22 minutes or so, Matusow finally comes out with the admission during a ramble about online tournament poker. Here’s what he says:

“Tournament poker involves tremendous focus, I mean tremendous focus . . . . If I was to play tournaments online, I would have to play just the one tournament, and have everything turned off around me, and then put my heart into it. And I haven’t been able to do it yet except for once, and I did it once for a friend of mine who was six hours deep into a tournament -- I’m not gonna name what site -- and I took over for him because he’s not really a good closer, and we finished third. ’Cos I put my heart into it, and I knew we had chips to move with and I could evaluate players and we should have won it if we would have won a coin flip. So, that’s what it comes down to is the focus.”

Incredible, really, how casually Matusow admits to not following the rule against account-sharing. He doesn’t name the site, but I’m sure it has such a rule in place. We all know the site that sponsors Matusow, Full Tilt Poker, has such a rule.

No, Matusow seems completely unaware that what he did might be considered unethical and/or against the rules. He’s also obviously unaware of the irony of what he is saying. His point is that by taking over from his friend late in the tourney, he was able to focus much better than he would have had he played the first six hours himself. Meanwhile, Matusow is oblivious to the fact that those against whom he’s competing are themselves battling to maintain that “tremendous focus” after having put in the long hours beforehand.

In fact, he seems to be suggesting that the best way to stay focused is to do what you can to remain fresh -- e.g., not play the first part of the tournament and only step in at the end. That way you’ll be better able to “evaluate players” and play winning poker.

I don’t have it in for Matusow in particular here. I’m just tired of these pros acting as though all of these rules the rest of us take for granted somehow don’t apply to them.

How did things go with Officer Blue? I got lucky. He let me off with just a warning. Sort of like getting my money in bad and sucking out. You better believe I’m coming to a full stop at that sign every time from now on. Of course, Matusow and his friend won’t even receive a warning -- only, perhaps, a small bit of backlash that will surely fade away in short order.

So . . . what is today’s “tip from the pro”? Let’s see . . . something to do with focus. I think I have it:

Don’t focus on the rules so much that doing so affects your ability to focus on winning.

Oh, and remember also -- put your heart into it.



Blogger Richard said...

Good post. The rules about one player, one account seem impossible to enforce. It will be interesting to see how it pans out in the future.

By the way, you should look up "nonplussed" in the dictionary. :)


2/15/2008 3:42 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thx, Richard. Should've said "impassive" or "unmoved" there.

(In fact, I suppose I was the one who was nonplussed. Esp. when I couldn't find my Bill of Sale.)

2/15/2008 4:01 PM  
Blogger DasLoot said...

Interesting blog you got going here, some good points. Any chance of a link up?

2/17/2008 4:40 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

No one ever considers it cheating when they do it themselves, right?

2/17/2008 5:27 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

No one ever considers it cheating when they do it themselves, right?

2/17/2008 5:27 PM  

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