Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rewards (Others & One’s Own)

Rewards (Others & One's Own)Had a nice moment at work this morning. Ain’t gonna get too specific here about particulars of the workplace, but the gist of the story is I just happened to be there when a colleague was told the higher-ups had approved his working another year. He’s a good guy, and the sincerity of his reaction -- a big ol’ happy handshake to the person who delivered the news -- was weirdly infectious. Not only did I feel good for the guy, but in a hard-to-explain way realized I felt happier for him than I tend to feel when good fortune comes my way.

I’m not pretending to claim I’m a wholly selfless person who only cares for others. I’m as self-interested as the next guy. Hell, writing 400 posts, the majority of which tend to involve communicating my own personal pleasures and pains, should stand as conclusive evidence of at least a latent strand of narcissicism that probably chararacterizes most poker players. Rather, there’s something about seeing others’ get rewarded for doing well -- for a modest example of justice being served, I suppose -- that is utterly reassuring to those of us who happen to witness such an occurrence.

Maybe I was more susceptible to the subject of others’ welfare because when I drove into work this morning I listened to the latest Two Plus Two Pokercast (with Brad Booth and Nolan Dalla). In particular I am referring to the brief interview with Steve Cooke, a.k.a. “bigbamboom,” one of the two fellows selected for that “Supernova Highway” challenge, that comes up at the end of the show.

I’m not up on all of the particulars of the challenge, but my understanding is the candidates both play on PokerStars and when the challenge began both were sitting at one of the lower rungs of the VIP Club (i.e., “BronzeStar” or “SilverStar”). The idea is for the two of them to put in enough time at the tables to make it all of the way to SuperNova status by the end of the calendar year. Neither of the players -- Cooke and Simon Noel (a.k.a. “GrinningBuddha”) -- are being bankrolled, but they will receive some instruction from the TwoPlusTwo Pokercast hosts as well as other online pros along the way. I believe they might be getting a few other perks thrown their way as well (e.g., free subscriptions to online training sites).

Of the two, I am marginally more aware of Cooke since he contributes to the PokerSift blog (as “bigbamboom”) and has been reporting some over there about his Supernova Highway adventure. Enjoyed hearing him on the show discuss his poker-playing situation and goals. Like a lot of us, he’s a part-timer who has played only micro or low limits for a few years. As he says in the interview, he sees himself as “represent[ing] the low-level guy who’s really trying to learn and improve [his] game.” I was already predisposed in Cooke’s favor from reading his PokerSift posts, but I like him even more after hearing him on the show. He also mentions there how, in fact, his wife had just given birth to baby daughter. Definitely easy to identify with a guy like “bigbamboom” who has a full life outside of online poker.

All of this inspired me to check out whether I have any hopes of climbing up into the “SilverStar” range on Stars. I only play 10-15 hours a week, and so hadn’t ever really bothered to look into the VIP Club and its benefits. I realized, though, that I’m actually about a third of the way there in terms of VIP points to reaching SilverStar by month’s end, so I may give myself a little challenge here to pursue as well.

In any event, I’ll be following Cooke’s progress, too, and definitely wish him well -- both with the family stuff and with the challenge. As I say, there’s something rewarding about watching others who are deserving succeed.

Except when I’m heads-up against ’em, of course.

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