Thus far I’ve partnered with fellow bloggers Drizz (Nickle and Dimes), April (This Is Not a Poker Blog), Tuscaloosa Johnny (Poker Nation), and Otis (Up for Poker). All cool cats with whom I’m very glad to be working.
Was kind of a late one last night, so I expect I’ll be dragging some today. Fact is, I’m essentially working two full-time jobs at the moment. I like ’em both, though, so I ain’t complainin’.
Speaking of living out multiple existences, I wanted to share one small observation today inspired by something I heard on Bart Hanson’s Cash Plays. In the car yesterday I happened to listen to Hanson’s interview with Allen “Chainsaw” Kessler from a couple of weeks back (the 8/27/08 episode). Not gonna get into Kessler’s character or anything really having to do with him -- although he is certainly an interesting case. Rather, I just wanted to share something he mentioned about Phil Ivey that caused me to brood briefly over the issue of self-identity and poker.
Kessler played with Ivey back in Atlantic City in the early 90s, mostly Stud/8 and Omaha/8. Hanson asked him some questions about those days, including asking Kessler what he thought of Ivey’s game back then. “He played great,” said Kessler without hesitation. “He always played great?” asked Hanson, a note of incredulity in his voice. “Or do you remember when he was bad?”
Kessler said no, he didn’t remember Ivey ever playing badly, at least when he played with him (when Ivey was in his early 20s). “No, I don’t remember…like I don’t remember him as that ‘Jerome’ or any of that stuff. He must have already been past that.”
The reference to “Jerome” there is, of course, to the pseudonym Ivey played under when he was legally too young to play in casinos. In order to play, Ivey used a fake ID with the name “Jerome Graham,” and he has talked in interviews about how everyone in Atlantic City knew him as Jerome until he turned 21. Hanson’s questions seem to imply that “Jerome” wasn’t the consistently stellar player Phil Ivey is, as does Kessler’s reference to those earlier days (before he played with him) as perhaps corresponding to what Hanson was alluding with his follow-up question.
It occurred to me hearing Kessler refer to how Ivey had “already been past that” earlier phase in his life and poker playing career in which he was known as “Jerome” that every poker player goes through similar phases in his or her development. In other words, we all have memories of earlier versions of ourselves as poker players, and in most cases those earlier versions are probably much different from the idea we have of ourselves today.
And, at some point, we probably all had to get “past that” earlier self in order to improve -- or at least endure -- as poker players.
What do you recall of that former self? Wouldn’t it be great to play him or her heads-up?