Monday, December 27, 2010

Everybody’s Watching “The Micros”

'The Micros' (2010)Up late last night-slash-this morning following the Sunday Million on PokerStars. Nearly 9,000 played, a bit more than usually come out for the sucker. There was a deal struck with three players left, and the chip leader at the time ended up taking it down for $249,054.88. Not a bad final entry into the spreadsheet for 2010, that. (Recap here.)

With six players left one of them began having some recurring connectivity problems, prompting the other players to start chatting while they waited. One asked if anyone could recommend any YouTube videos, and immediately “The Micros” was suggested.

I’m guessing most readers of this blog have seen this clever web series that debuted about a month ago. The vids are mostly culled together using that Xtranormal website, the one that allows for the creation of animated videos by entering text and giving characters various traits, although that is supplemented with other audio and video post-production to make a slick-looking, highly watchable little program.

The series was created by Jay “KRANTZ” Rosenkrantz and John “JimmyLegs” Wray. The first “pilot” episode introduces us to a micro stakes regular -- Chase Berger -- who unexpectedly finds himself going deep in the “Sunday MegaMillions” while being rooted on by his friends Tommy and Rose. If you’ve somehow missed it by now, here it is:

Lots of funny “inside baseball”-type touches throughout, starting from the very beginning with the “RIP DOYLE” comment in the chat box by “D0uch3b@g” (a much-repeated, poor-taste raibird gag), the naming of our hero’s opponent “G1LD3NSTRN” (referring to Guildenstern, Rosencrantz’ ill-fated partner in Hamlet), Berger’s lifetime earnings to that point adding up to “’bout tree-fiddy” (a Two Plus Two catch phrase/meme), and so forth.

Chase Berger's graphThat “tree-fiddy” is actually $3.50, Chase’s total profit after more than 850,000 hands of micro stakes poker. That’s his profile/graph at left -- a portrait of the hopeless nit unable to take the chances necessary to nudge that stubborn line upwards.

Chase’s friends illustrate much different player types. Tommy is a consistent winner who plays high volume (he 20-tables to cool down) but is “too chicken to move out of the micros.” Meanwhile Rose plays under the username “BALLS!” and is a loose-aggro maniac with no problem handling monumental swings -- someone Chase considers “one of the craziest degenerates ever to play the game of poker.” Both Tommy and Rose appear to represent player types Chase envies in certain ways, but he somehow hasn’t been able to do anything to break out of being (as he puts it) “a break-even donk stuck in the micros.”

Fun, satisfying stuff, especially for those of us who primarily toil in the so-called “micro” or low stakes. Some might quibble with the plot of this first episode being too accelerated (or in some ways unrealistic), and those outside of the loop of the many Two Plus Two references might not laugh as much as those in the know. All in all, though, there’s a lot of entertainment here. Some genuine insight, too, I’d say.

It will be interesting to see where the show goes from here. There’s a second, shorter vid -- a funny “Holiday Special” that sort of advances the story a little while producing a few more grins. Will be looking forward to more, for sure. Lots of potential -- for the characters and creators both.

Amusing to think about the guys going deep in the real Sunday Millions taking time out to enjoy the fictional story of Chase going deep in the "MegaMillions." Perhaps the episode was inspiring to watch in some way.

Am starting to look at my graph for 2010, which I have to confess resembles Chase’s a little more than I’d like it to. Might have to rewatch Episode 1 to draw some inspiration, too.

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