Los Angeles, CA
Barricaded in my office, I waited for the brownies to kick in and cranked up a Dead bootleg to drown out the gayness echoing from the living room where my girlfriend was catching up on episodes of Glee.
That's when I did something that I haven't done in a very long time -- online poker. And it wasn't a private tournament or anything of the sort. I player a proper cash game. A legit session. First one in months. I knew that I'd be rusty, but you gotta start somewhere, right? The lack of mid-level limit hold'em games was a bit of a bummer, because those formerly-juicy middle limits dried up over the last few years with the expansion into Rush Poker junkieland and addition of other more exciting games.
I wasn't paying too much attention with two tables and trying to read a book. No bullshit. I as thumbing through a book about a crime reporter and probably irked my tablemates because I'd always be late to act and needed the alert sound to prompt my action, but a few times that didn't work, my time bank expired, and they automatically sit me out. After twenty minutes of failing to multi-task, I realized that I should be paying more attention -- even though folding hands and playing ABC LHE was boring as shit.
After another few orbits, I grew even more restless I usually ignore the chat, but one bully was lighting it up with harsh criticisms of everyone's play. I thought he should of kept his mouth shut for two reasons... 1) most of the time, his opponent's play wasn't as bad of a beat as he claimed, and 2) even when his opponents made a bad decision, the bully should had adhered to the "don't tap the glass" mantra. No one wants the fish scared off, but that's what he was doing.
I drew much of his ire in a hand that I won because he played poorly. I had Ad-8d in middle position and raised. The cutoff called and the bully called from his big blind. The flop was A-9-5 with two diamonds. Bully checked. I bet. Cutoff called. Bully called. The turn was the 6. I picked up a gutter and still had a nut flush draw. Bully checked to me. I bet. Both players called. River was an 8. I back-doored two pair. Checked again to me. I bet. Both called. Cutoff had A-K suited and Bully had Ah-Kh. I won the pot with two pairs. The bully flipped out and berated my play.
The barrage of insults began. At that point, I usually turn off his chat and just go about my business but something inside me said, "Fuck this you motherfucking whiney bitch. Dunno why you're going off on me, because you played the hand like a pussy."
I decided to fight back. I could say that my original intentions were altruistic, and if I were a politician, I would run on a platform highlighting my willingness to stand up to table captains, bullies, chat beggars, and other shit talkers. But, in all reality, I was more bored than anything else and pissed that he was costing me money because his negative attitude was turning the bad players away.
Besides, I've been on a mission this year to stand up to bullies. I don't believe in resolutions, but firmly believe in upholding principles -- particularly this one: don't take shit from anybody. I've been vigilant in dealing with bullies and passive-aggressive jackals -- both for myself and especially for my friends.
I decided to fuck with the bully, who was one of the lowest form of poker player on the intertubes -- the crybaby. But, this guy was looking for trouble. For one, bullies don't like to be bullied, and I hoped that I could tilt him. I told him that his insults were a cry for help and that he was obviously a mentally disturbed person. He went for the lamest attempted at a dig. He called me... a donkey. Jesus, so uninspiring and uncreative.
"That's Dr. Donkey to you pal," I barked. Nothing irks trolls when you side with them. They thrive on opposition.
He accused me of being a proctologist. He must have an anal complex, because he wanted to invite me over to check out his ass. He opened himself up to a few witty responses from yours truly about being a closeted queer or a latent homosexual.
"Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm a shrink... a psychiatrist."
I'm not a real doctor, but I play one on the internet, especially when diagnosing bad poker-playing delusional hate monger that wants to have his anus explored by strangers.
But it's pretty easy to diagnose people these days, even without a degree. All you have to do is listen and observe -- seriously listen to what people are saying and carefully dissect their body language (or in this instance their use of words and phrasing). That will reveal all of their secrets and you get sort of x-ray vision into their psyche and see right through their fragile facades.
My bully seemed desperate for attention. Most bullies are hopelessly seeking attention and lash out as a defense mechanism. They deep down seek out intimacy, but they have been hurt in the past, so it's been easier to just act like a dick than let anyone be nice to you.
The fact that the bully felt as though he was entitled to berate his opponents when he lost was completely delusional and selfish. I pegged him as a persecutory delusional -- someone who was convinced that everyone was out to get him.
I diagnosed him as delusional in the chat, and he shot back with a fourth grade response.
"You live in delusional land," was his best thought-up response.
"Yes, you are correct. I live in delusional land. How did you know that I live in Los Angeles?"
That got a a few chuckles.
"I love LA," I continued. "The weather is awesome, but traffic sucks. The best thing is that everyone out her is crazy, which means my services are in high demand."
"I don't know any idiots who would pay you."
"You're in luck that I'm not charging you for this session. You have so many mental health issues that I don't know where we should begin."
That's when he returned to the proctologist stuff. That bully had a real ass fetish. I told him that he should get his ass checkout the same way he always does -- waits for his welfare check to arrive, so he can pay the crack whores/tranny hookers who lived next door to give him a prostate exam with an empty can of Red Bull.
I didn't let up and ripped into him pretty bad -- so much so that I had my own horrifying moment when I thought, "This has gone beyond self-defense.... all of a sudden I went from the victim to being the bully."
I was about to stop, but when someone else at the table laid a vicious beat on the bully, he went off on him. My fleeting moment of compassion evaporated and I returned to giving the bully shit.
"More anger management issues," I responded. "You should learn how to take a beat like a man."
"This is such a tragedy," he bemoaned.
Tragedy? He's got the good life compared to 99% of people on this planet -- he's inside, on a computer, plying online poker. We're all members of the "haves" while the have-nots are riddled with daily hardships (poverty, famine, war) that put all of us to shame.
Whenever he lost a hand, I'd type "nh" into the chat to congratulate his opponent. That's a cheap trick, but it has proven in the past to induce tilt. A couple of times, he took a bad beat, which really fired him up some more. He accused Full Tilt of being rigged, and that it was full of donkeys and idiots. He obviously has not been playing online poker for too long.
"Take a beat like a man," I barked.
I dunno why people complain about bad beats as much as they do. I'm all for let out a little anger and emotion as a step toward closure and just one of the things you have to do to re-gain focus and prepare for the next hand. But those who dwell on bad beats, especially at online poker and feel compelled to bring up that bit of history is beyond me. If anything, I want to play against people who whine about bad beats that happened hours earlier, because it means they are distracted and not paying attention to the present moment and obsession with something they can no longer control -- the past -- it's over and what's done is done. There's no bad beat appeals court where you state your case to Jesus and he makes a ruling to refund your money, or awards you compensation for pain and suffering.
This is poker. You win hands and you lose hands. When you win, you act humble. And when you lose, lose with dignity.
All of my banter in the chat must have drained the bully. He spewed 30+BBs in less than twenty minutes. I won two pots from him. Those were some of the most satisfying moments I've had in poker in a while. The money didn't mean as much to me as the fact that each hand I won sent him deeper and deeper into tiltdom.
The bully with an ass fetish went busto and finally left... in silence.