Thursday, June 01, 2006


I just got the result of my appeal hearing in the mail. That was quick. I lost, just like I thought I would. The judge's letter didn't ask for the $1800 back right then and there, but it's just a matter of time before I have to fork it back over to the government, since "the claimant failed to comply with department requirements and has failed to show any good cause for her failure to comply."

I also had to read through six pages of legalese to arrive at that statement. God help the 99% of the population that is stupider and less educated than I am as they try to decipher theirs.

Additionally, while reading through the five pages of laws I apparently broke by misunderstanding a form, I noticed that somewhere in this process that I "was identified pursuant to an automated profiling system as likely to exhaust regular unemployment benefits." I was trying to think of what could get me profiled in such a way. Until a few months ago I was steadily employed for 12+ years, paid my taxes, had never been arrested, was a college-educated native citizen of this country, and even boasted a moderately good credit rating.

Then I figured it out. It had to be a Hollywood thing. Hollywood's a pyramid. All the 22 year old assistants and mailroom kids are on the bottom. Maybe 50% of them quit after the first year and maybe 10% of that 50% make it to the next level. They become d-girls and d-boys. And of the 10% of the 50% that earn their own offices and assistants, maybe 5% of that 10% make VP and grab the brass ring of a six-figure salary and an unlimited expense account. Everyone below that level in Hollywood works a 70-80 hour week for which they are vastly underpaid.

So when the 95% of us that don't make VP hit the streets, totally lost after a bomb movie or a falling corporate stock price or a mega-producer's midlife crisis takes away our comfy middle-management jobs, I guess we end up milking the State of California for so much money that as a demographic, we've earned ourselves "risk" status. The Los Angeles EDD must see droves of overeducated kids with Paramount or Warner Brothers as their last job and no other marketable skills except to declare scripts as "derivative," "episodic" or "low-concept" and set off their version of a nuclear fallout warning system as soon as the filing notices arrive in their inboxes. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. I don't think I know a single D-boy or girl that has rebounded into a quality gig without spending at least 6 months twisting in the wind. Most take longer. After Charlie lost his first D-gig, he was out of work for 8 1/2 months. I even knew I a guy that, before he ended up as a New Line exec., had defaulted on over a year's worth of payments on his NYU loans, had two collection agencies after him, and was living on Campbell's soup and hotdogs toward the end of his 16-month stretch of unemployment. Now he's driving an Audi and sleeps with his BlackBerry on his pillow.

I'm glad I have poker in my life to make me a few extra bucks here and there as I navigate these waters "outside the system." My tourney score couldn't have come at a better time, and I've posted a win every day since making that cash. Making a nice cashout and operating with a full bankroll for the levels I'm playing helps tremendously in the confidence department for me. Any remaining fears I might have at the table evaporate. But the thing about having gone broke a couple of times and coming close a couple more times is that I know that the state I am in right now is temporary. I will lose again. The laws of numbers tell me that it is very unlikely I make another major MTT score this month. Which is not to say that I couldn't make one tonight.

Simply put, when I play short, I suck. When I play flush, I play goot. I make better decisions. I am not operating out of fear. I do not play to save bets. I play to earn entire pots. Why? Because like most people, money unfortunately still means something to me.

Making the score, making observations in my own play following the score across a number of games and situations, and looking back at my play while I was losing a lot in cash games back in March has taught me a tremendous amount about my own poker game (where I make mostly good decisions, at least in NLHE), my bankroll management (where I make some questionable decisions) to my own emotional management (where I probably make the worst decisions of all). All this navel-gazing has helped me begin to identify the Five Biggest Mistakes I've Made Playing Poker. Definitely something I'll expand on in the coming weeks in this space.

It's 30 minutes to the 17K, so I'd better get some food in my belly. I'm also watching the Yankees play Detroit and can only imagine how ballistic Derek and Pauly will go if the Yanks do end up giving up their six run lead. Stacee is also supposed to come over sometime tonight to get "her stuff"-- you know, the collection of CDs and thongs that girlfriends leave behind at guys' places to fuck with their heads. I offered to flee the apartment so they could talk, but Showcase wants me here.

"Are you kidding? The second she walks through the front door I want you on that couch with four tables open on Poker Stars exhaling a monster bong hit and yelling SHIP IT!"

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