The Crooked Link

Life of a Low Stakes Gambler...

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Paper by Grace A.

My friend Grace, aka my ex girlfriend, aka the ex who "busted" my blog, had a paper to write for her English 101 class.

She decided to pick me and my gambling obsession as her topic of writing. She wrote what I thought was an extremely well written paper. And no, I'm not just saying that because it's about me =)

Anyway, with Grace's permission I've decided to share the paper here on my blog.


And disregard the fact that she makes me sound like the next Brian Townsend. lol.

“You Got To Know When To Hold ‘Em, Know When To Fold ‘Em”

-Kenny Rogers

Learning to play poker at the age of 12 was merely the tip of the iceberg for Victor Ortiz, now 18. He was subconsciously destined to live the life of an underage gambler as the game has proven to be much more than a pastime. Attending casinos and hosting home games is nothing out of the ordinary for Ortiz, but these low stake bets must satisfy him until the big move to Las Vegas in three years. But why such an infatuation with poker and gambling?

As he sits in darkness with nothing but the glow of the television for light, his back resting against his headboard, watching the latest episode of Poker After Dark at two in the morning, Victor envisions himself at the table beside his idol, Daniel Negreanu. The Canadian born Negreanu, a few credits short of graduating, dropped out of high school to pursue a career in the sport. Negreanu became known as “Kid Poker” and quickly gained recognition for his ability to read people, eccentric yet wholesome demeanor, and knack for dominating the cards. In 1998, he became the youngest player to win a World Series of Poker bracelet and has earned four more since then.

Aspiring to be like Negreanu, Ortiz refines his technique regularly, putting it to the test during live sessions as well as online. “The pure competition,” he says, “drew me to poker. It’s the feeling of owning my opponent and knowing exactly what his hand is and knowing I was better than him that intrigued me.” Despite his drive to defeat his opponents, Victor has yet to perfect one aspect very vital to achieving success in the game; money management.

    Victor: I need to learn discipline. You can be a good poker player but if you have bad money management and go on tilt every time you have a bad session, you’re going to be broke most of the time.

Do you have good money management?

    Victor: No, not at all. That’s why I consider that my biggest weakness as a poker player and the main thing I want to improve.

There were times when Victor’s desire to gross a large cash reward ran through his body like melting lava erupting from a volcano, fueling his passion to win and burning a hole in his jeans’ pocket. Because of this, there were numerous occasion when he had given up the hope of making it big as a poker player. “I thought I was done. I really did,” he recalls, “I told myself last week that it was over. No more gambling for me. How long did that last? About a day and a half.” But beware, Ortiz does not consider poker to be “true gambling.” He explains that “it is a game of skill in which some luck is involved but in the long run, a skilled player will surpass a lucky one. When I’m at the poker table, I know I’m playing a game of skill. Sure, I also consider myself a gambler but only when it comes to sports betting or blackjack.”

Not only does Ortiz bet on sports but also on colloquial circumstances as well. This occurs most often during the slow slew of work at Gigio’s Pizzeria. He and his coworkers engage in intense, high wager, impromptu situations. A smiling Victor elaborates, “We'll gamble pretty much on anything. From coin flips to blackjack, to whether the next person who calls in is a man or a woman. And not just bubble gum change stakes either. There's been times were I've won upwards of $300 dollars in a single night on nothing but coin flips and blackjack.” Such activities do not end in the work place but are continued at school during lunch breaks, where the ante has exceeded from nickel and dimes to great sums of money.

Seeking every opportunity to earn a reputation as “a grinder today, a legend tomorrow,” Victor Ortiz is an unstoppable, determined, admirable figure in the world of up-and-coming poker players. Very few people endure and overcome the obstacles that following a dream requires and even fewer people achieve that dream. There is no doubt that with some time, a little practice and perseverance this young, intelligent man will be evaluating the mannerisms and calling the bluffs of top guns, like Daniel Negreanu.


Anonymous said...

Very well written.

Please, get her to write on crookedstraight lol


vtn said...

i agree with jd hah. who's head of human resources?

ps i will take the "gamble" out of sports-betting soon!

The Hero said...

Nice read although some flaws in the essay if it's really an essay. A lot of explanation was left out and after painting you as a degenerate gambler with no money management, she goes on to say that you have a bright future as a gambler because you're an intelligent. I don't doubt you have a bright future in gambling, nor that you are intelligent, but she doesn't touch on you being intelligent at all in the essay. Either way, good read on a touchy subject with today's underage gamblers. That being said, GL.

crookedlink said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

Kev- It was an assignment for a college class she's taking although as I understood it, the assignment was more of a grammatical exercise with emphasis on descriptive writing or something like that and not necessarily on actually tackling a social issue like underage gambling.

I do agree though, that the last paragraph in particular does not really seem to fit in with the "theme" of the rest of the essay and one is left wondering whether the point of the paper was to warn people about the dangers of teen gambling, or simply glorifying the issue.

I know your comments are of great merit though,since you majored in journalism if I'm not mistaken, so I'm sure she'll appreciate the constructive criticism.