Monday, May 05, 2008

I'm Baaaaaaaaack

Wow!! Nothing like a little mononucleosis to set your priorities straight, let me tell you. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Well, priority #1 of course is this:

So, here's the story of my past couple of weeks. Two Mondays ago, two weeks ago today in fact, my wife was out to dinner with her father and brother while I stayed home to sit for the sleeping kids. I ate dinner (a hamburger as I recall), watched some tv and sat down to play some online poker. At some point shortly before Mondays at the Hoy went off at 10pm ET, I started to feel sick. In fact, I remember having already agreed earlier that evening to a last-longer bet in the 50-50 with Chad, but then bagging on it like five minutes before the 9:30pm ET start time because, as I told Chad in the girly, I was feeling like ass all of a sudden. I still played the Hoy, and amazingly, I final tabled it. But I was feeling horrible. I felt like I have felt in the past when I've gotten a particularly strong bout of food poisoning, minus the digestive issues. I had a massive fever and strong headache, pretty much out of nowhere, and my whole body just felt weak. Food poisoning is the best analogy I can come up with right now to what it was like. Anyways, I was too effed up to even play my game for the most part, and there I was final tabling it anyways. It's just so poker isn't it? I may have written a post about it at the time, I don't remember. The whole first week is basically a complete blur as I look back on it.

Over Monday night I sweated like I have never sweated before. Like, I had to change my shirt in the middle of the night, and then again when I woke up. Believe me, I understand that is disgusting, and also believe me when I say I'm leaving most of the really gross symptoms I had out of this description, but the night sweats were one of the craziest parts of this entire thing as I look back on it. Tuesday morning I woke up from a night of night sweats feeling actually ok. I had taken some advil when I got up to change shirts during the night, and my raging hot fever had broken in the last few hours of the night. I figured finally, my food poisoning bout is over, and I went to work.

Unfortunately, by Tuesday afternoon I was feeling pretty bad again. I don't take my temperature as a rule, but one of my super powers has always been to know my own temperature within maybe a full degree, probably less. Anyways, I knew I was sporting a solid fever and I had that same weak-ass feeling again. In my muscles. In every muscle of my body at once. I trooped it out until 5pm and took off shortly afterwards. I was asleep probably 5 minutes after coming in the door, sleeping in my suit and everything. Fuck getting undressed.

Anyways, without going through the minutiae, Wednesday was basically the same as Tuesday. I had insane night sweats all Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, changed my shirt twice overnight, took some advil and woke up feeling ok. I went to the office but by afternoon was feeling feverish and shitty again, left at 5 and went straight to sleep. Finally on Thursday even the overnight shot of advil failed to do the trick, and I woke up with probably a 103 degree fever, a sweaty, confused and weak as shit mess. I called my office and said I wasn't coming in, but I worked my job from home. Same story on Friday, when Hammer Wife finally convinced me to go to the doctor. They spoke to me, took my temperature (102.3 as I recall, and trust me when I say I had cooled considerably from what my body was doing every night), checked my vitals and took some blood.

The weekend was spent with me sweating out the evenings in my bed -- completely ruining a fairly expensive mattress over the course of this whole thing btw -- and basically sleeping maybe 19, 20 hours a day otherwise. I could literally not walk the 30 feet to the bathroom without needing a nap. I didn't want to eat because, basically, it was literally too tiring to get out of bed and walk all the way to the kitchen. It was literally tiring on my mouth muscles to chew all that food. I would lie in bed psyching myself up for two hours just to get out of bed and walk to the family room to get something. It hurt so ungodly bad just to do anything other than lie down in bed, that this was when it occurred to me that I was probably dying. I had given blood at the doctor a week and a half ago on Friday, and over the weekend while I awaited the results that did not eventually come until Tuesday of last week, I spent a lot of time thinking. I honestly believed I was going to hear that I had cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, some stoopid shit like that. I spent hours thinking about my life, my family, and how I could let myself get sick like this and threaten losing everything if I can't get better. I was all kinds of fucked up, sick as a dawg physically and emotionally just beating myself up and really convincing myself I was dying.

Finally last Tuesday I got the results of my bloodwork -- I had the Epstein-Barr virus, more commonly known as mononucleosis. Yes, the kissing disease. That's me, kissing strangers all day. Now, my doctor refused to believe I could have mono, a disease only transmittable by direct saliva-to-saliva contact and therefore normally not contracted by thirtysomething married men. So she ran a bunch more tests, had me come in for an abdominal ultrasound, but in the end all that stuff proved negative. I have mono, regardless of how I got it. All my concern about the early termination of my life was wrong. And like I said above, I have got to tell you, that can give you some great fucking perspective on things. On blogging, on poker, on the relevance and the importance of these things in my overall life view. I learned some lessons over the past couple of weeks that I will never forget, I guarantee you that.

So yeah, I have the "kissing disease". Like I said, I would be the first to take credit if I had been kissing a bunch of strange women, but that is simply not the case. Hammer Wife made some faces at me and squawked a little bit about me having mono, she wanted to know how I would get something like that, etc. So I told her fine, I would be more than happy to submit to a polygraph exam regarding my recent activities. Hammer Wife seemed excited by the proposition of this. But then I let her know that my only condition is that the polygraph will be mutual, and I will be asking her the exact same questions that she wants to ask me in regard to my recent activities. I also made sure Hammer Wife knew that the scope of my inquiries regarding her activities would most definitely include why, unlike my older daughter, my younger daughter looks, acts and seems nothing like me at all and why she always calls our 85-year-old toothless doorman "daddy" every time she sees him. Interestingly, as soon as I made this clear, Hammer Wife quickly dropped the whole polygraph thing. So, as a result, you all are just going to have to trust me that I did not contract mono through kissing anyone with the disease, but somehow I got it nonetheless. My best guess? Some dude is making my turkey sandwich at the corner deli. He has mono, he sneezes into my sandwich, puts the top on, and three minutes later there I am eating the thing. Or, some dude with the Epstein-Barr virus puts his hand in his mouth and then on the subway pole. Four minutes later at my stop, he is gone and I step on to the train, and I hold the same pole in the same spot where his hand was. Then I have an itch at the corner of my mouth, and voila, there's your mono. It has to be something like that.

Anyways, at this point I will return to work this week after missing seven of the past eight days, although I worked from home, a full schedule, every single day while I was out. And I would not be returning to the office this week if I wasn't feeling a little bit better, a little bit stronger. Most of my symptoms have subsided or disappeared completely at this point which is great. That said, I am still tired as fuck. I go out for a short walk, or I go out to lunch, taking a cab both ways, for an hour, and when I get home I sleep for three hours in the middle of the day to make up for the lost energy that the trip costs me. I am still tired as shit. I haven't played a lick of online poker in nearly two full weeks now, other than the blonkaments where I felt a duty to donate and, basically play like a blogger for a change. So I've donked out immediately within 5 or 10 minutes in every single event, basically the first time I get any kind of top pair or two-overcard hand I just move allin or call allin and see what happens. It's been fun in a way, this playing like a blogger for a couple of weeks, though the results of course have been hideous. It's what I've needed. I'm only now getting to the point where I could even fathom staying up past midnight playing in any poker tournament, even from the comfort of my own bed, and frankly I'm still not sure I can really do it. But I plan to find out tonight at the MATH and see if I can play some real tournament poker for the first time in a couple of weeks.

Speaking of the MATH for a bit, congrats to last week's winner cmitch. Boy, the BBT3 Tournament of Champions got noticeably tougher last week, huh? With cmitch's win in the MATH and Surflexus storming his way in I believe the Skills Series last week, let's just say thank god that Lucko apparently did not chop with Columbo in last week's Mookie despite Lucko already having won two seats to the ToC, or that would have been three of the most fearsome names in the blonkaments all getting in to the ToC in the same week. As it is, adding cmitch and surf to the fray makes the entire thing that much more legitimate, and that much more difficult to win the big prizes.

Btw if you are here and have not yet read about Lucko's disgustingly huge news from the live tournament poker world this weekend, you are in the wrong place. Go read that first, then you can come back here after you know wtf is going on.

Anyways, I will note that there was yet another seat chop in the BBT last week. Of course, as on multiple occasions during the week we had the heads-up battle in a BBT tournament that included one player who had already won a seat. I want to thank again the very, very small few of you out there who did not make a peep the first time a seat was chopped in the BBT3 when it did not involve me, but then decided to create a huge ruckus suddenly the second time a seat was chopped, which miraculously was the time when I was involved. Acting like it was I who created the whole idea of chopping for a seat, blaming me for ruining the poker blogiverse. Then two players not including me chop again a couple of weeks later, and? [crickets chirping]. It's funny. I just continue to not only add new haters but to convert supporters into haters at a generous pace. What can I say, it's a gift.

Speaking of the BBT3 seat chops, there is a seriously delicious irony going on about the entire situation that's been complained about, and I haven't heard or read it anywhere although admittedly I've been completely out of commission from the blogiverse for a good couple weeks now while my body has been ravaged by the kissing disease. While a very small minority of people have publicly complained about the whole notion of chopping for a BBT Tourament of Champions seat, the essence of the complaints has been that declining to play it out is ruining the spirit of what these games were supposed to be for in the first place. These guys argue that the final two players should have to just play it out to the death, even if one player already has a seat, or for some other reason knows he can't use the ToC seat or simply values cash in hand more than the theoretical cash value of his entry into the ToC, and that anything else is ruining the "just have fun" spirit of our games.

What's happened in the end is a rash of people agreeing to sell the ToC seat in deals, but settling for less money than others personally value the ToC seat alone to be worth. I've heard the figure of $550 or some shit like that kicked around, and I think that figure is silly because a good half of the people currently in the ToC in my view have close to zero chance of cashing in one of the top four spots in the series-ending Tournament of Champions, and most of them know it. To think that a person who knows he isn't very strong at no-limit holdem, doesn't play against the bloggers enough to know anything about them individually, and/or already has a seat somehow assigns $550 worth of value to their freeroll "buyin" at the end of the ToC, simply reflects a lack of understanding of how most of these people think. And don't get me wrong, I feel ya on the $550 thing, if you want to argue what Lucko's or cmitch's or surf's "value" of their ToC entry is, and I'm fine with that (it is probably somewhat higher even, due to the half-the-field of dead money I described above), but that figure is redonkulous for most of the people agreeing to chops so far as far as I can tell.

Anyways, what the fair "value" of selling a ToC seat in a chop is isn't even the point I'm trying to make at all. Much the opposite -- I'm saying that value is irrelevant. And this is the delicious irony of the whole thing that I referred to above. The real reason people keep agreeing to sell ToC seats in chops for less than some people could argue the seat itself is worth is really quite simple: these people do get it. They get it maybe in a different way from those are oppose seat chops on principle, but look at what they're doing. These are people who have chip leads in some cases, or people who already have secured themselves a ToC seat, and they're agreeing to sell the seat to their heads-up opponent, and they're not even going to extort maximum dollar from them either! Can you believe it? Two people, part of the same group, participating in the same intra-group challenge where in the end it really is all supposed to be about Having Fun, and when they agree to chop, the person "in the lead" is even agreeing to a decent price to sell the seat.

How terrible! What a horrible outcome of the BBT! People within the poker blogging community are being nice to each other? What! Fellow poker bloggers moved by their nature and the nature of the greatness of the BBT to not require absolute maximum dollar from a fellow colleague in exchange for something of value? Greed not taking absolute precedence over all other ends in connection with the BBT? What an embarrassment to us all.

Of course, this whole notion is patently ridiculous. The bottom line is, this fine example from the chopping we have seen in the BBT is yet another example of why I am so proud to be a part of the BBT. I understand that this position makes me public enemy number one in the eyes of a small minority of the bloggers.

So the fuck what. A couple of weeks away while for a while there I honestly thought I was dying has really given me some fabulous perspective on this whole ghey thing we do. Guys, think whatever the fuck you want about me. Believe me when I say I don't give a fuck. I like to use the blog to speak my mind and that is gonna mean people aren't going to like me sometimes. I didn't used to believe this but after all the years I have accepted this as postulate #1 about being a blogger who people read. And I don't even judge people for it, I honestly don't. I'd love to meet up with every person who complained about me chopping a tournament and share a beer. Hell, I'll buy the beer for creating such negative feelings in you in the first place.

But anyways, I mean what I said, and now seems like a good time to clarify what I wrote a couple of weeks back about the BBT. I am proud as shit to be a part of the BBT, and to have really helped hatch the whole idea way back when in a drunken conversation in some bar at the Borgata with Al. I think I have been fully open from the beginning about my entire feelings on the BBT. That we can give away so much fucking great stuff to the bloggers -- absolutely free stuff I said -- and basically play the very same private tournaments we were going to play anyways, and do so rake-free on top of everything else, I mean it's the ultimate no-brainer. The BBT is the coolest thing that has come out of the world of poker blogging in the over three years I have been involved in the community. There's nothing else even close guys. The fact that we are right now playing for nearly $40,000 in free prizes and giveaways from full tilt, and again doing so in the very same tournaments I would have been playing every week anyways, for the past couple of months and will end up awarding seven bloggers with WSOP prize packages between April and July, that shit speaks for itself, and it does so with the loud and booming voice and someone who knows they are absolutely huge.

If some people don't like what the existence of a thing like the BBT has done to the spirit of our weekly private blogger-hosted tournaments, then so be it. As I've written about before, I feel them on that one. I've said it many times, but it definitely does I think pretty obviously change the nature of our games from a place to just Have Fun to a place where something serious is riding on the outcome. That's just the price we all pay to get all this crazy awesome free shit, thanks to Al and his incredible ability to sell what we're doing to the marketing heavies at full tilt. If you are someone who thinks the BBT on balance is a negative thing, then that is where you and I have diverged in our views. And I'm always one for respecting other people's viewpoints, and I feel that same way here. But I would suggest there is a reason that there appear to be about three or four people who feel that way, and about 250 people who think like I do, which is that the BBT kicks mega ass in such an obvious, self-evident way that it hardly even bears genuine discussion.

Yes, the BBT does impact the spirit of our games, and I think that changed nature of our weekly games weighs on most of us out there, myself definitely included as I have made no bones about over the past year on this blog. Do I think we should have all of our regular weekly blogger events be BBT tournaments for eight months over a 12-month span? No. I don't. But if I have given the impression that this means that I somehow think the BBT is "bad for bloggers", as Sean first asked me when I was on Live Poker Radio a few weeks back, then I just have to laugh. The BBT? Bad for bloggers? Huh? So we got 7k in free stuff last spring, and 20k in free stuff last winter. Now another 40k in free stuff this spring. Yeah. It's just terrible isn't it? What a truly recockulous notion, even for a blogger to conceive of. And let me tell you, that right there is really saying something.

I've said it before and I will say it again. The BBT is the single greatest thing to come out of or into the world of poker blogging in my three years plus of being intimately involved with this group. I understand that a very small group of others is unhappy with the effect on our weekly games that the seriousness of the BBT has brought, and to an extent, perhaps more than most of you, I understand that feeling and even experience it myself to a degree. But if you don't see that the trade-off is a hugely positive one on balance, then what else can I say? You and I have divergent opinions on that point, and that's just the way it is. I love the BBT and I still wake up most days in complete and utter disbelief that us bunch of donkeys somehow are being given away all this thousands and upon thousands of dollars of free shit, World Series of poker buyins, other major tournament entries, all this cash, everything, and all in exchange for just doing what we would dam well be doing anyways. Wow. Al truly is The Man.

Tomorrow, my Vegas plans.

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Blogger Bayne_S said...

Columbo already had a seat from winning 1st MATH of BBT3.

Glad to see you are wel enough to create a 10k word post.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Wait, did these 10k words of pompousness write itself??? :)

Glad to see you are feeling better Hoy!

1:03 AM  
Blogger BamBam said...

Glad you're back !

1:15 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

glad your back..Did you ever have mono before in college or law school. It can lay dormant and recur as good old Epstein Barr from what I have been told. I had mono in college and yes you feel like dog crap for awhile. Oh yeah no drinking for a few months. I drank too soon and got really drunk/sick really quickly liver couldnt handle it.. (I know your thinking oh the horror)

1:25 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Never had it before, IG.

The no drinking thing sucks, but right now the thought of drinking is far from my mind given the way I feel most evenings anyways.

2:39 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...

Whew, at least it wasn't the HIV.....

3:15 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Infection usually occurs in people age 10-35. I got in in college, and it was the most miserable two weeks of my life. Back of the throat was completely white, I had a hard time swallowing, and could only take pills to knock myself out so that I wouldn't feel the pain. I hope you get past it fast.

Of course, the long post tells us that you are already well on your way ... lol

3:50 AM  
Blogger Mr Subliminal said...

Get well soon.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

free bet

jeez what a rant, u had me aching to see the VS fashion show, i thought the news was sommit about that

6:16 AM  
Blogger Instant Tragedy said...

This post written by Hoy's Mono which he contracted (redacted).

Glad you threw open the polygraph option, but remember those are not 100% accurate. Waffles took one and said he wasn't a losing player. So that should tell you what that is worth.

Seriously, the BBT3 and soon BBTFO will continue to grow due to the generousity of sponsors and the good players that continue to play.

Hope you feel better, but if this is just a preview of what you have up your sleeve...

We can't wait!

Get well!


6:17 AM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

Wash your hands and gargle regularly from this day forward.

8:22 AM  
Blogger oossuuu754 said...

I agree the TOC definetly got tougher last week, thank God I won the Riverchasers and added some "dead money" to the TOC.

Glad your Back

8:21 PM  
Blogger lj said...

ig, not positive but i thought it couldn't come back. i did think it could lead to chronic fatigue syndrome, which once you have doesn't go away. probably should have wikipediaed this or something...

12:03 AM  

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