All About The Benjamins

I was cajoled into a focus group about a new application for iphones. This application locates poker games. The session was at an apartment in Downtown Los Angeles which overlooked the Staples Center. It was a very nice place, but not necessarily the home of the Sultan of Brunei. The host and entrepeneur behind this program was a professional poker player. He was a young kid, so I was unsure what in his mind constituted a professional. Was he someone who played at dollar games and had a trust fund and no job hence he could call himself a poker pro? So after he asked me a myriad of questions over whether I would buy the app  or what it could possess to make it a superior product I asked him what stakes he played.

“I usually play three six limit.”

I was thinking, “This is a pro?” I should then be calling myself a pro. I asked him, “So you sit at a table with 200 bucks?”

He corrected me, ‘No, I play three hundred six hundred limit.” This meant the bets are in increments of $300 the first two rounds of betting and $600 in the last two rounds. My jaw dropped. You would have to sit down at the table with at least $12,000 to have a realistic shot of winning a hand.

I don’t consider myself a materialistic person. Excessive displays of wealth nauseate me. But at the same time throwing money around like it is out of style impresses me. Perhaps it is my inner competitor. If life is a game, then what else quantifies success besides money?

I’m fully aware that most rich people are miserable. Any waiter at a fancy restaurant will gladly back up that statement with a thousand stories about a jerkoff with a five hundred dollar bill who complains vocally throughout all six courses. And if I had a million dollars I would have no idea what to spend it on as comic books and vegan food only cost so much. So why the other day did I have so much admiration for someone with no other quality than vast sums of disposable income?

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2 thoughts on “All About The Benjamins

  1. I don’t think you were admiring, not from the way it sounded. Just atonished at how overly flippant people can be with money. Must be nice to have 12K to potentially lose in a game of poker. But, I imagine he takes this seriously and truly feels he is something special because he knows how to out fox his table competitors. But just like an actor, pro athlete, and pro gamblers, what have you really done for the whole of humanity but help to reinforce a sentiment that life is a competition and only the richest (monetarily) are truly successful?

    I watched Michael Moore’s documentary Capitalism: A Love Story, and it’s amazing at how Capitalism can be, in some regards, just as bad, and in some cases worse, than Communism (aka Socialism). Neither benefits the people, the ones that do all of the work and it kinda lends credulence to the belief I have, for some time now, that we don’t live in a true democracy anymore and may not have for hundreds of years. It just seems more paramount lately.

    It would be interesting to see a day come where everyone was suddenly put on the same level, no rich, poor or middle class, and see who survives. Honestly, it would be your hardest workers that know how to get things done and don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out how to do it. A lot of rich people have the know how, but don’t know how to apply it quickly. While a lot of poor people don’t have the know how, but have nothing to lose. Maybe they would just kill each other off, while the middle class run off and get out of their way (smart).

    • No, it was definite admiration. The root cause is probably somewhere deep within the recess of my hunter/gatherer gene. Since in our society it’s not so impressive to gather blueberries or hunt down wild boar, the accumulation of cold, hard cash is what sets off that strange conflicting emotion of envy.

      I’m always down for a revolution though. Let’s make society into a game. Make money illegal and see who can continue to survive or even prosper. I’m sure all the networks would get in a bidding war to broadcast it.

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