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?