Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Poker in the rear

As a strangely-shaped white dude, I'm struck by the bizarrehood of the professional/televised poker phenomenon. Most of the time, it looks like a confab of fat dudes with bad facial hair, pale skin, dot-com poker room ballcaps, and wraparound Oakleys. The swagger-per-ounce that these guys emit doesn't jive with just how unfuckable these chaps look.

Professional poker players sit around tables tossing little laminated pieces of cardboard around a felt table -- all year round. I have no truck with poker; many of my best friends love the shit out of it, and through their enthusiasm I see why even if I can't get excited about it. No, it's the picture that poker makes for itself on ESPN2 that gets me, with crowds of strangely-shaped white dudes (and the occasional Asian wunderkind and smoking-hot brunette chickie for good measure) sitting around a table emitting alpha-male waves without actually doing anything to earn it.

This phenomenon is reminiscent to me of the nerd-ego complex that dungeonmasters and Scrabble wizzes get -- I am ALL man, and I will crush you. It's strange to see that male blintz of aggro hormones manifest itself outside a physically violent arena, where it's more customarily found.

The badass cardsharp with his badass soul patch and badass wraparounds is saying, "I may be chubby, pale, and homely, but I have this much up on that guy over there because I've played my way into $1,000 over the last week."

And frankly I guess I envy them, because being a dungeonmaster and a comic book freak has never expanded my ego.