Greater Love

Higher Love

The play is for the upper floor.

I four-bet AQ huge. Too massive. It’s deliberate. Nonetheless a mistake, simply not the one you assume it’s: I ought to have moved all-in.

I’m not grousing. I’m stunned myself at how that is proper, and the way proper it’s. It’s new to me once more, this revelation of one-spot precision, devoted to 1 particular motion participant. It’s like relearning poker.

There’s extra. Bankrolls aren’t infinite, regardless of all of the akschwawlie this line prices you two tenths of a bb per hundred midwit stuff: I’ve to win, should win. The truth is, I simply bet-jammed AK on J10x for 170 bbs into 40, realizing precisely what he had and the way he would fold it.

One for one. I can’t afford to mess up as of late. That cute variance calculator they love to chop and paste from isn’t going to assuage me proper this second, with monetary pressures like a compactor round my trash life.

So I do know the reply earlier than I ask the query: it’s as a result of I didn’t take the upper floor.

One for 2.

The superior posture, the authoritative place. It’s what everybody goals for in every little thing, in all places however right here in poker technique, it’s particularly uncommon, and so all of the extra helpful.

The usual play, alternatively, is extra of a self-serving compromise, an accounting of prospects. The true finest transfer has no center floor in any respect. As a substitute, it’s the rarity, the maximal exploit, the one-time that by no means comes once more. It’s so good it even typically appears like… dishonest. Or possibly simply experience: not everybody appears to know the distinction as of late.

Both means, one for 2 isn’t sufficient for me.

I’m at house when the newest poker scandal – one nearly scheduled, it’s so apparent it’s about to occur – reaches me. After I have a look at the break up display screen and see this girl, as energetic and the love of it as one would possibly moderately anticipate, holding her smile with solely a little bit of ache however now rising sullen, my consideration quickens.

What is occurring to her?

The easy reality is – principally nothing. She’s talked for hours; he’s talked for hours. It’s an interview, I suppose, however how little they are saying. It’s a babble I acknowledge, although: the candy strategic whispers which encircle and ensorcel. We’re listening to the indicators which inform us how we’re to see and really feel the speaker. To affirm their self-creation. To affect.

They’re preventing for the upper floor.

It’s a drag earlier than it blows, however I get the sensation nobody is meant to inform the emperor and empress, at the very least whereas the parade is all kazoos and cheers and unfavourable positivity and affirmatory fuck-yous. Joey is a enjoyable facet of poker tradition, in fact. Continually smoothed out on gummies, piquing in pitter-pater nonsense patois, his social media stream is our tradition’s epicenter of gossip and persona preening. He’s our Right now Present host, our Oprah. Berkey the Pale, nevertheless sharp and researched, as a result of he’s sharp and researched, is a mere try-hard, comparatively – he’s merely not the newborn within the solar the poker infants wish to see; even the excoriated will decide him to vent upon, absurdly.

Joey made his bones being a pleasant public confidant for prime stakes watercooler speak, the chatpro’s chatpro.joey11 He’s all flash and components, the overall of “GTO” headquarters, precinct captain on the “RTA” station. Of late the branding for his social media gossip membership is of “investigator,” though he by no means goes anyplace or finds something, preferring to relay the work of the churning poker neighborhood in countless interview stream tell-alls that includes our z-list betters and bettors. As a substitute of being the chatpro’s avatar, now he’s their curiosity, their host with essentially the most. (The apotheosis of his model might be a tremendous Jungle vs. Berk vs. Beanz throwdown the place Berkey’s easy logic can’t penetrate anybody’s cranium, resulting in a number of the most enjoyable and wild poker content material in weeks.) There’s even a hysterical cartoon of our Sherlock Homie “fixing” issues in Scooby Doo motif – picture is every little thing.

Picture isn’t a joke, although. The idol gathers, consolidates, attracts in and focuses the powers that be. Joey strikes the dialog, he units the tone. Joey will get away with speculations that doom his rivals; he’s fluffered and lionized. Above all, he’s enjoyable when the others should not. What’s additionally enjoyable is you won’t even know which scandal I’m speaking about.

All interviews are relationships. The one I’m watching is interminable and uncomfortable, like a wedding slowly revealed as mistaken, the person and the lady discovering contempt after having outlived their urgent wishes and fears. Our loveable bro and event angel inform us that he and she or he are “associates.” Possibly so; poker and Hollywood have quite a bit in frequent. Nevertheless, associates don’t want seven-hour battle periods to account for his or her mutual habits. Insta affidavits and Twitter accolades should not even onerous vouches with cash and blood behind them. This stuff are known as efficiency, content material, media. Precise friendship is gradual, unremunerated, untallied. It’s there with out an viewers; in reality, friendship protects one from the viewers.

Friendship is proof against the upper floor.

Nevertheless, every little thing will be transformed into the suitable posture on the proper temperature. You may soften even friendship right into a place, a weapon, if you must appear vital, beloved, appreciated, good at poker, an alpha hottie. It’s the idea of social media, this corruption of relationships, of the social bond, into emotional promoting. Social media is pornography for the enterprise day, which is why it arrests us so fervently, why it’s so worthwhile, and why nobody thinks to cease or to cease it. For us poker gamers and our uncommon twenty-four hour life, it’s all the more severe. The workplace is at all times open late, the nightingale at all times singing us to bounce, click on, fap.

And that’s simply the primary or second one, the scandals already beneath the bridge, the failure previous. No, I didn’t shove, didn’t make the right play, and so he continues with seven-three and shoves his flush draw over my guess; I name whereas forward and am drawing lifeless on the flip. No, your spouse doesn’t go on stream dressed like an out-call if the wedding is working; no, you don’t share the Zoom channel if you happen to respect him or her; no, you don’t play beneath different gamers’ accounts or avert your eyes when your coaches are ghosting your horses; no, you don’t write notes in different individuals’s names to maintain the highlight heated.

These are errors. Errors occur within the struggle for the upper floor.

I bear in mind taking {a photograph} of Ebony on my event gig: candy and beaming, so clearly accustomed to the digital camera already in younger 2017, all resistance and avocado toast and Dua Lipa. How might or not it’s that she was on meals stamps then – the timeframe is correct – when her hair and future have been fuller, and her thoughts much less made up, within the confusion and pleasure of youth? Who was hurting her then? And who did she harm?

The upper floor betrays.

To outlive, we make compromises that fail to max out our EV on a regular basis. We elevate to the correct amount, lose, however St. Peter and St. Marx and all of the lords of the world, our Orangemen and Brandons, all of the false-hearted judges who enumerate our beginnings and our ends, mark us down for our social Sklansky {dollars}. You probably did the correct factor, baby, comrade, good friend – take this and drink from it.

It solely prices a phrase and a smile to take the upper floor.

Whereas Robbi is a thriller, she is clear, solely a synthetic moon across the origin of all of it, her web-spinning husband, huckster of narrative, promoter, charlatan, coin service provider, dream tornado and social climber. He’s the victimizer and victimologist, a covid profiteer and rising star of Los Angeles, the red-hot meridian of American popular culture and lies. He’s each ominous and cowardly, his phrases threatening and subservient – he is aware of how one can make associates. How she should have worshipped him, as soon as, he a high-flyer, her his co-pilot. What led her to this state? What brings you into playing, the cube den, the baccarat ritual, the Rip’n Beanz Present? Poker is so small, our issues so trivial, but will our little circus tent of hole-card monte in reality bleed over into actuality due to Garrett’s delight?

Charles is aware of the upper floor higher than anybody. He’s a main Jokerman. Buckle up, he warbles. Don’t worry him as a result of he is aware of the legislation – nobody is aware of the legislation – however as a result of he has extra vital individuals than you do. Mates. We all know him properly, as a result of we poker gamers are of the identical tribe. Are you a good friend.eth? (Beanz is upset his bidness is out in public, thought he was associates with Berk after that six-hour sesh.)


Then Charles disappears: the upper floor is an phantasm.

Left to her personal units, Robbi is unmoored. She is logicless and logorrheic. She makes affords to play anybody, everybody. She shouts down her detractors and the persecutor inside. Rather than Ebony’s contrived and fragile poise, Robbi is haughty and deranged, false as her insides. She is L.A. incarnate, desexualized by her clear organic exaggerations but unsatiated by the world’s response to them. Her invisible twin sister is her ravenous id.

But she’s no felony, and she or he’s not the one one. Robbi is a denizen of a metropolitan tradition so dense and complicated its personal authorities has management in title solely. Her police are brutal, drugged, afraid of their inconceivable duties; her politicians are matinee stars for the night information and nationwide click-bait ideologues. The countless L.A. daylight doesn’t expose corruption, it hardens everybody and every little thing into serving corruption. Los Angeles has at all times been explosive, prepared for its stressed and overfed beasts to bridle and bust out in fireplace and protest. To search out her middle is to make Robbi Jade Lew disappear and discover Rabia Hussain, immigrant and aspirant, only a regular woman on the sport present the place you get thrown off the constructing. Spurned wives, peripatetic husbands, immigrants of a thousand tribes together with plain outdated hungry Okies escaping the mud, all crouch and mill on this capitol for rubbish and gold. (Finally the scandal will disappear as a result of we’d like the financial system again underground, the house and app video games, the actual story no “investigator” will ever contact, want fish from the stream, the spice should move.)

So, Robbi might be gone from our minds quickly sufficient, as a result of the upper floor is at all times solely quickly occupied.

It’s a little bit disturbing, how we flirt with being dangerously unsuitable so as to be proper. I’ve spent years instructing myself, then my college students, the superior EV of the elevate, not the ridiculous shove, clearly. Even that goes awry. Just lately, one in all them did some napkin-math and concluded my internet teaching hourly, so affordable on paper, is in reality what’s delicately known as the minimal wage. I scoffed on the thought, however ought to I’ve been so positive? I made her undergo the tough figures, noting all of the extras, the prep time and conferences and analyzing homework. She was nearer than I believed.

Now why would I do this to myself? The place was I going? However I already knew the reply.

But the bottom had already shifted beneath me, till I not knew the place I stood.

Joey’s again, extra himself for the massive one, firing off gringo Spanish like an FM radio jockey, a cartoon pimp. He’s much less and fewer Oprah because the scandal performs out, no, he’s Jerry Springer, and he’s lining up the visitors for the gauntlet of cheers and boos. The cowboy dirtbag lover-cum-staker comes on and we snort with him. Go, Jerry, go. Joey tells Marle he doesn’t know sufficient about dick sucking for stakes, whereas she pauses, questioning if he simply implied what he simply implied. Does he even know? He fires off phrases unconsciously, phrases unwittingly. His phrases don’t even should make sense: he praises BIll Perkins for his “mind frequencies.” Haralabopulous is reducing and snarky, he’s Rodney Dangerfield on much less donuts however all of the strains. Tweaker Tom is on; by no means meet your idols on crack, as they are saying. When Joey has the inspiration to place Robbi and Julie collectively, he can’t think about what would possibly occur when the cat and canine are dropped in the identical cage. Nobody pays consideration as a result of it occurs too quick, it’s all perspective, smoke, jokes and jokermen. Money them outdoors.


So, quite a lot of comedy, however… it’s working.  Joey or somebody like him is important to poker. That is how the market responds, how a small city solves its crimes. Joey is your Curious Cathy who is aware of everybody’s enterprise and finds out who stole the flour, who takes the cake, who killed the cat. Berkey and the remainder of the poker corridor displays, bumbling after him, have been proper after they introduced down Postle and are proper once more – that is our mannequin, one which rewards the click-seeker pretty for his labors. Penetrate the tradition, shield its establishments, preserve shedding layers of pores and skin, preserve forgetting what poker is, preserve the gravy prepare chugging.

The upper floor is leisure.

No, the comedy by no means ends, as a result of the seek for authority by no means does. Joey bristles when reminded he’s a gossip columnist and gladhander by poker crank Norm. Berkey valiantly sticks his thumb within the dam over the stream whereas a billion {dollars} passes unregulated on the little inexperienced river app. Alex tells us he’s “actually” the final hero on “Group Robbi.” Charlie catalogs some fingers. Everybody makes use of the scandal as an excuse to lose their minds, whereas I desperately restrain myself from saying something, from contributing to the hysteria.

I do admire Garrett, even when he’s unsuitable, regardless that I do know he’s a slippery L.A. beast, too, a person of the mirrors, ambition with a smile. He protected himself as finest he might, saved his head on a swivel, even managed to get some a reimbursement from an inexplicably responsible participant. Possibly it wasn’t finally the righteous factor, even when it felt proper, however the identical individuals who problem their percentages day by day must be clever sufficient to acknowledge Garret took his odds, too, and with out their hindsight. Condemning him post-hoc is an act of dangerous religion for anybody who makes choices for a dwelling, however It’s nonetheless not my place to problem one million tweets on it, not if I worth my very own opinion, paradoxically. These individuals aren’t my associates, and so they’re in all probability not yours both.

Mates don’t take the upper floor to really feel good.

What if you happen to’re proper, although? If you lastly do hit a goal, when your posture is correct, are you even a hero? Joey’s questions, which have been simply swatted by a extra fastidious accused, Bryn, convulse poor Ebony, our darling and flamable dangerous bitch and delicate soul. But nobody wished this, Bryn was the quarry. We don’t need Ebony immiserated, we don’t need Robbi struggling. We wish our idols smiling and glad, their eyes glowing. Nevertheless, nobody can preserve them from doing all this to themselves. They have been exploding from the start; their illusions are a lit fuse.

Few can maintain the upper floor for lengthy.

In the long run, Joey and Ebony disagree primarily given that their English just isn’t significantly sturdy – neither makes a superb or good religion interpretation of what they or the humorously home-body moderator was saying. Then, even Joey is briefly outbabbled for as soon as by Robbi and her retinue of weirdos and biotech toothpaste cash shufflers and Covid-sponsored craps desk greenback retailer buffoons; cling with the losers and turn out to be one your self. Hearken to them lengthy sufficient and begin to assume like them.

The upper floor is hypnotic.

Robbi is escaping the web as a result of all of it was pure to poker, her crime, if there even was one, was not even precisely against the law, particularly not for the Angelenos. It’s simply one other enjoyable cosmopolitan night, one other journey for the lols and Instagram. The chips arrive on the desk as a result of she is Robbi, not as a result of she must pay for them: she has no thought why something occurs, why do you assume you possibly can educate her now? She doesn’t even appear to know her interlocutors on a grammatical stage; put to the take a look at, she solutions a closing sure or no query with “possibly.” Julie would wish signal language and a skit to reveal why you set down the bathroom seat all the way down to Robbi, by no means thoughts to clarify playing tradition nuances. She is a teen who screeches when denied and who cries when scolded. She has by no means been really informed no, and so she stays an adolescent in a close to forty-year-old physique sculpted into thirty. Above all, she continuously regrets having no intercourse tape instead of her extra mediocre and certain unintentional scandal.

Two for 3, possibly higher. Good work, Papi.

The upper floor is tough to maintain, as a result of it was by no means what was proper that mattered. We’re awash in opinions, an countless tsunami of foolishness, a hurricane of lies that expends itself solely upon stable land, exhausted by turning pixels into faces, lies into truths. Freedom could also be simply across the nook, however the greater floor and all of the phrases of the jokermen are already right here, drying, calming, tempting. Consider me and fall asleep.

The podcast individuals holler and whoop for blood, however that’s not justice. The thought of punishing individuals on any facet of the road, of shuttling them from their little patch of turf, whether or not Kade, Bilzerian, or Kenney, for taking Nagy’s cash, for watching poker streams however demanding the individuals all file quarterly with the IRS and salute the flag, is on its face preposterous. The place does the cash come from, righteous ones? Sure, from you, from each scummy event grinder that ever chased down the dragon, each self-medicated bum-hunting buzzard, each upstanding bot-owner who avails himself of the ACR watering-hole. Each chatpro, each Twittertwit, filled with dread, who slavered over some outclassed girl abused by everybody else for some unknown and temporary private putsch. Stream video games exist as a result of the financial system wants a grey zone, fools.

So I don’t need the upper floor. Not anymore.  No, the extra I give it some thought, I don’t desire a piece of this motion.

We do search for on the stars, even whether it is to the reasonably second tier lights of our little poker “business.” We glance up, we’re compelled to search for, to Garrett and Robbi and Joey and all of the get together goers. Should I take what’s given? The place’s my hush cash? I wish to be performed. I don’t ask Thee to take them out of the world, however to maintain them from the evil one. They aren’t of the world, at the same time as I’m not of the world

I’m unsure I can escape poker, although. We – I – want its artificiality, I worry. We’d like a Papi and CBD toothpaste, we’d like these lips like a grouper’s and a groupie’s. “I wouldn’t spouse her,” the late-night sport grasp tells Limon, amongst 100 onerous truths, the top on a swivel speaking to the grasp swiveler, “however I’d fuck her day by day, week, month, three-hundred sixty-five days a yr.”

At first I simply couldn’t work out why we’d like them, however I can see now the upper floor isn’t a mountain. It’s an island, a lure. I can’t go house, however I can’t keep right here, to rephrase the bartender.

The upper floor mesmerizes.


Nonetheless, individuals develop and alter in entrance of us. Joey grows and improves. The place was this independence and cynical spirit when he had his slew of visitors of greatness? Now he desires to face tall, first to Bryn however now to a as soon as shy and candy girl, who simply desires the upper floor, who desires to promote us a sob story to agree on, to avail herself of the admiration so many dwell upon? To do what’s allowed to everybody else? Ebony jabs him furiously in a single spot, practically flooring the viewers, if not Joey, with a pleasant reference to his slinky pal Rug Doug on the Coin Wash episode. Robbi bites and snarls however he’s placid, laughing… skilled, you would possibly say.

Joey has one thing higher than the upper floor now. He has pushed via, creating a greater model of himself.

Individuals create one another, too. There’s this horrible reg the place I’m at. The reg sits down and instantly has one thing shitty to say to another reg. He’s on his cellphone, and stands up in irritation, scouting out different tables. When he misses the flop, arriving with backdoors and ace excessive, which might have cbet beneath some worth or continued, he flips it resist present how dangerous he runs and the way good he performs (which is to say, badly). He clanks the chips in irritation, jumps up, in search of fish, determined to search out the correct desk. Not concerned, he calls clock on somebody with their stack on the road.

I left one factor out: he’s a she.

Really, that’s unsuitable, too. What actually occurs is that poker turns girls into males in the event that they let it. Nasty, egocentric, loutish. Poker can flip you right into a restrict crab, an outdated man who will begin a struggle over a lacking ante. Your eyes get suspicious, your hair loses its shine, you don’t arise, your ass drops.

The upper floor adjustments you.

I’m squirming via all of it, although. I desire a new means. I don’t want to listen to one other influencer’s sophomoric laments or their unhappy little –ism that comforts them. Their micromind fetishes are boring, immediately’s likelihood of dishonest is not attention-grabbing to me or anybody. A brand new path the place I can snort at everybody, however politely, empathetically: I do know you need to behave like this and it’s high quality.


Can I attain out to search out some empathy that arrives unseen, not in a heartless world, as a result of it isn’t heartless as the person mistakenly warned us, however simply the alternative: the world is a jungle, sturdy and determined and vivacious, sobbing, a pounding within the ears that sends the weak into spasm and corners, unable to search out that one feeling, that one phrase all of us want.

In poker what’s most irritating is dealing not with creeps and criminals – the clever perceive that’s the regular state of issues – however with the ugliness they go away behind, with the pure ugliness of all of the behaviors. The world was as soon as lovely, and this place just isn’t. It’s a thousand strip malls, a tv the place there was a area, a painted fish lipped idol the place there was as soon as a lady, a vibrator the place there was as soon as flesh.

How do you escape the upper floor?

Possibly if I can see via it however not run from it. Possibly if I can have a look at the total face of these searching for adulation, who look into the digital camera to be seen and to see themselves: to just accept the content material and its decivilizaton. We’re all infants desirous to see a child within the solar, in spite of everything. So let me be extra like them and close to to them, let me have empathy for the truth stars, sympathy for these minor and likeable devils. Let me place a finger upon the display screen and discover not glass and tech, however the actuality all of us want, the deep, underscoring want and the one phrase nobody can say sufficient. Let our entertainers be who they wish to be, immortal, younger and nonetheless untouched by the tragedy of giving up, of that which loosens and tires earlier than it lays to relaxation.

I and others with out affect or significance have fallen to the seafloor of our lives, however has it revealed the define of a door, a hatch, an archway we weren’t able to imagining till the autumn? Or is there no actuality, solely phantasm, solely agreeing with everybody? Will we every must struggle for our parcel of the upper floor? In spite of everything, I selected this island, this “neighborhood,” because the fish say. 

You’re forty-six p.c positive she was dishonest? You assume worth controls will clear up inflation? Cancellation will repair opinions? Central management will repair the ambiance and save the world? These are my individuals, it appears.

Is there no escape from them, no secret backyard right here on the finish, no Atlantis for many who held their breath the longest?

Is there no different sport on the town however the greater floor?

Vertucci is on with Berkey now. He can’t reply a single query and for some motive Berkey is abruptly too scrupulously well mannered to prod him, however quickly I’ll be studying about what an ideal dialog that they had, their sixty-minutes of posturing for the upper floor. Then I’ll be informed I must embrace the optics of the scandal over the truth of it. “You’re at fault, don’t you see, positive “technically” the sport could be safer if you happen to did that, however the picture is vital as a result of…”

Am I solely leaving the upper floor for one more posture?

Maybe. Skies are slippery grey. I wish to go, not backwards, however into the galaxy, into its darkest, heaviest place, to really feel the stretch of the occasion horizon and report what just isn’t sucked up by all of the errors, all of the loss, on a regular basis and power cubed into nothing, and to make sense, not for lengthy, however for sufficient time to recollect and really feel that one phrase, the one phrase as soon as extra. To be not in agony, however nonetheless able to be dismantled, maybe for a brand new life past me and past all this. To search out new photographs to worship, higher photographs than these, ones I can stand and struggle for, the best way inside the best way, on the planet and never of it, by myself greater floor, not removed from however proper right here, proper right here within the turbulent house.

Author: Peter Garcia