Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Small talk

I'm about eight minutes into last night's "Poker After Dark," and it's already driving me crazy.

The theme for the week is "He Said, She Said." They have gathered players who are known for being chatty. Here's how NBC's web site describes the concept: "It’s another battle of the sexes this week on Poker After Dark as three men well-known for their gift of gab in Jean-Robert Bellande, David Grey, and Mike Matusow take on three ladies also known to be chatty at the table in Erica Schoenberg, Karina Jett, and Annie Duke."

It didn't take long for the verbal cacophony to begin. As I said, just a few minutes along I'm already sick of it. There are routinely four people talking at once, with, obviously, nobody really listening. They're talking about stupid stuff that nobody could possibly really want to hear about: the weather, housing prices, Florida's poker scene, where somebody might move to, food eaten on a recent trip, blah, blah, blah.

No matter how long I live, I will never grasp some people's propensity to say whatever comes into their little peabrains, without stopping to consider whether anybody is listening, or whether anybody will find it interesting or amusing. What kind of massively distorted ego does it take for such people to think that every thought they have will be of interest to anybody who happens to be sitting within earshot? Put a bunch of these clucking hens (and roosters) together, and they're each in their own little worlds, yakking away mindlessly, paying no attention to what anybody else is doing or saying. Very few things are more perfectly tailored to drive me straight up the wall.

You know how annoying it is to spend any amount of time near one of those little dogs that's yapping away non-stop? Put six of them together, and that's how grating this week's PAD guests are to my ears.

Years ago I was in marriage counseling with my ex-wife. After a few sessions, from out of the blue, our counselor asked me, "Do you get more easily distracted by noises than by visual things?" It was a question I hadn't considered in exactly that way before, but the answer was an obvious yes. She had guessed that just based on some other personality traits of mine, which she later explained tended to be correlated with easy aural distractability. I have not looked into the subject since then, but I'm frequently reminded of it. Have you noticed how in my reviews of poker rooms I will mention, prominently and near the beginning, my impressions of how smoky and noisy it is? Both of those things matter a lot to me, though for completely different reasons. I hate cigarette smoke, and I hate being constantly bombarded with noise, whether of human or mechanical origin.

You may be fascinated by the sound of your own voice, no matter how devoid of content your speech is. I am not. Spare me.

I would genuinely, seriously rather watch a week of poker from a silent bunch. Give me John Juanda, Allen Cunningham, Chris Ferguson, etc. Give me people who make some minimal effort to have something interesting, witty, and/or otherwise worthwhile to say before they open their big fat mouths. I don't think I'm going to be able to tolerate five hours of the current crew of idiotic chatters.


bastinptc said...

It could be worse. They could be crackberrying it at the same time. Not much difference in a social sense.

Crash said...

You seem a little grumpy, to me.

Wolynski said...

Driving people nuts is a perfectly valid poker strategy.

I remember the Nightline with Annie Duke from years ago - she kept up a barrage of inane small talk at the Bellagio poker table, thus driving her opponents to utter distraction.

Every little edge helps.

astrobel said...

I was once playing the daily Caesars evening tourney and there was this guy at my table who WOULD NOT stop talking nonsense and even singing at times / *sigh* /
You really have to try hard not to be "affected" somehow by those professional annoyers. I do believe that in HIS case the constant banter was part of some sick overall strategy, and you know what: it worked !

Anonymous said...

I thought you might be exaggerating, so I took a look at PAD. I made it about 4 minutes. Unwatchable. Vapid, inane, insipid drivel. And I usually love that show.

Mark T said...

This post also reminds me of your earlier post that mentioned Club Fortune. The current CF poker room is fully-enclosed, smoke-free, and very quiet. I suspect you'll enjoy it...