Ever since Britney Spears broke out into song about it, everyone knows that loneliness can in fact kill. Since the dawn of time, people have done everything in their power to avoid solitude: from learning how to start a fire so that other people would suddenly want to hang out with them to keeping their obsession with One Direction under wraps, loneliness has been an engine for social progress and personal growth. Yet others, including famous artists and Kanye West, seem to find inspiration and solace in isolation. Avoiding the crowds comes at a cost for your social life, yet it gives you peace of mind and helps you connect with your inner self. It seems that, recently, a few lucky among us discovered the ultimate way to celebrate their loneliness: finding isolation by playing poker. Online. With thousands of other players. Yes, it is that simple.
You can paint the picture in your head, it’s not hard. Poker is mysterious. Poker is charming. You deal with cards and everything rests on your poker face and your coolness – and maybe your skill at math, your strategic mind, and a tiny bit of luck. Everyone who is cool and mysterious does it. Your favorite characters in that TV show played poker that one time. And James Bond plays poker in every single movie – and you cannot deny that he wears cool suits, and cannot find true love because he is forever broken, and has countless gadgets. The embodiment of a man torn by angst who has decided to embrace his natural instinct of craving isolation from the world. What better place to do that than a casino, in between fighting the bad guys and saving the world? Learning to play decent poker is not easy, but it is arguably less hard than putting in the effort to reach Daniel Craig’s abs or resting pouting face. This is obviously what wannabe 007s thought and turned to the art of poker.
Daniel Craig Remains Cool and Lonely as He Beats the Bad Guys – at Poker
Winning Your Way to the World Series
Yet in the real world, things don’t come as easy as simply joining a secret service and undergoing years of training with the apparently ultimate goal of sitting at a poker table with the bad guys some 20 minutes before the movie ends. In the real world, you might have to go through the torment of satellite tournaments in order to gloat in your loneliness. Why? This may come as a surprise to you, but since poker is a card game where you gamble money on winning hands, you usually sort of need a buy-in to be able to join the game. This is not always the case, as you can sometimes join a free poker tournament, which is a great way to start a bankroll when you are short on funds. However, they usually attract a large number of runners and they can take long to play out and end up in not a lot of prize money. Another way to build a bankroll from the ground up, is to invest some initial money into a satellite tournament, be it on Texas hold’em or 7 card stud, which is a qualifying event for a larger poker event. The prize is usually the buy-in money for the larger event – which means you get in for free by paying the buy-in for the smaller tournament.
Hide Your Cards AND Your Heart’s True Feelings
Satellite tournaments sound like an exciting way to seek solitude as they also attract a large number of players looking for a ticket to the next level. Most of them take place online, although there are a few that are land-based. If you make it all the way, you might get a chance at the WSOP – which is quite literally the World Series of Poker. In 2017, an impressive 7,221 poker players managed to pay the $10,000 entry fee to the WSOP tournament, which meant the third-largest attendance in the 48 years of the event’s rich history. Again, quite literally, WSOP is the richest yearly poker tournament. The prize pool last year consisted of almost $68 million and the man who got crowned the world champion, Scott Blumstein, took home $8,150,000 of that along with the title. It does sound like a very anti-social and pro-solitude tournament.
Online Poker: The Perfect Solution for Solitary Souls
Not surprisingly, a lot of people prefer online poker. There is nothing that screams isolation more than sitting at home, from the comfort of your couch, having a grumpy day all by yourself and letting off some steam by joining an online poker game. You don’t have to look anyone in the eye and you can hide your tells from people around you. It is just you and a deck of cards – you against the world, one might say. And then the chat bubble pops up. But you resist the urge to get cheered up by the funny or mildly interesting comment you just read, you type in something insightful and deep and go about your game. Cause this is what online poker chat is all about: confirming how much you love your loneliness by talking in real time about your favorite pastime with other people who share your interests.
It’s You and Your Chips Against the World
To make matters worse, some tech nerds insisted on developing what is known as multi-platform gaming. This essentially means that games such as online poker or slightly more boring and less complicated video games like The Witcher III and Overwatch can be played across many platforms, from Xbox and PlayStation to a PC. Some recent poker apps have been developed that allow players to connect across devices and operating systems – meaning that you can play on your iPhone and your new friends from around the globe can still use their Android environment. Friends might not be the best word though – so what if you play online together very often and are always able to connect with each other? Acquaintances is probably a more proper term, one that appropriately channels the feelings of solitude that poker is to you.
If all else fails to give you the isolation you need, there is always the option to turn on your webcam. Seeing people via live video while playing poker is very common nowadays – and despite many declaring it a very social aspect of online poker, its true function of bringing people closer in order to push them away and re-establish your ennui remains revealed only to the elite few. Imagine the sense of isolation and serenity it gives you, after countless games of online poker where you had your webcam on, to suddenly keep it off for a game. That will show everyone who ventures to say that connecting with other players is easier than ever before. So what if it is? You came here for the isolation that only card games with millions of followers worldwide offer.
After all, poker is serious business. Like any proper card game, it was never meant to be fun or enjoyed in the company of other people. Next time you sit at an online poker table, remember to put on your dark sunglasses. That will definitely help with the air of mystery and solitude that poker is all about.