Personallity on and off the Tables

So, last night the kids and I went to Chuck E. Cheese for my nephew's birthday party (my kids are 5 - twins - Abby and Zack, and the nephew is turning 11). In any event, its often stated how well behaved and mannered my children are. They often take my "rules" and hold true to them, even if I am not present and another authoritative adult figure has contradicted something I said. My step-sister's kids are definitely not that well "conditioned." Don't get me wrong, I'm not going so far as to call them "bad," however, they surely fall short of the "industry standard" my children and I have established (then again, most children do not listen and aren't nearly as disciplined as mine are --- not to toot my own horn or anything, but I've done a damn good job).

Anyways, my daughter and I were in line to get a prize due to the tickets we won. My son was at the table with my mother. The nephew was also standing in line with us, he'd already received his prizes, among which was a pack of 2 gummy gators. He dropped one on the floor, and then tried to feed it to my daughter, then offered it to me. I told him to throw it out, as it was dirty (a few different times). He disappears after I tell him the third time to throw it out. He comes back laughing and whispers to my daughter that he fed it to my son.

The girl child of mine proclaims, "Daddy, he gave it (the Gator) to Zacky!" One can never tell when the nephew is serious or not, as he loves saying/doing "stuff" in hopes of getting a reaction out of people. So, Abby and I leave the line and return to the table. I ask my son if his cousin gave it to him. He confirms it, as does my mother.

I proceed to speak very firmly and intensely to my nephew, who by this time is on the other side of the table, well out of reach (I'd not hit HIM, I should note - would I spank my own children, definitely... not someone else's though). His Grandfather (my brother-in-law's father) hops in the middle of this telling me that "No one talks to his Grandson like that." (I stated out loud in my 'disciplinarian tone' "Son of a bitch, didn't I tell you to throw that out? Didn't I? And you fed it to Zack? That's wrong... that's straight up wrong"). This of course, is an act of war, so I proceed to speak to this moron who just butted into my family business (replying that when it comes to my children I'll speak to anyone any damn way I please and then inserted some other carefully chosen confrontational one-liners). I was very aggressive in my tone and posture and shot down every one of his claims. I stopped very very short of assulting him, though trust me he'd have been "gentally removed" from my personal space had he invaded it. I was steaming and rightfully so, IMHO.

I even pondered knocking sense into the Grandfather (who is a short, but not small man --- retired firefighter or cop, not sure which), which would then send the message that my nephew caused this and that there were excuses for the nephew's behavior (the kid made an honest mistake and didn't mean anything by it, according to gramps). The situation was defused by my step-father before it got too far out of hand...

Now, anyone who knows me knows all too well that once I am engaged or have made a statement, it is very rare that I back down. I made the statement at the restuarant that his behavior was bullshit and unacceptable... Gramps entered the picture and contradicted me, basically saying it was ok for his grandson, my nephew to feed something to my son that was on the floor (unknown to Zack) despite my order to throw it out. I went to war. Pretty much the way any situation goes where I have fully, verbally, or egotistically engaged. I enter the hand, anyone gets in my way, I take action to run em over, so to speak.

Now, how does this apply to poker? Well, given my personallity above and adding in there that it does indeed take a lot to actually get me to fully engage in that manner (i am generally easy going, patient and understanding... however not tolerant of bullshit), I do exactly this on the table.

I patiently wait and watch... Waiting for something to make a statement with (AA, AK, AQ, KK... you know, quality hands). Once I enter the picture, I psychologically do not expect to be called, questioned, contested, or beat for that matter (it might have helped if my ass would have been kicked when i was younger, but i somehow doubt that... I rarely lose when it comes to confrontation).

To me, if someone is calling me, betting into me, they're questioning me or confronting me. And of course, just like Pavloff's dogs, the bell rings, my mouth waters... er... they look for a reaction from me (reraising, allin'in, etc... and i give it to em). I never once consider that I am capable of being beat --- unless I have a coach stepping in and telling me to stand down and fight another day... or to choose a different battle... or that its unlikely that anything productive will come of anything further I said - point made, nuff said.

I guess I "am" myself on the table. I obviously have to mix it up, sometimes not "reacting" when someone is trying to spawn a reaction from me. There's a guy in my live games that I enjoy playing, but everytime he and I are in a pot together (could be first hand, the bubble, head's up, etc), its all out war --- and he knows this. If I look at the table from his eyes, he knows I have a solid hand. He knows I think he's got nothing or less than what I've got. He also knows I'm gonna move into him aggressively if he tries to overbet. Thus, I'm very predictable to him. He knows I know this, but can't seem to smartly stand down when I might be beat. So, he could clearly use this to his advantage. He knows that when I "go to war" its gonna be a costly battle if he loses and that I never once think it possible that I'm going to be beat when I enter "the arena."

Bottom line: Its good to be myself on the table, as I am comfortable with who I am. However, its also good to break character every once in a while and not give people the reaction they're trying to envoke "all the time." Who knows, changing it up a bit and standing down from time to time... or even feigning weakness from time to time as opposed to constant balls out attack may help me break the curse of the bubble sometime... We'll see.