Rocks and Rings

As a teenager my most prevalent emotion was disillusionment.  Disillusionment with parents, teachers, political leaders, all of the above.  This creates a sort of cynicism that settles into a deep melancholy that will leave you about the time you leave college and realize you can’t get laid anymore because of your mopery.  (that’s pronounced "mope-er-ee", the state of actively moping.  A phrase the retired NYC fraud cops who worked at Goldman Sachs taught me…)

I bring this up beacuse I’ve just had the sort of experience that would have onset the disillusionment of twenty years ago.  Today, I find it produces nothing but a little empathy for the patheticness of the speaker.

Who is this mystery person who created such a nostalgic emotion in me?  I bring you one of poker’s young guns, Antonio Esfandiari and his secret club and personal lifestyle philosophy, "Rocks and Rings".

Apparently Antonio’s ego is enormous after having won a World Poker Tour event last year, and he and his buddies are busily drinking up the $1.4 million he won there.  It won’t last long in Vegas, baby, especially when you’re picking up girls ("betties", in Rocks and Rings vocabulary) that are cruising the most expensive tables in VIP lounges.  These chicks aren’t going to get excited when you take them to that soul food diner because they have an amazing fried chicken and candied sweet potatoes.

Rocks and Rings is described on Antonio’s website as a club who’s lifestyle philosophy is "Eudamonism".  Say it slowly and out loud.  You’ll discover its geneology, as some of the people on fellow poker player Paul Phillips blog did, that it’s probably "You-da-man-ism".  Antonio defines eudamonism as "A lifestyle of hedonism tempered by reason," but it really should be, "A lifestyle of hedonism tempered by Antonio’s massive ego."

Take their vocabulary, for example.  "1.4" is a phrase to mean "Homage to the $1.4 million that Antonio won at the 2004 LA Poker Classic, now an R&R seal of approval." as in "This party is totally 1.4".

Are you so insecure that you have to have your friends remind you, over and over that you won 1.4 million last year?  Greg Raymer won $5million at last year’s World Series of Poker, but he’s not running around saying, "5 is the new 10, 5 is the new 10."  Hell, Chris Moneymaker, a shlubby ex-accountant from the South won more than that  in 2003 at the World Series, and his ego’s not out of control.  He’s even been back at the World Poker Tour final table since then, so he’s clearly not a complete fluke.

I put this all down to the fact that Antonio’s 24 and running around with what used to be a million and a half bucks in his pocket.  Everyone around you is stroking you pretty bad, so it’s not surprising.

But it’s pretty easy to spend a million bucks in Vegas.  Just watch.