Thailand as “Game On” and Thoughts about Stickman Leaving Thailand- Part 1

| February 25, 2011 | 211 Comments | 44,864 views

Game On. Game On.

-Wayne Algar and Garth Campbell from Wayne’s World.


There are a class of poker players who are bitter bitch and moaners.

Many people dislike playing with them because you end up spending your evening listening to them complain about every hand they lose, every minor mistake the dealer makes, how bad the free food is, how the people who win everyday are just lucky and not skillful and willing to gamble when there is positive E.V., and sometimes, they even start pontificating about their messed up lives away from the card table.

Being bitter bitch and moaners living close to the line, they never have hot girlfriends and/or never have nice girlfriends. Forget about girlfriends, they usually don’t even have any friends at all. If you play with them over an extended period of time it usually turns out that they are alone in the world.

The thoughts “why do these guys play poker if they hate cards and casinos so much”, “Why don’t they just kill themselves if they are that unhappy and bitter”, or “why don’t they go to a doctor and get some anti-depressants?” frequently pop into your mind.

These guys are long term losers at cards and have no money. That’s the primary reason why they are bitter bitch and moaners.

Most of the bitter bitch and moaners follow a common path to their current state of misery.

At one point in the past, they read some poker books, got some coaching, or figured out that being patient, folding all but the best starting hands, and only calling and raising with a good hand was a winning strategy— and it is in certain types of games and against certain types of opponents.

Against weak unobservant opponents this simple minded strategy works. When you come in raising with a premium hand people call you with worse hands and, on the later streets, when you bet and raise with premium hands people call you with worse hands.

As they steadily win, their bankrolls increase and they play in higher stakes games and against better players.

In these games, the players notice what the person is doing and counter play. When the person comes in for a raise pre-flop, they fold and when the person calls, bets, or raises on later streets they fold too. Instead of getting paid off they end up winning only small pots. And when they do get called or raised with a decent holding it is because their counter playing opponents have a better hand. Hands that get called or raised that would be good 80% of the time for most players end up never being good when called or raised against good counter playing opponents.

When this starts to happen, an otherwise pleasurable experience turns into a nightmare. Instead of playing cards, eating free food, and socializing every night, poker becomes an unpleasant experience of folding hand after hand waiting for premium starting cards and when you finally play a pot having everyone fold, and when they do get action always facing a better hand and always getting raised when your beat.

As their bankroll dwindles and they get close to the point of running out of money, they start tapping financial reserves that should never be used for gambling—cash advances on credit cards, equity in their houses, and borrowing from close friends and relatives.

And as they lose that money, they get more depressed and more bitter blaming everyone but themselves for their problems.

Infrequently, a guy will end up killing himself when he gets to the end of his rope.

It’s sad because the whole downward spiral could have been arrested if the person stepped back from the table and thought long and hard about why he has gone from an everyday winner to an everyday loser.

And once he has gained perspective and clarity, figure out and implement a strategy that will beat the game he currently finds himself in — if the game can be beat at all.

Guys that do that are the ones who play everyday in the high stakes games and are long term winners.

They are the ones who waltz into the cardroom every night with a smile on their face with a hot girlfriend and with a good group of friends and associates.

Which brings us to Thailand, Close to the Line Expats, and Haters.

The same process happens in Thailand.

Men come to Thailand and figure out how to have sex with Reservation girls—which is not exactly rocket science.

Life is good. So good maybe they even move to Thailand and take up full time residence.

But after awhile the novelty wears off.

After awhile, the human spirit yearns for more than just sex with random attractive girls.

These expats start to look for a real relationship with a women whom they like and care about and who like and care about them.

They start to look for a situation where they can have children and make a real family.

And they start to look for a way of earning money and search for a satisfying job and good wages.

And like the poker player who moves up into higher stakes games against better opponents, the strategies that yielded success in their early years in Thailand don’t work anymore.

They don’t realize it but when they go off The Reservation, personal relationships between members of the opposite sex is a different game, with different rules, played against people who are using different strategies, and what won the money on The Reservation is a big loser off The Reservation.

Business is not done the way it is in The World—where you can write an enforceable contract and where reputational consequences are significant.

Laws are not enforced the way they are in The World—where you have clearly defined rules and a system of clearly spelled out penalties and courts that impartially enforce those rules and penalties.

Love, romance, and marriage between men and women are conducted under different expectations about fidelity, chastity, and what each person is expected to get from and give to a partner.

Over time, they continue playing and losing the game of life and their financial and emotional capital slowly dwindle away.

Every time they get beaten they don’t step back and assess the situation.

They just jump back in, albeit with diminished resources,  and try again without figuring out what is going wrong.

And they become bitter bitch and moaners who will tell everyone about how terrible Thai people are, how corrupt Thai police are, how crooked Thai businessmen are, how all Thai girls are hookers and prostitutes, blah blah blah blah. Maybe they find some compatriots in a similar pickle and everyone sits around in a group minimizing every accomplishment, bashing every defect, minor and major, of wives and girlfriends, and trying to twist every positive aspect into a negative feature of the the lives of everyone expat acquaintance.

And in the end, they end up defeated either spiritually or financially and find themselves emotionally exhausted.

They end up leaving Thailand, lying in the street in the a pool of their own urine with no shoes and no money on Soi 4, or in the worst cases killing themselves.

Or they end up as Close to The Line balloon chasers who infest every happy hour, living off free food promotions, and hating all the tourists with more money than them and hating and bashing all the Expats who have better situations than them.

Instead of blaming themselves, they blame and hate everyone else.

It never had to be.

If they approached life and the search for fun and adventure as a poker, they could have avoided their fate.

That’s the proper way to tackle Thailand.

In my humble opinion.


Comments (211)

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  1. crickets says:

    wax on, wax off… chiiiirp, chiiiirp, chiiiiiiiirp, chiiiiiiirp!

  2. crickets says:

    game, game, game .. chiiiiirp, chiiiiiirp, chiiiirp, chiiiiiiirp, chiiiiirp, chiiiiiiiirp!!
    chiiiiirp, chiiiiiirp, chiiiirp, chiiiiiiirp, chiiiiirp, chiiiiiiiirp!!
    chiiiiirp, chiiiiiirp, chiiiirp, chiiiiiiirp, chiiiiirp, chiiiiiiiirp, chiiiiirp, chiiiiiirp, chiiiirp, chiiiiiiirp, chiiiiirp, chiiiiiiiirp!! 

  3. crickets says:

    It’s over PRUFROCKyou’re irrelevant and without ‘game’!

  4. PRUFROCK'S DAD says:

    Nobody’s listening to you Prufrock.
    You’re irrelevant.

  5. Who Cares says:

    Ummmm, he didn’t leave.

  6. K.G. says:

    What’s this about? Stickman wrote last week that he was still in Thailand.

  7. Just Sayin says:

    Kenny doesn’t know shit.

  8. Bwahahaha says:

    He sure doesn’t know how to fix the broken image links on his home page – webmaster FAIL!

  9. Antwan G. says:

    I am posting this here because I emailed this to Stickman and he refused to print it the reader’s submission’s section of his site. “Inappropriate and not of interest to my readers” was his stated reason. 
    Dear Mr. Stickman,

    I would like to point out that the attitude you highlight in your column in the following quote pales in comparison to what black men experience everyday in the United States. 

      Earlier this year a good friend left Thailand.  The reasons behind his decision to turn his back on almost 8 years in country were varied and complex, but a contributing factor was the police stops at the Asoke intersection late at night.  After enjoying a night out on Sukhumvit, he’d be heading home to Rachada and as the taxi turned left off Sukhumvit at the Asoke intersection the cab would be stopped at the police checkpoint often in place late at night and would be asked to submit to a search.  After a few drinks, dealing with the cops left him nervous and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

      One of the contributing factors to selling my car was being stopped more and more often and being accused of things I hadn’t done, most disconcerting when the accusations come from those whose job it is to enforce the law and who have the power to make your life uncomfortable.  It does nothing for your confidence in officialdom.

      I am all for the police being proactive, cracking down on crime and targeting those involved with drugs.  I do wonder however whether white guys in central Bangkok really are involved in drug crime though.  Targeting Western men walking alone in downtown Bangkok doesn’t seem to make sense.

    Do you know that black men in New York city are routinely stopped by police for no reason other than the fact they are black? It is so epidemic the NYPD actually have name for it. Stop and Frisk. And the result too often is not a minor fine but hundreds of black men being arrested and convicted of minor offenses, such as possession of small and harmless amounts of drugs, where the search itself is unconstitutional and the evidence should be inadmissible in court but the police lie about having probable cause. 

    What you describe in your column is baby stuff compared to what black men go through every day in the United States.  

    You embarrass yourself with your whiny sniveling column  about police harassment. Take off your diaper and man up. A runny nose is worse than what you allege the Thai police did to you. The idea that you would actually leave your home of many years because of this minor annoyance makes me want to beat your ass so that you see what real police harassment really is


  10. Pattaya G. says:

    Antwan. Maybe Stick didn’t want to print your piece because you insult the man in your piece. Expecting Stick to print people insulting him is ridiculous. Here is some advice. Go back on your medication. 

  11. Insulting Websites says:

    This one wins for today.

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