If you walk out of the Rio in Vegas and turn left, you're on a bridge across the railway tracks. Once you cross that, you're straight onto another bridge, this one across the interstate (that's what they call motorways over here). Cross that and you're now at the back of Caesars Palace and therefore just one block from the Strip. Back home if you suggested that a journey requiring you to walk one block and two bridges requires a taxi, most people would look at you like you had 2 heads. Over here, you get that reaction when you suggest it not only can but possibly should be walked.
As immediate as the social media is, it can of course only give a flavour of what it feels like to be over here. People back home are inevitably going to have a very different perspective on things. This came into sharp focus this weekend when one of the few Irish pros not at the WSOP tweeted his view that players should not be referring to amateur players that misplay hands but suck out on them using derogatory terms such as spastic, retard, clown or idiot and called for a bit of decorum. One of the pros who is here reacted to this drawing a distinction between doing this on Twitter where you can presume with a reasonable degree of certainty that the target of your ire will never read it, and doing it to their face.
I think this is a perfectly reasonable distinction to make. I can never remember myself or any player I have any respect for calling someone a spastic or a retard to their face (other than as a very obvious joke) but I think virtually every player has thought it and even said it in private. I see this as no harm no foul: if muttering something under your breath after you've walked away from the table or calling the guy who busted you an unflattering name when describing a hand to your friends later or on the social media makes you feel better and helps you recover and get over a beat, and the object of your tirade remains blissfully unaware and unconcerned, then where is the harm?
While I intend and hope to get through the rest of my poker career without berating a weak player to their face I can assure you that if my dog could talk she'd tell you I let quite a few insults fly at my screen in the course of a typical session. The point of this is not to belittle my opponents: if I wanted to do that I'd be doing it in the chat box (and I have a rule that if I ever find myself doing that I take it as an indicator of tilt and encouragement to log out ASAP). I know my opponents can't hear me and that's the point: the purpose of the tirade is to allow me to blow off steam so that I can get over the beat more quickly and move on: something which is vital when you're playing ten tables at once. I guess that's one of the things about online I feel that makes it so much easier than live poker.
A few hours ago I suffered a rollercoaster of a hand. I shoved 16 bbs with ak over an utg limper because I felt he was bad enough to call with many worse hands. He proved me right when he called with j7o. I flopped the nut flush while he flopped a 7. I turned the king leaving him drawing to a non club 7 or jack. When he duly did this on the river, he punched the air and whooped. I know I'm supposed to smile and shake his hand and congratulate him on eliminating me and remind myself that it's his willingness to play like this that gives me and my fellow pros our edge and pays our wages. Online I might be able to manage this, or I might not even notice (once I've made my decision on one table I generally turn my attention to the next that requires a decision), but live is tougher since you're always one tabling so it has your full attention (and you have to look at the face of the guy who just butchered a hand but won smiling smugly and whooping like great poker just happened). But I'm human and not Gandhi so the best I can manage is a tap on the table, a Nice Hand through gritted teeth followed by sullen silence as I pack up and leave. And if you're unlucky enough to be a friend of mine and catch me in the 5 to 10 minutes it takes to recover mentally, you're most likely to have to hear me start a sentence with the words "Wait til you hear about this retard..."