Pickup

What happened to game?

It has been a great two weeks so far here in Serbia. The sun is out, the coffees are being swilled by the hectolitre and street beggars are being rebutted by Bodi with unforgiving red pill honesty – ‘fuck off you little cunt or I’ll punch your teeth out’ as he raises his hand to smite them. They scurry from him in fear, whimpering.

I’ve had two students from Scotland join us for the weekend and an innocuous event they had in set last night lead me to a realization similar to my ‘where did all the DHVs go’ blog moment from late last year.

What the fuck happened to game? Actually working a set? It used to be a discipline played out by rules and principles. Hopeful PUAs strove for near perfection in set. Guys in flashing top hats, as moronic as they seemed at the time, were often just experimenting with reality and learning what they could get away with. When you got to know them, they were at least cogniscant of game principals.

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If you’re going for that blonde, I’ll wing you for the brunette maaaaaate!

I remember a couple of times in London, in places like Jewel Bar and that awful nightclub across the road, next to ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not’, I can’t remember what it was called, other pickup guys who I didn’t even know, would see me in set and just come and join me. They’d actually wing me, DHV me, distract obstacles for me. Then you’d sometimes see them half an hour later and they’d come and talk to you, ‘how did your set work out mate?’

They displayed a grasp of game that I don’t think exists today. I just don’t see it. Basic principles, rules, technique, team-work, reason, systems and laws. They all existed for a reason. The reason is that they worked.

I am currently writing four game books. One is about the principles of game; one is just another game biography. It’s as I write this biography part that so much comes back to me. I am currently (in the book) at the end of my first year in game, halfway through volume 1. I remember my first year in game was a mix of meeting guys and finding good wings, choosing to lose my old friends and shedding my old skin. Not much game success was had in that first year. The girls were so-so and the sets were often hit and miss. More luck than game.

They key is this – I remember on Sundays we’d all meet up at grotty pubs near tube stations and we would go over the weekend’s sets and talk about the things that went wrong and we’d work out what we could try to do in set in future to correct the failings.

That’s, 10 years ago today, exactly what I was doing on Sundays. We were THAT committed. We’d go out four nights a week and Sunday was for team meetings.

Our rules and signals weren’t invented to be pompous and grandiose. We did it because we needed them. We failed without them. We tried them and they worked. Through trial and error we pulled ourselves out of chaos and into successes a full five years before some of the modern pickup superstars had even heard of game.

We didn’t find out who the player’s target was in set because it was some kind of noble brotherhood respect thing. No we did it because we had to, otherwise the set was chaos. It worked because you cannot run a set properly as a team without knowing and following some simple basics.

Certain rules are absolutely paramount and from my position, unforgiveable to break, since they just waste everyone’s time. Pre RSG we worked this out through trial and error, the hard way. By the time RSG came into being, the wing rules were so well established they were like the ten commandments. We obeyed them slavishly, and over time, the new guys who joined RSG were taught them. These new guys didn’t go through the previous five years initiation period so didn’t ever experience life without them. We just passed them on as religion. No one ever questioned them because if they broke them, they would have not been accepted into the crew. The price of admission was submission to the code.

You take away the train tracks while the train is going at full speed and what happens?

Burto and Lee became two core RSG members. They were taught by me. I remember them coming on their boot-camp. I remember contacting them a week after the boot, as a friend, and inviting them out for drinks. I liked them. I took them out in Angel. They lapped up the free tuition and I lapped up their charisma and enthusiasm.

At one point we gate-crashed a fancy party for a company that rented out high performance sports cars. When inside, we worked a set as a team and it was awful, a train off the tracks moment. I was ecstatic because it was a great learning experience for these two.

The girls left us and Lee and Burto looked at me blank faced. ‘That didn’t go well’, they said.

‘Of course it didn’t, but you know why though, don’t you?’

They didn’t. So I explained.

Burto opened the set. Within a few minutes he was telling a good DHV story about being a croupier and the whole group was listening. The girls liked it. So far so good, BUT then Lee started talking to one of the girls, the  blonde girl. He took her away from Burto’s story and just started escalating her physically. Now… How did Lee know that she wasn’t Burto’s target? Well the answer is, he didn’t.

And the truth is, she was Burto’s target. And now with his target gone, Burto simply shrigged his shoulders and settled for second best. The less attractive brunette. She paid him good attention after his croupier story, so he dutifully negged her gently. But the problem is, she wasn’t the hot girl of the group. Lee had taken the hot one out of the conversation. So Burto’s neg, designed to be used on the hot target who is not used to being talked to like a normal person, well his neg lands badly on the obstacle.

He’s basically just raised his value and then been rude to the obstacle as a reward for her appreciation. Lee at the same time stole Burto’s target and illegally reversed the set – making himself the player and Burto the wing. Burto didn’t pick up on this, and continued as he’d begun, as the Player. Both men were Player, doing whatever they wanted and no one was Wing.

Other stuff happened, but all you need to know is that it was just a car crash. The girls ejected.

It’s a fucking core principal of game, when in a group, a good player who knows what he is doing may well direct attention at the obstacles and ignore the target, leaving her to be slightly on the outskirts of the conversation but exposed to his value spikes. The wing’s job is to understand this and go with it. His job is not to distract the target so she doesn’t see or hear the player’s DHVs.

It’s a principal of game. It’s a principal of team work.

  • He who opens the set, owns the set. If you’re a wing, keep your fucking hands in your pockets and do as you’re damn well told by your player.
  • When you’re the wing, your first concern is not how pretty the girls are, it’s to find out who the player’s target is.

We didn’t establish those rules to be grandiose or humiliating. We established them because they were absolutely crucial to our success and we found it out the hard way.

A top quality girl usually has options. You often need to lay some ground work to get her keen. This ground work might be an hour of DHV. It’s not as simple as just pawing at her and saying ‘I like your bracelet’. You want to make yourself a prize and coax her into chasing you. This is what working a set is. It’s called ‘game’.

For this reason you just can’t run a set as a free for all. ‘Anything goes’ is the road to chaos. You need rule one (he who opens the set, owns the set) because it dictates the spider diagram that co-ordinates the rest of the interaction. I’m telling you. If you don’t believe me then go find out for yourself, but it’s your own time you’re wasting.

I told all this to Bodi last week. He wouldn’t have it, he knew better. ‘You don’t need all that; it just leads to falling out’. I just said ‘OK’. I don’t argue or try to convince people anymore. I’ll give them the facts as I see them; I don’t need to justify myself. It’s up to them what they do with the knowledge I give them.

So to come to the set with the students last night, here’s what happened.

Player stops two girls in the park. Wing, joins him.

Player leads the interaction and every now and again Wing chips in, supporting Player’s vibe and relieving him of the pressure of having to perform 100% all the time.

After ten minutes both girls were well invested so the Player invites them to go for a drink. They decline, as they have to go and meet friends. So the offer of ‘some other time’ is put out there by the Player.

‘Maybe’ the girls say coyly, smiling. Game on.

So the Player, as per pickup 101, stacked the conversation and carried on. He starts, however, to falter, so the Wing picks up more of the set in the final third. He senses the need to close so he goes for it.

The Wing says, ‘guys, listen, let’s be honest, you’ve got it made here, you’ve hit the jackpot, we’re charming and handsome. Now what’s the worst that can happen? You come for a coffee with us, we just talk and laugh. No big deal’.

The girls say ‘we can’t come NOW’. And there’s a pause. The Player is looking at the Wing; the Wing is looking at the Player. No one is saying the words ‘OK, let’s swap numbers and go out tomorrow’.

The girls leave.

So in the post mortem, we all agree that everyone in that set wanted to swap numbers. The player says the following:

‘I was waiting for the Wing to get that red-haired girls number. I felt it was the strongest connection’.

The Wing says: ‘I had no idea about that. I suppose I kind of liked the blonde, but… I thought the Player was going to ask for the red-heads number’.

The Player liked the read head and the Wing (not that it matters) liked the blonde. The girls liked them both. And the upshot is they’ll all never meet each other again.

If the Player had just followed the rules they’d both be on a date today with two cute girls, but because he abandoned the rules, the train came off the tracks.

It’s the Player’s set. He opened it, so he’s the player and he’s responsible for the set. Not the Wing. In this situation the Wing couldn’t be sure who the Player was interested in or what the player wanted to do with the set. The last thing the Wing wants to do is be the one to take the number. It’s likely to hijack the Player’s set.

‘I was alright in the Wing having the set though’, the Player defended himself. But how was the Wing supposed to know this? Telepathy? The Player never told him.

All the Wing knew was this:

‘The Player is in set and I’m here to support him, I don’t know any more than that until he tells me. Until he tells me, I just sit tight and follow his lead’.

The Player has to manage the number close because only he knows what he wants to happen. I remember once a guy called Blue purposely letting a set leave the bar because he knew which bar they were going to and he knew he’d see them later. It was a ‘take away’. So he let the set go. We were all puzzled in the moment but it was his set so we went with it. When the set left, he explained and we all nodded in agreement. It was classy game by Blue. The take away was crucial, the girl was hot and the hour between leaving and seeing him again, she’d had time to dwell on his absence. She didn’t know he knew where she was going to be. So when he turned up, she was delighted and threw herself at him. It was a ballsy move and it worked.

The worst thing that could have happened would be for Blue’s wings to ‘help’ him by swapping numbers and thus maintaining the means of communication. He’d put a couple of hours into that set and his decision was that he needed to be ‘the one that got away’. He’d have been furious if some Wing got above his station and ruined his hard work.

It used to happen to us all the time. The rules stopped it happening.

But going back to last night, it gets worse.

‘Yes but, although I really liked the red-head, I thought the connection was a bit stronger with the Wing, so I just thought he should have the set instead. What else could I do’, the Player whined.

And this is the core of the whole problem. This is where we have lost our principles. We’ve all lost our minds. I got angry at this point. I even banged my fist on the table.

‘What else could I do?!’ Are you a fucking seducer of women or not? What the fuck is that comment?

Don’t tell me that you see girl you like, talk to her for ten minutes and because you think she fancies your mate, you give up? What in all fuckwhittery is that about? Who gives a shit who some skirt fancies after 10 minutes of conversation? If any of the former crew had cared who their targets fancied in the first ten minutes of meeting them… well Burto would never have got laid for one thing.

Do you honestly think I ever gave a shit who my target fancied in the first 10 minutes of the set?

It doesn’t matter who she likes initially. You’re a player. You’re in game. Who she likes after ten minutes is irrelevant. Your only concern is HOW YOU’RE GOING TO GET HER TO LIKE YOU OVER THE NEXT HOUR. That’s game. Taking a girl from not even knowing you existed, to seeing what a magical man you are. Being that man.

I’ll tell you what isn’t game. Flipping stones by stopping 30 girls in the street each day and just hoping one of them likes you. Dividing sets up according to some 20 year old’s fleeting whimsy isn’t game. It’s amateur pussy chasing. You’re totally subject to the whims of the skirt. You’re nothing. You’re not a pick up artist; you’re just a chode who is more committed to pussy begging than the usual chode.

Now, if a player wants to relinquish a set, he can do, it’s his prerogative as owner of the set. He just has to let Wing know.

You can’t have two conductors. You can’t have two captains. You have one, he makes the calls.

What game needs is a renaissance. The golden era of hopeful PUAs has long passed and we’re left with the next generation – so called ‘day gamers’ without a clue, who just spam-open girls on the street and hope for the best. No technique, no finesse and no game, just desperate stone flipping zombies and following the girl’s frame. This is why they don’t get hot women. I see them, the ‘Nu-Gamers’ as Bodi calls them. They’re rarely in set with anything over a 7. I see them all around Eastern Europe. Ruining it for everyone else.

We’re all as guilty as anyone for contributing to this decay. For years we have all said things like ‘day game is king’ and ‘get out there, crank some sets, there’s always the next set’. But the difference is that we’ve done our long apprenticeships in the bars and clubs of London. We’ve spent our Sundays obsessing over ‘was that neg too hard in that set with the green skirt girl?’ We know how to work a real set, not a day game set. And we don’t chase average skirt.

Day game has slipped from being an art, a hard won skill set, to being no different from street leafleting and charity mugging. They’re an eye-sore even more so than those guys ten years ago with the flashing top hats, because the top hats at least got the principals.

Ein Kleines Nachtspiel

I posted recently about being in Budapest with Lee and having to recall how to do night game. It took us a few minutes to remember what to do. It felt like we were Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, two old gimmers long past their youthful best, unable to do what previously had come so easily in their youth.

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Well I have been in Warsaw for the last three weeks. That’s in Poland that is. I went to meet a student of mine. ‘Nick from Newcastle’, we’ll call him. We do get together from time to time as ‘friends’, but really, I just feel sorry for him and he needs my coaching. What can I say, the man needs me? He’d be lost without me.

I keep him on the straight and narrow. How squalid his life would get without me coaxing him back onto the straight and narrow from time to time, I dread to think, but it would be pretty squalid.

But joking aside, I hadn’t seen Nick in a long while and it was a lot of fun to see him again. Bodi came by for the last week and it was the icing on the cake. It was like it was 2012 all over again. By the time my student came over for 5 days infield coaching, we were cooking on gas and it was a big spike of fun and frolics for a whole week.

So one Saturday night, I was sitting around my Polish Airbnb twiddling my thumbs. It was just after Nick took a few days off in Kiev, just before Bodi and the student turned up.  I was in a funny old apartment. It was from the 1930s, the decor hadn’t changed since then. It was pretty ancient and it was underground. So dingy and antiquated. I don’t mind that, but early Saturday afternoon, I needed to get out.

So seeking some thrills, I hit the bars. My aim was simply to sup on some cheap cocktails and meet some people. I was alone, but as we all know, game is a skill-set you carry with you that can quickly score you friends wherever you go.

Not to hunt skirt, just to socialise and have a good night, I found myself at 9pm, Saturday night, walking into a bar alone. I glanced around, noted the surroundings and said to myself exactly what I used to say at the beginning of every boot-camp back in the day. ‘Let’s go to work’.

The bar was half the size and shape of a tennis court. It had music, but not loud. It had about 20 people in it. The serving area was against the long wall opposite the door. It was about half male and half female. The hottest girl was a blonde in her late 20s in dark rimmed glasses. She sat with a friend at a table against the far wall. At the bar were two 6s. Then a few scattered mixed sets.

So my first job was to social proof. I walked to the bar, asked the 6s if I could take one of their cocktail menus, glanced at the drinks and ordered myself a vodka Red Bull.

I’d seeded the 6s with my presence. They’d likely make a good pawn set when the time came. But for now, I need to build a bit more value. I don’t want to get a cold shoulder too early and burn the bar. So I waited for a mixed set to come into range. What I wanted to do was create a slight buzz around me and let the whole bar, including my seeded pawn set, see me being popular and having fun.

It didn’t take long. Within a few minutes two well dressed guys walked in, planted themselves next to me at the bar and waited to get served.

‘Guys, get in here, get to the bar’, I said, as I made way for them to get in front of me. Nods were exchanged and a few pleasantries. The guys were from France and they were warm to me joining their group. I pulled away, checked my phone and sent signals to them that I wasn’t desperate for company.

After a few moments it was time to act.

‘Lads, can I ask you a favour? It’s a bit of an odd one’.

‘Sure what’s up?’

I told them my friend was back at the hotel and saying he was going to stay in. I told them I wanted to coax him out. I wanted to What’s App him a photo, get him out of his bed on a Saturday night.

So now the three of us were pausing for photos, clinking glasses and laughing. We’re in full swing now, just having a conversation, ‘what brings you to Warsaw’ etc.

  • Any question they ask me, I answer in a DHV, because I know the potential pawn set can hear me. This is why it’s SO important that bars aren’t loud. Bars in London are far too loud.
  • Those photos of me clinking glasses with two suave looking guys, they’re DHV photos. Straight up to Facebook the next morning ‘new friends in Warsaw’ or What’s App them to targets.

At this point two girls new come up to the bar. Low 7s. I’d seen one of them watching me so I just looked at her (Red 7) and said;

‘You’re not Polish are you’

It didn’t matter what I said, she’d been watching me and she was a low 7. It’s a new pawn set, it’s keen, so I decide to take advantage. I only need her around so that I am not a chode without a girl. I don’t need a big win here, just for her to talk to me. She’s been watching me and I’ve enough value now to rely on an easy open.

It was a five minute conversation. Basic set. Light DHVs, get her jumping through a few hoops, then I introduce her to my French friends. She told me she was a French teacher so it was an easy merge. Now I’m the guy who brings people together. At this point, I’m becoming the focal point of the bar.

I have Red 7 in my pocket. In the real world, not ‘Jimmy’s got a girlfriend world’, I can take her number at any point. She’s a low 7, 20 year old redhead. A pawn set but a decent consolation prize should I go home empty handed. But my job now is to use the pawn set to propel myself into a good target set. That would be the blonde in the dark rimmed glasses I mentioned.

Red 7. Something like this.

Red 7. Something like this.

At this point, I have a spot of luck. I’m now in a solid merged set. The French guys like me as I am bringing them girls. The girls like me as I am cool. But what happens next sky rockets my value in the bar. A guy walks in wearing the most amazing fancy dress costume I ever saw. It was an Imperial Scout from Star Wars. Not a Storm Trooper, an Imperial Scout. This guy it turns out worked in the theatre as a costume designer and he’d made the outfit himself. It was perfect. Blast marks, the lot. It was good enough to be in the film. Complete with replica blaster.

I wanted a photo with him, so I left my set; I bought him and his girlfriend a round of drinks and told him my nephew loved Star Wars. I was with them for five minutes; we had photos and talked about our jobs.

He was an impressive guy. I was pleased to meet him and I was blown away by his craftsmanship. If anyone ever wants a replica Star Wars outfit, then PM me and I can send you his details, because his work is second to none.

So now I am the guy who is high fiving the Imperial Scout and his hot girlfriend. Red 7 is looking over smiling (it’s a text book take away, I’ve moved on and the pawn wants me back) and more importantly, the blonde target set is now watching me as I knock back shots with the Empire.

At this point I am about one hour in. It’s quite an investment, especially given that at any moment, any set can decide to leave the bar and thus I lose a lot of my investment, especially if it’s the target set. This is one of the huge drawbacks to bar game. You can’t dally; you have to strike while the iron is hot.

As I walk past Red 7 I say ‘hi’ and she invites me to join her and her friends. I note a friendly looking guy and hippy gal has joined her. I tell her I’ll join them later and I go to the bathroom. I don’t want to join her set seated just yet. It’s harder to work the bar when you’re seated, I still have a lot of capital elsewhere and I don’t want to be on the outskirts of a conversation between 4 good friends.

So I go to the bathroom, talk to a few people in the queue and return to the bar. I buy another drink and talk to some people nearby.

At this point I see the target blonde walking over to me. She’s left her friend and is heading to the bar so I take my chance.

Not quite as highly placed as this, but close.

Not quite as highly placed as this, but close.

Now, I don’t need an opinion opener. I don’t need to come in under the radar here. I KNOW she has been watching me. She’s seen me laughing, taking photos, clinking glasses, being the centre of attention, looking good and mixing with the Imperial Scout. Everyone in the bar wanted a photo with the cunt; but I was getting to know HIM and his girlfriend, not the suit. I wasn’t using him for a quick photo.

She walks right up to the bar, stands right next to me and looks ahead. She is clearly waiting for me to talk to her. So I just say:

‘Now YOU’RE an elegant looking lady’.

It was the truth. I was only telling her the truth. She stuck with me for 20 minutes listening to my DHVs before I sent her back to her friend. ‘I don’t want your friend to be on her own’.

It’s a ballsy move. It’s the kind of gamble you find you have to take at times in bar game. She was the hottest girl in the bar and she was into me. I just sent her away. I know it’s a hot set and I know in real life (if I was out to score) I’d have about 10 minutes to make some quick decisions.

Now something else happened. A new group joined the bar. 4 very cool looking, well dressed Turkish guys with a 8. The new hottest girl in the bar. The new target. My senses were becoming dulled by the vodkas, but I was in high spirits for now and was revelling in pulling the strings.

The new target set positioned near the door. I returned to my central position and as luck would have it, the guy from the Red 7 set was at the bar so I introduced myself.

‘Ah, you’re from Italy! I am friends with Kasha’.

I roped the guy into conversation, bought a tray of shots (£5) and reignited red 7 as a pawn set. I told stories about my Italian drummer, when I did a tour of Italy, how I love Lucio Battisti. I had the set rapt for as long as I needed. Turkish 8 saw the whole thing and heard a lot of my DHVs.

Then my hard work started to pay off. Two things happened, right in front of Turkish 8 and she saw the whole thing.

The blonde target walked past me and gave me her number, in full sight of the whole bar. Then the Imperial Scout returned. He came in, high fived me, chatted to me, then bought me a beer and went into the corner with his girlfriend.

Using my peripheral vision I could see Turkish 8, watching me. Let’s consider what she saw:

A chatty, well dressed English guy talking about when he toured Italy in his band. A group of 4 people standing with him and laughing. A hot girl throws her phone number at him. An Imperial Scout walks in, high fives him and buys him a beer.

I stick with my Italians and keep an eye on the new target set. The Italians invite me for lunch on Sunday. I give them my number. The guy takes my number as do all the girls. Red 7 immediately texts me there and then to ‘test the number is right’.

That’s the Red 7 and Blonde spectacles collected. Now remember, I am doing all this with one hand tied behind my back. I am not asking for numbers, just passing my time. I am not running comfort, I am not telling girls ‘look, I really do fancy you, we should do coffee tomorrow’, I am without the two crucial weapons in the pickup arsenal – verbal and physical escalation. It’s all value game, push/pull and social dynamics, in other words – all attraction. It’s all arms length and very stand-offish. I don’t have any desire to cheat on my girl, especially not with girls who are a couple of points below her.

Bad luck! The Turkish 8 leaves the bar with her set. So I simply leave and follow them at a distance. The bar I was in was in an open air market courtyard, a little like the Camden markets in London. It’s really like one big open air nightclub with separate bars. So I tracked the new target set to their new bar which was two doors away. I hung back, saw them head in, waited a moment and walked in.

I immediately saw the guys, but the skirt was nowhere to be seen. No problem. My plan was to get a drink, open the guys and be in the target’s set by the time she turned up. But first I was playing a hunch. She’d be in the queue for the bathroom.

I headed down the steps and there was a queue. And there, right at the end of the queue, staring up wide eyed as I descended down the stairs was Turkish 8. I glanced past her, joined the queue, casually let my eyes meet hers and said gruffly: ‘Hey. I’m Jimmy Jambone’.

Pretty accurate comparison. Obviously this is a pro photo.

Pretty accurate comparison. Obviously this is a pro photo.

The deal was done. I’d sealed my reputation in the previous bar. I seeded a few DHVs for a while, went into the mens’ room, went back upstairs and waited. I worked a few more sets, to pawn off. All guys. Got them chatting and laughing. Before long the Turks noticed me and one of the guys opened me. Another spot of luck.

Invited into their set, I had an hour with them, working Turkish 8 in plain site of the set, under the radar. Mixing indifference to her with spiked DHVs. The guys were buying me drinks.

Now, I worked out there was no dating going on. I couldn’t work out how they all knew each other, I wasn’t getting very straight answers. Only that they all were doing Erasmus. Turkish 8 turned out to be Polish and from Lodz and going back to Lodz the next day. The guys were all Turkish and were flying back to Turkey in the morning.

One of the Turks, the coolest guy, the guy who bought me drinks, was clearly working her. Standing very close in isolation and talking close to her ear. Very close body language. She wasn’t reciprocating. I got the impression she had been but was keeping him on ice as long as I was there.

She in fact isolated me. We spoke in isolation for 5 minutes and she asked me straight out, ‘do you want to come clubbing with us tonight’.

  • That’s a step too far. Knowingly working some social dynamics to my favour in a bar is bad enough, but going to a club in the knowledge that a girl is trying to get with me… that’s a step too far.
  • I liked the Turkish guy. Why should I jack his set just for kicks when I had no intention of doing anything. If I was playing for keeps fair enough, but for me this was a pre season friendly. For him, it was the real thing. He was going for the lay and I liked him. Who knows, they could be married three years from now. They looked good together. I didn’t want to get in the way of that.
  • Clubbing! I am 38!!

I declined, so she took my number.

I hung around a while longer then did the Irish goodbye. Got home at 4am.

The next day I had enthusiastic What’s App messages from Red 7 and Turkish 8. I ignored them and of course never texted the Blonde in glasses. I have no idea if those leads would have ever gone anywhere in the real world, but it was not a bad haul for a guy on ice. Not quite a Sidney Crosby, but not as bad as a Shayne Gostibehere.