poker journal

I’ve recently starting reading Jared Tendler’s Mental Game of Poker, which focuses on a lot of common poker problems that don’t really have to do with cards or chips, but rather mental areas where you can have leaks such as motivation, confidence, and tilt. It’s more of a psychology read than a straight poker book, and in that sense it’s a lot more engaging because the principles taught are applicable to pretty much every activity that you do.

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One of the more salient changes I’ve made from the advice in this book is that I’ve started writing in a journal. Most of my entries are poker-related and log my before- and after-session thoughts, my benchmarks, and what I need to work on. It’s really helpful for someone like me, who doesn’t get the opportunity to play very often, because it is a reminder of where my game is and where I need to focus my efforts in order to improve. Without that, there’s no tracking my progress and, although I feel I learn something from every session I play, I am not ingraining it into my brain and building upon that acquired knowledge.

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shower thoughts

You know when, in movies, the protagonist takes a shower, and they are usually shown facing the shower with the spray of water hitting or running down their face, an arm sometimes used to prop themselves up against the wall, deep in troubled thoughts?

Who takes showers like that? These scenes always strike me as weird. Do people really take showers with water hitting them constantly in the face? I mean, I’m always facing away from the water so that I’m not having to keep my eyes closed while I’m in there. That, and I think it feels a lot better to have hot water running onto your neck and shoulders rather than your splashing up in your face, especially if you’re trying to think some thoughts out.

I’m sure the reason movie characters stand there dousing their heads is for dramatic effect, but it’s one of those things in movies that now stand out to me as not being reflective of reality, and those always drive me nuts. Then again, maybe I’m the weird one taking showers facing the wrong way.

can we predict the future…computationally?

Disclaimer: if you don’t like nerdy philosophical thoughts (or run-on sentences), skip this post. Now…

One thing that I’ve always thought as theoretically possible is the ability to describe every and all occurrences using mathematics. By “all occurrences” I mean anything and everything that goes on inside and around us; we could calculate with 100% certainty literally everything, such as being able to computer-simulate all plants and animals in nature, all the way to completely understanding the way that our brains work, down to the utmost detail, that we could literally calculate how and why we make the decisions we do. If we could quantify anything and everything, there would be no need for debate or voting for one side of an issue against another; there would just one correct answer for anything, backed by perfect logic, immaculate math, and some crazy sort of super-duper computer (I’m picturing the cube-thingy from I, Robot).

Before, I thought that there were only two obstacles to creating this perfect computational model of how everything works: first, we would need to advance computer technology until there exists a machine capable of the billions upon trillions upon quadrillion calculations needed per second to simulate all matter around us on the most basic and fundamental molecular level (or maybe in greater detail down to the quark or whatever sub-atomic particles are smallest); and second, we would need to attain this wizard-like scientific understanding of how everything works so that master nerds of the world could develop the mathematical models governing all phenomena and feed this imaginary number-crunching, nay, number-demolishing juggernaut of a processing machine so that it could then spit out the past, present, and future for us.

Now, I am starting to think that achieving this level of mastery and understanding may in fact not be attainable, and here is my thought process: imagine for a moment that you can easily and perfectly quantify anything and everything. Specifically, we would know the exact amount of energy that it takes for any phenomena to occur. For discussion’s sake, let’s use the human body as an example, and for a moment, think of the human body as an evolved machine with billions upon billions of mechanisms going on inside at any given point. I choose humans and emphasize that we are evolved and a product of a sort of trial and error by nature to make us into the machines we are, in order to beg a few questions: what if it is impossible to improve on the mechanics of molecular composition and biological evolution at the point that it is now, that the way things have evolved are as close to perfection as it can possibly be so far? And since most would agree that it would take more energy to observe, break down, and understand a phenomenon than it takes for it to just naturally occur, wouldn’t it be impossible for man to design something with a more efficient level of energy usage that could be used to perfectly observe, simulate, and replicate the best design already produced by nature?