Variables

I guess I might be living vicariously through Mojo.  At least it is a way to get a poker post going where I haven’t peeked a card in months.  Another former passion was programming.  Early on you learn about variables.  Variables, depending on language, really vary way beyond storing that temporary and changeable data.  Without variables there would be no computer programming. All a computer would do is rote actions. Think about that in the variety of things life presents for both our amusement and destruction.

Poker and hands are the general topics of discussion.  People wax poetic on that art.   Throw in some betting and it can even get testy. I loved that aspect early on.  Really, most of that isn’t a huge stretch.  When you add implied odds, we can ratchet the give and take to late night bar status and tempers.  But, many love to again  hash all that out or lurk to fire off blazing counterpoint.  I leave that to the obvious blogger candidates.

I have seemed the guy building Mojo to the status that makes him uncomfortable with the praise.  And, no, Lightning, we aren’t holding hands yet.  None of us will ever look to be comfortable in Bobby’s room or throwing a dozen rebuys at a bracelet. In our poker world coolers and heaters aren’t life changing events. Gods no; but demigod mode is a possibility.

The above couple of paragraphs when flow charted from a programmer’s view would be a collection of variable, constants and decision point.  It could make it all branch in one direction or another and poker does that.

Now Dave professes modesty and maybe with grounds instead of being the angle shooter we all … sorry, never-mind, its that envy gremlin.    He’s better than he professes.  He’s worse than multiple bracelet holders.  What he is, that most miss, is in the sweet spot.  It doesn’t happen often.  There is an absence of the cycling that should populate the bell curve.  It is taking the variable and building the proper decision tree.   Programmers can flow chart anything — right or wrong.

Dave found the sweet spot.  I’ve done it at times too.  You’ve found the ideal solution.  That doesn’t relate to risk:reward, structure, or that host of topics we assign to poker success.  It is like the sports player seeing the pitch in slow motion and counting the rotations and selecting the path out of the park.  He keeps it simple with “I was in THE ZONE.”   Others might put it, “We own that pitcher/park/team.”

Programming can make it all look unlimited in scope but that is just a trick.   It is on rails and even the one that played on Jeopardy only seems “smart” against a host of limiting rules that make its participation possible.   Poker seems to embrace that and we players seem to do that too.   We follow the normal decision tree and keep filling in the variables that math or mood have taught us.  And, the limited expectation meet luck and reward us at times with greater or lesser results.

Then there is that sweet spot.  You know what the question is before it gets asked.   You can ask the question before Alex displays the answer.  You have mastered all the applicable variables.  You don’t recognize it at first.  In poker it manifests even in the off cycle.  You become comfortable getting runner-runnered.   You aren’t a better player or person.  You’ve mastered the variables.  Some miss it a move on without recognizing it.  But, you can plan and seek with success as well.

I found it maybe a half dozen times/places over the poker years.  Its easier to maintain in tournament play but is possible in ring.  It is a combination of knowing the players or player type pat.  It a field that works with the structure to let you optimize.  Like a program that handles all the variables and can properly branch on a decision tree and still sucks, that isn’t necessarily success without optimization.  Most of the time we don’t get to optimize properly.  (Sites are scrambling to drop the advantage.  Bodog created anonymous.  Others drive successful players from their site.  Dumb side effects that don’t recognize what is happening.)

Programmers handle all the above with a single word:  ELEGANCE.  Don’t bother with the dictionary version.  It takes those with the understanding to recognize its occurrence and transient nature.

You want to call it by a modest name it is not embarrassing yourself.  That’s as unfair as most ideas of what is happening.  Really it is a form of cheating.  Not the other players.  For you moment and situation, you know you can beat the statistics that should balance things.  Dammit but it is so much fun when you can make that happen.  Enjoy,  Dave.  You’ve earned it.  Outliers exist but being able for whatever time to make yourself one beats it all.

ADDENDUM:

My first sweet spot was, of all things, a freeroll and my last was that Stud8 tournament on UB.  I have said all that before and you can view how the stud ran using the categories for the blog.  I’m really disappointed with the government and UB because they took that away.   Hell, if I’d known how all that was going to play out, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  The sweet spot is a reward all its own.   Money is just a bonus. Great and the more modest capbale athletes know that too.  How many have you heard that have said “I’d do this if they didn’t pay me.”  Or limp a tired body from a playing field that punishes more. That really doesn’t work well with poker when similarly expressed; but it is there.

Programming approaches the world from its very different mind-set.  Variables can be global or local.  Make a mistake and it a bug that might not show up for months or years.  Doing it on the fly is an invitation to failure.  Zoning is as grand as winning the WSOP.  Programming doesn’t allow you to think in an unstructured way.  That’s what I’ve talked about — designing or finding a structure that you can manipulate. In a programmer’s term that is elegance.

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You want the truth?  You can’t handle the truth.  Hokey movie reference aside, this is a hard read.

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  1. April 3rd, 2012 at 17:47 | #1

    “Enjoy,  Dave.  You’ve earned it. ”

    Oh, I am. Not sure what is going on or how long it will last, but I’m definitely enjoying it. 

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