i won tonight's poker mini-tournament. after what must have been a gruelling 4+ hour? battle... i won money to tide over the weekend=).

i'm particularly proud of this one because it took so much concentration. i thought i played a really good game, keeping myself always under control, (even when i started off losing a bit pot), working my way up and slowly waiting for the players to wear each other out. i have a real feel now for the psychology of the game and it's really amusing to really think whether the game theory/statistics you learn does occur and you'd be surprised at how irrational/rational people are.

in the end though, it's of course partly luck. and there is no formula to winning, because it's randomization. but there is a formula to losing, and i'm glad i haven't lost in a while, and i forget to realise how much of that is due to curbing excesses and knowing how to avoid psychological traps.

before i sound like a compulsive crazy gambler, i don't do this often and not for crazy stakes. decent ones which make the incentives worthwhile, and it is an experiment of sorts for me. after that there was the game where they opened 4 cards and you were supposed to form 24 using the mathematical operations which i enjoyed too (it wasn't for money!)

before that... my friday night excitement for mathematics gripped me but failed to keep me on topic (which is why one ends up playing poker). but i did look up certain biographies of economists/mathematicians mentioned and i came across james mirless' autobiography on the nobel size. with the typical self-deprecating wit of a nerdy scottish maths boy "who couldn't kick a ball because he wore glasses", i began to think how wonderful these stories were. these boys grew up as boys, wondering (trying to avoid stereotyping now, but maybe these people make myths too, but go through their biographies, there are a lot of common streaks), really smart and intelligent but always seeming to be the underdog, on the outside. and you wonder how such a natural gift seems to arise from being crippled in some way and you wonder whether it's all true. the thing is... they seem to be really genial people, as popper said of einstein, it is such a beautiful thing that a person not knowing how the world worked at all (i mean, the proper, everyday world, in the common usage) was allowed to live with such dignity and not cruelly left by the wayside. and hobsbawm raises another example of how alan turing, a man with totally no conception of how the world worked, reported that his boyfriend had stolen something from his place. at that time, homosexuality in england was still illegal, and the gleeful police had the task of arresting 2 felons for the price of one. in any case, i'm glad such people exist to solve all the beautiful equations for us so i can just gawk and marvel. yes. i'm like that.

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