Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Avenue Tuesday

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
-Arthur C. Clarke

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
-George Orwell

First off: This is pretty awesome. I did a wee bit of graphics and dsp stuff in school, and this is just very cool. It'll be amazing when this sort of thing hits commercial accessibility.

Second off: Go Canada! From 0 to 13 medals in what, 4 days? Shut up ya Yanks, you have 10x as many people as us, but not 10x as many medals, so thppppt. (Pay no attention to Australia and their ratio of population to medals). Jealous Belarus?

Third off: Second in the LPR game last night. PirateLawyer's rivered K saved his ass, and then he went on to win. Granted, by the time we got HU, I just wanted it to be over. I'll take my $36 thankyouverymuch.

Fourth off: Finally seeing Avenue Q tonight. I've heard many great things, and it's about time I got around to it.

Enough with counting offs. Let's examine some quotes.

Clarke's quote is known as Clarke's first law. It's actually concise and pretty solid if you think about it. Science is a compound game. Hawking stands on the shoulders of giants. Without Newton, is there Einstein? Science is only as good as the capabilities of its time. Newton had his apple and worked out gravity. Einstein had Newton and figured out how gravity fit in the bigger picture. Hawking had them both, some radio telescopes, atomic theory, and more advanced math and started defining the cosmos. Now there's a rather large hadron collider in Europe which will either destroy us all or answer even more questions about quantum theory.

Same goes for poker. In some saloon or riverboat a century ago, some guys were tossing nickels around playing triple draw or 5-card stud. The veteran players knew the cards only mattered if you had an ace up your sleeve, but mattered less if you were slow on the draw. Fast forward 60 years and the game hadn't changed much. But guys with nicknames like Texas Dolly and Amarillo Slim were winning and losing their life's savings regularly on the road. Then Doyle wrote a book. He was worried it would hurt his game to reveal his secrets, but the lure was obviously too great. Eventually, this poker thing REALLY caught on. A couple math dorks went and looked at the game statistically and put it on paper. People won lots of money and told others how they played. Etc, etc, etc..

But here's the thing - Harrington's style is different than Brunson's. Negreanu and Hellmuth don't play the same strategy. Sklansky and Ferguson both do the math, but sometimes come to different conclusions. Each generation of players has someone who advances the game. The rules haven't changed, the equipment is the same, and the math actually works now because the cheating has been curbed (one would hope). This is why there continues to be poker books coming out. Why online videos and training sites still have people signing up. Why our blogs keep getting read - the game hasn't changed, but the strategy keeps evolving, thanks to those who have come before that provided the shoulders to stand on.

The difference between Doyle and the old guy across the table from you bitching about his aces being cracked? Doyle hasn't admitted something is impossible, but the old guy refuses to learn any more. Don't be the old guy.

Orwell's quote? I just enjoy the irony of it.


Shrike said...

Ahem ... let's not talk about the perfect storm of hands you got to even get you in position to put me at risk for my tournament life in the first place? Tsk, tsk. -)

Astin said...

Why would I talk about that? It happens all the time.

Not my fault you call a pot-sized river bet with 2nd pair on a 3-flush board.