Friday, October 21, 2011

Befriending according to Ben Franklin.

Ben Franklin didn't just fly kites to get shocked by lightning as way to get high, crack the liberty bell to upset Paul Revere, and become the ambassador to France because of a love of pastries, he was actually a pretty smart guy.  Actually, Gentleman Ben might not have done any of those things or had those reasons for doing it, but invariably somebody out there believes that he did and guess what if you try to explain why he's wrong, particularily on the internet, he'll only believe in his side all the more.

Been enjoying a pyschology site that suggest that we are wired pretty strangely.  One thing I picked up was that when people believe in something stongly, sometimes evidence to the contrary only makes them believe all the more.  They'll doubt the source, doubt the data, and write off the critic rather then ammend their way of thinking.  As news sources have gotten narrower in their viewpoints it's become harder for a liberal to accept anything Fox says as accurate and vice versa for conservatives with MSNBC.  In fact, watching the opposite viewpoint will only make you angrier and angrier and throw logic further out the window.

What's this got to do with  Ben Franklin?  He was fount of wisdom.  They above quote couldn't be more applicable than to many of the problems we face today.  Another, tidbit of pyschology I picked up was the something Franklin learned early in his career: that people that do something for somebody else are more likely to like that person than even if that person did something for them.  You like the people you help more than the people that help you.  And if somebody wronged someone else they are more likely to dislike that person (usually to rationalize their own bad behavior) than somebody else.

One of Ben's tactics in life would be to ask advice or favors of enemies and turn them into mentors and friends.  Rather than drive deeper wedges into a fractured relationship, he knew he could curry favor by literally currying favors.  Asking somebody that dislikes you to do something for you is not easy but once done, you create a congnizant disconnect, and they rationalize their actions or behavior by transforming their feelings.  Therefore, they did something for you it must be because they like you.

Perception is reality.

Anyway, I find that interesting.  How does it apply to poker?   They say you should be liked by the person on your left and you should hate the person on your right.  The money moves right to left.  Watch some of the old timers and they'll be talking to the person to their left and ignoring the one to the right.  If you feel slimely by playing a meta-game you can at least curry favors of the person by asking them to make change for you, move over just a little bit, tell you the time, whatever. 

Do so gracefully, not to be a pest, but as a legitimate nice guy.  You'll have them folding to their "buddy" in no time.  Okay, probably not, and this probably won't earn you too much money in the long run but it can't hurt.  If you are going to choose a guy to be friendly with make sure it's the guy to your left.

I once sat down at a table and asked the person to my left if the guy in the first hand I saw had been playing that wide open all day.  The player turned to me and said venomously "You are barking up the wrong tree."  In retrospect good for him, he should think of me as the enemy and do nothing to help me, but sure enough I wore him down.

Another snippet of wisdom applied to poker is the fact people that wrong other people are more likely to dislike those people than if they didn't.  The obvious application is to debts.  How many times have you seen people owe money to someone else, stiff them (even if it was a little bit out of their hands) and then turn around and start painting the other party as the bad guy.  In their mind they've wronged that person, but they think of themselves (in most cases) as intrinsically good, so to have wronged them, that person had to have it coming.  Those they'll justify not paying or justify not paying later because of the way the guy came at them.

If you made the mistake of loaning money you weren't willing to lose to a poker player and then the rent is due, you need to tread very carefully in getting that money back.  Pyschologically speaking you should give them an "out" for their bad behavior that doesn't put the onus on them.  Offer a payment plan, accept a tiny token of good faith and change the frame of that person's perception.  Say you are owed $200 and you know they guy can't pay it then the best way to get the money in the long run is not to go off on him but to get him to pay something.

Collection agencies and other debt collectors understand this that you need to change the person's viewpoint from "I wronged this guy by stiffing him (he must be a bad guy for me to have wronged him)"  to "I paid this guy just $10 of the $200 I owe him (he must be a pretty good guy for me to pay him, and I should probably get him the rest of the money sooner rather than later because he only took $10 out of the $200)."

If you don't have this understanding of human nature you might be offended by the offer of $10 rather than solicit it.  Truth is...

Perception is reality. 


Wanted to say thank you to those who read the blog.  I've gotten a number of repsonses recently and I've made people think.  That was the point of today's blog, rather then just recount some of the ugly knockout hands I've endured (cue bad beats... KK can't hold off QQ aipf, 99 can't beat 64 all in on turn with a 6 on river, and AK can never beat AJ).  Yawn.  I don't have to read a pyschology blog to know nobody likes complainers besides it's poker we've all been there, still in my next post, I respond to a reader who is fed up with the game and questioning his commitment to poker, his beats are worse then mine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New baby, New features coming, and New uses for my pecs

milk man
Lots of things happening at once in my life:

The biggest and most important is the birth of my second child.  Awesome. 

I have a daughter now and she's a late night partier.  Yes, up all night, sleeps all day which hopefully won't be repeated in her college years.  My wife, who has become a vending machine, somehow seems to do 100 things in a day and not get any sleep.  She's up substantially more than me because, well, because my nipples don't work the same way hers do.  Interesting fact though, some men have been known to develop milk when the mother of a newborn is out of the picture.  Which answers the question from Meet the Parents "I have nipples too, Greg, can you milk me?"  Well, yes.

Fortunately, my wife isn't out of the picture so I'm not becoming some sort of mutant man and lactating.  However, I do advise for future fathers to not mention being tired or wanting a nap if your wife is nursing away all night.  Granted there is a certain logic in the concept that being tired has a threshold and once you surpass it you are equally tired.  For example Phil Laak set the poker record playing for like 5 days straight.  He was tired.  The guy playing 4 days straight he's also tired right?

Can he not complain about being tired?  I'd like to think somewhere along the way, where you are almost falling asleep on yourself, probably, there is a level of tiredness you can't surpass.  I'm obviously not talking about physical exhaustion, or athletic exertion, but just generally sleepiness.  Maybe it's 24 hours without sleep.  Whatever it is, you are fricking tired, and believe me when your kid is up all night, you are fricking tired. 

Now, despite knowing this, don't admit to being tired future dads.  I highly advise against it.  And if you fall asleep, while your wife is nursing, do it with one eye open or risk getting the breast pump affixed to your chest and trying to find out if your nipples will in fact nurse.


Got some positive feedback from liberals and conservatives alike about my last political post.  Good to hear most of it was positive and rather then offend everybody more people took it as common ground.


We are also in the process of getting our message board up on the site and (shhhh... on this one) putting together our podcast and getting our cover ready for the yearbook. For reasons that are a little bit outside our control we've been stymied and these things have taken a little bit longer then we'd like. However, I expect things to move pretty quickly, pretty soon.


Haven't played much for obvious reasons, see the first couple of paragraphs, and no it has nothing to do with the wetspots that suddenly develop on my shirt when I hear a baby crying.  And once again I deny that my wife put two breast pumps to my chest when I fell asleep last week to cause this rampant lactation. Anyway, when I have played poker can't seem to avoid big hands in the big blinds when I shove. Can't seem to set up against the overpairs either. Oh well, run good is headed my way next time out.


I hate baseball but for some reason I love the Phillies.  Hard to explain.  During the grotesque regular season that never ends I could care less about the sport or an individual game's outcome.  Perhaps, I should like it more given my affinity for another competition of partial successs but something about a guy only being performing three out of ten times being a stud has never appealed to me.  I also hate how capricious it is. 

Seems like a five game series often times won't reward the best team.  Seven is probably too few as well.  I know they used to play best out of nine around the turn of the century and that makes more sense.  Course I think they only had two teams in the postseason back then. 

Baseball, like poker can only be measured over a long stretch of time.  Streaks mislead both positively and negatively, and sometimes only the lens of a finished career can accurately describe a player.  The Premier League recognizes the more accurate season long standings as the way to crown a team as a champion.  Our sports should consider celebrating the best records a little more than they do.  Of course our postseasons prohibits that (which is a more compelling argument for the bowl system in college football than most people recognize).  Usually the hottest team wins in many of our sports.  I find it funny when talking heads wonder why wildcard teams are winning a lot of titles of late.  Seems obvious to me.

So, being bored by the regular season I find it odd that I'm so invested in the post-season that... I can't bare to watch the games then either.   Constantly asking who will chance smile on on this day is hard to stomach.   What does that make me?  The worst bandwagon fan possible? 

I was sad to see the Phillies lose to an overwhelming Chris Carpenter and an under-respected Cardinals team.  In a seven game series maybe the Phils win the last two, but the Cardinals were certainly good enough to win just one more.  I found it funny that in Philadelphia fans were calling in to complain about the makeup of a team that...  has won their divison the last five years, each year has bettered their record from the year before, won more games this year than in any year of their franchise, has a world series ring already and a ton of playoff wins...  but the fans think they can't win with them.


The men's national team gave me great hope when they signed Jurgen Klinnsman to be their manager.  A series of dour performances and a lack of finishing has finally started to make some people question the hire.  I've seen that he has a strange affinity for a couple of players that I can't quite figure out but I'll still give the man time.  It's odd we are struggling when arguably our players have never shone brighter in the foreign leagues. 

Truthfully, us and Mexico talentwise outclass our region and should be in the top 10, top 15 of teams worldwide.  For some reason we are not.  I hate to admit this but our rival Mexico may have their finest grouping of talent ever, and I think they are a legitimate World Cup champion possibility.  We'll see tonight if they hang with Brazil in a game that I think should be a lot of fun to watch.  Oodles of young talent all over the pitch.  Also, scary for us considering how good we are, and how far ahead Mexico is of us.  We need to beat Ecuador in the warm-up game and put some goals away.