Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: poker and bluffing

Author:David McCusker
Posted:9/29/2000; 10:26:45 AM
Topic:poker and bluffing
Msg #:21840 (In response to 21831)
Prev/Next:21839 / 21841

Joshua Allen: What made you decide to outgrow (I am assuming long ago) counting coup games?

I made no conscious decision. I can't recall ever pursuing such games when based on verbal exchanges. Perhaps it was an accident of family structure. I was one of five children born close together, and we didn't play verbal counting coup, though we played other vicious games. (The goal of our conflicts was always to make the other person angry.)

At least two things early in life might have made such games less relevant to me. For a game to be interesting, it must be challenging and be played for suitable stakes. Until college I didn't have any academic competitors, and this mitigated any challenge of tweaking folks with words. Later I had more serious problems than whether I was a target of a put down, such as getting myself through college.

Joshua Allen: Some people play intellectual counting coup games without realizing it; others realize it and play anyway. Even being aware that such a thing exists would presumably make you a formidable player, destined to be fat and happy, drinking moet and surrounded by women.

I can seldom work up the energy to do it. Besides I'm just not very witty in the quick thinking sense. Most likely I'm two steps behind the pack in any pell mell rush to reach the top of the hill. But in the process, I integrate a lot of what happens into coherent wholes. This makes me come in late with more trenchant ideas.

Counting coup is a kind of finite game, and I like infinite games much more. Being a successful player of ephemeral games has very little appeal to me.

Joshua Allen: What insight compells you to evolve beyond that?

That's an interesting question, since if I had an insight I could share it and help other folks see differently.

All I can do is explain the intuition I had very young, when I was trying to figure out why other folks were so busy stinging each other with words all the time. It's related to what Dave Winer says about responding to idea situations as if one is about to be eaten by a predator.

Words aren't real. They're just virtual models. They matter most when they are tied to our actual intentions, such as promises to do certain things in mutual exchanges. But words that don't have potential to change one's life in a real way have much less consequence.

Ideas (and the words that express them) can be used in several ways. They can be used to sting other folks according to the rules, or they can be used to change the rules themselves. I find the latter more interesting. Just making other folks look foolish isn't compelling.

This page was archived on 6/13/2001; 4:56:53 PM.

© Copyright 1998-2001 UserLand Software, Inc.