Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Remembering to Remember

Memory LaneStarting tomorrow, I’ll spend the last three days of 2010 posting “year in review” posts in which I revisit the last 12 months of Hard-Boiled Poker. A ritual I’ve performed the last couple of years, ever since I decided to start trying to post (at least) every weekday in January 2008.

I happen to like this sort of looking back. While I usually remember if I’ve written before about a certain topic or issue, I obviously cannot recall all of the specifics. I mean, I’m no Marilu Henner -- i.e., possessed with superior autobiographical memory (a condition called “hyperthymesia” or “hyperthymestic syndrome”). So going through old posts tends to bring back a lot. And while I’ll cringe every now and then at this or that turn of phrase or point that could’ve been better made, for the most part it’s fun to revisit and even relive.

Now is the time of year when a lot of poker players are also starting to look back at how the year has gone, with their final sessions this week perhaps helping to determine how ultimately they’ll be evaluating their 2010. I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s post how I had begun to do just that myself. And how as I look over my graph for the year I’m starting to realize (and accept) that the upward slope ain’t necessarily what I’d like to see.

Indeed, if I’m going to be honest, I have to admit the line looks a lot more sloppy than slope-y.

In truth, the sucker only starts to perk up above the break-even line here near the year’s conclusion. Wrote a post a few months ago about playing “break-even poker” in which I tried a bit of self-diagnosis, hoping perhaps to identify a leak or three in order to alter the trend. Have been somewhat successful in doing so since then, but much work remains -- work that involves doing more than simply noting results while engaged in this business of looking back.

It’s hard, though, not to be selective with our memories, highlighting the good and downplaying the bad. Even when staring full on at the hand histories, the stats... the unemotional, unambiguous facts.

I wonder what it would be like for a professional poker player to have hyperthymesia -- to be able to recall everything from one’s own experience, including details of all the hands one has ever played?

One would think such a condition would be immensely beneficial, given how the ability to remember players’ styles, particular sequences of action in given hands, and even cards (in stud games, for instance) can directly translate into better decision-making at the tables.

That said, we’ve all experienced in poker the difference between knowing what to do and following through. I might remember that dude has never, ever check-raised the minimum on the river without the nuts. But I might call him, anyway....

Could be great, I guess, in poker to be possessed with superior autobiographical memory. Then again, it could be maddening.

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Blogger RGC2005 said...

Total Recall would probably save me a fortune in bad calls. However you hit the nail on the head with the point about following through. Sometimes we just cannot nut up and fold.
Good luck with the year in summary.

12/29/2010 3:36 AM  

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