Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In the Reading Room

I am writing today from an unusual setting -- the reading room of the Firestone Memorial Library at Princeton University. I tagged along with Vera on a trip up here and have been enjoying running around campus and meeting various folks so far today, including sharing with a few of them the strange story of my detour from the academic life into one of poker writing.

Any college campus is a nice place to be, never mind one as packed with resources as Princeton. And by resources I mean both books and other research materials as well as a community of intellectually curious and interesting people with whom to share ideas and develop them.

I have spent a great deal of my life on college campuses, both as a student and as a teacher. Even before that, actually. I’ve mentioned here before how my father taught physics at a college, and thus even as a kid I was on a campus quite a bit, getting introduced to libraries and gymnasiums and administrative buildings. And long, quiet hallways and people sitting under trees with books and so on.

Not going to be here long enough to explore much, I’m afraid. And I didn’t even think before I came of perhaps contacting someone from the Princeton Poker Club, which operates here as a chapter of the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS). Not sure how active the Princeton Poker Club is these days -- online the announcements and seem to have died down a bit over the last 12 months or so. But imagine I might’ve found someone with something to say about the games here.

Plenty else to do, though. Earlier I wandered down to Nassau Street to visit the Labyrinth Bookstore, one of those ultra-cool college bookstores that seems to have everything. Resisted spending too much, just picking up one old Philip Dick title I’d read long ago and always wanted to read again. (And wished I had on my shelf.) But I did linger a bit before the literature and lit. crit., running my finger over the spines of familiar names and titles, pulling a few off the shelves here and there to remind myself of this or that.

Anyhow, I only have a moment to check in here, and so must sign off. Think Vera and I might try a quick day trip over to NYC tomorrow, a place we’ve been before several times but not for many years. And then Friday I’ll be back on a plane and headed to France for next week’s EPT Deauville.

As much as I enjoyed it, I don’t really miss teaching full-time. That is to say, having just the one class at present suits me fine. And I’m happy and grateful for the current life that came along to replace the academic one.

But I do sometimes miss the libraries. And the bookstores and coffee shops. And just hanging out and talking and thinking about it all without having to worry too much about being somewhere else.

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Blogger Mike Stein said...

Hi Shamus,

I helped run the Princeton GPSTS until about a year ago. I understand that the club still continues, though perhaps less ambitiously. It was always tough to get any interest in events other than free tournaments with prizes (often sponsored by financial firms as recruiting events), but we had tried to get a few more community-oriented events such as strategy lectures and TV-viewing parties going. Had I still been there and known of your visit, I'm sure we could have coordinated a brief lecture or meetup which would have been attended by... realistically, only myself and 1-3 of the others from the small handful of serious players on campus. You didn't miss much!

Labyrinth Books and the Firestone Library are probably among the few places I'd have recommended you see. Alchemist & Barrister and Triumph Brewing are both nice bars/breweries with great food if you don't have dinner plans yet. I hope you had a nice visit!

Mike Stein

1/30/2013 5:07 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thanks for the tip, Mike! Vera and I did end up having a great meal at the Alchemist & Barrister. We both went to UNC-Chapel Hill, and found ourselves thinking of Franklin Street repeatedly while hanging out on Nassau.

2/01/2013 4:56 PM  

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