CONSOLATION TWENTY-EIGHT: POKER

     Always a favorite hobby, poker has become something more to me now that I'm in my late seventies. It's the one competitive activity I can still do with men and women a third my age. Can't do it in sports -- in golf, the only sport I can still play without tearing myself apart, I have to use the senior tees. Can't do it professionally -- I'm retired from all that. Only in poker can I still sit down with 20-, 30-, 40-, 50-, and 60-year-olds and match wits for hours in a contest whose criterion for success or failure is wonderfully clear: when I get up from the table, have I won their money, or have they won mine? All serious poker players know this is what finally counts.

     But they also know they'll often lose. So much of the game depends on luck (I'd say about eighty percent) that everyone who regularly plays accepts losing as an unavoidable fact of poker life. For me, the key to managing loss is limiting how much I let myself lose in a single day -- two hundred bucks. This past weekend I was careless. On Friday, at the newly-opened poker room in Perryville, Maryland, I won $200, then came back Sunday and lost that $200 plus $200 more. I've kicked myself ever since for not quitting when that first $200 went missing.

     On the other hand, if your cards are good you ought to take advantage of them as long as the run lasts and stop only when you're sure it's over. Two weeks ago during Easter weekend I played on Good Friday at the Delaware Park poker room, had an exceptional run, and quit when my winnings throttled back from over $700 to $600. Two days later, Easter Sunday, I played again, this time at Perryville, and by following the same plan came away with $400 more. The Perryville win doubtless helped me lose there this past weekend, encouraging me to overplay several hands I normally fold and to drop that Sunday $400. Winning can make you do that until losing clears your head and sobers you up. The only comfort I take from the Sunday loss is that it suggests my Easter win the weekend before was probably not the result of divine intervention. (Here follow circa 1500 words explaining the no-limit poker I always play and how compatible it is philosophically with my atheistic materialism. The complete text, originally posted 4/27/13 on my personal blog, can be viewed by clicking here onto:  [consolationsofatheism.blogspot.com])

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Views: 811

Comment by Michael on August 21, 2011 at 4:59pm

Your universe is a scary place. We can be obliterated any moment by asteriods or a giant solar flare.

Comment by Rocky Oliver (LotusGeek) on August 21, 2011 at 5:57pm

Being rational, being a humanist, living this life to its fullest because it is the only one you have, is much more comforting that the thought that there's some god-daddy who willfully puts his subjects through the crap this world and its inhabitants have been through - and then claim that this same deity "loves us".

If that's love, I'll take hate.

Oh, and if believing means that you also believe that humans, at their very core, are evil, then that is a cold and depressing way to view your fellow humans. Me? I believe in the inherent good, worth, and dignity of all humans, and that "evil" is an aberration, not the norm.

Furthermore, if by extension this means that the only reason a "believer" good and moral is from fear of this god-daddy deity - then what a sad, petty, shallow person a believer must be. I know that my family and I are good because of our own self-motivation and sense of worth (and aforementioned belief in the inherent worth and dignity of others), not because of fear.

 

No, I'll take this life, this here-and-now, and I will make the most of it. I will be the best person I can be, and by extension I will try to make the lives of those around me better; and I'll do all of this because it is the right thing to do - period.

Comment by anti_supernaturalist on September 22, 2011 at 9:18pm

the universe shows no purpose, provides no comfort



 

Neither physical nature nor human nature demonstrate anything about a superordinate, supernatural realm populated by creators or law givers. Nor is nature “God”.


Nature is silent. There is no concept of truth in nature. There is no concept of morality in nature. There are no concepts whatsoever in nature. Nature knows nothing.



 

Nature is neither meaningful nor meaningless. Neither a source of comfort (natural theology) nor a source of despair (existentialism). Both are rooted in the same mistaken presupposition that supernatural meaning can be found by searching the heavens for gods or quarrying human inwardness for moral laws.



 

• Instead, religions belong to cultures embedded in nature. And cultures are our distinctive human-all-too-human handiwork. Religions are obsolete, unnecessary cultural artifacts.


the anti_supernaturalist

 

 

Comment by Mabel on April 12, 2012 at 3:27pm

Wow. You are a regular Jack Lalanne. I enjoyed reading this.

Comment by Rocky Oliver (LotusGeek) on April 12, 2012 at 6:28pm

I am way confused. Why does it seem that many, many of us responded to this last year - to an obviously different topic - yet this was posted 08 APR 2012?

Comment by SteveInCO on December 4, 2012 at 12:11am

And now again, brand new topic on December 3 2012, but there are comments--totally irrelevant to this post--back from 2011....

Comment by CJoe on January 18, 2013 at 11:56pm

hey Richard! you coming to our meet-up the 21st?!

Comment by Diane on January 19, 2013 at 7:22am

I think if the original poster edits the post and saves it, it gets re-posted with the previous comments intact.  

Comment by SteveInCO on January 19, 2013 at 8:24am

Diane?  With the date changed?

Hmmm... I should experiment on one of mine.

Comment by SteveInCO on February 2, 2013 at 12:27pm

So I guess this guy has found a cheap way to post over and over again.

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