I am not sure if how I did the assignment was what the instructions were meaning for me to do, but it was certainly an informative experience. I started with the question, “How old is poker?” because my original nugget included the quote “If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get far in our understanding of the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability.” By the end of my internet searchings, I was reading all about the psychology of gambling, why we do it, what we get from it, and related articles.
My favorite thing I learned was about out-smarting your opponent. Not because I gamble very often, but because it actually says a lot about thinking complexly;
Levels of Thinking in Poker
- Level 0: No thinking.
- Level 1: What do I have?
- Level 2: What do they have?
- Level 3: What do they think I have?
- Level 4: What do they think I think they have?
- Level 5: What do they think I think they think I have?
As is clear, the men and women who take the gave this seriously are not just relying on luck (which, apparently, is a great way to lose every time you play the game) but composing methods of thinking abstractly, specifically to be thinking above the level of your opponent.
All of the theorems were obviously painstakingly composed over hundreds of years of trial and era. To some, this amount of effort would seem misplaced, as the energy is being devoted to the art of gambling. But, there is no denying there is a science to it, and that part, I find commendable.
On a lighter side, the website also showed me this cool video about bluffing.
I’d search a question, like “how old is poker,” or “what is the oldest card game,” and then follow the links until I felt I had read the same thing a number of times, at which point I’d either rephrase the question or start with another question, either a closely or loosely related to the original question. My process was revision based, but instead of making the question more specific, it often involved changing the question entirely.