Two parallel occurrences have been going on in my life. First, I recently finished reading Ben Mezrich's "Bringing Down the House," about a group of MIT math whizzes who made off with millions outsmarting Las Vegas at blackjack. Second, over the past several weeks, on work breaks I have been playing chess on my iPhone. I am happy to say I can probably beat people who are worse than me.
The games we play tell us a lot about ourselves. I recall reading a Time magazine essay during the Presidential campaign about the preferences of Obama and McCain. Obama is the consumate poker player - quiet, calculating, showing no emotion - who ran the ultimate smart campaign. McCain, by contrast, enjoys high-rolling at the craps table - loud, flamboyant, drawing attention to himself, surging off the adrenalin rush (choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate was the ultimate high-risk/high potential pay-off roll of the dice).
Several months earlier, I read Jonah Leherer's "How We Decide," which dedicated one chapter to what was going on inside the brain of Michael Binger, a particle physicist from Stanford who took home $4 million placing third in the grueling 2006 World Series of Poker.
So, there you are: You see your opponent's knight exposed. Do you try to take it out, or do you smell a trap?
So there you are: You have a low-probability chance of winning the hand. Do you raise your bet, anyway?
So there you are: Your low-risk railroads are paying off. Do you invest the profits in a hotel on Park Place?
Descisions, decisions. As I said, the games we play tell us a lot about ourselves.
Question: Tell us about the games you enjoy. Does your bipolar add an extra dimension? Please feel free to share some of your favorite games stories.
Alternatively: If you don't enjoy games, please feel free to share that, too.
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Published On: March 12, 2011
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