February 3, 2010

Remember to forget

One of the paramount characteristics common to great poker players is an acute faculty for recollection. Poker is a game played with incomplete information, and the ability to retain data (i.e. e.g. - what types of hands an opponent has played in a particular way) is an unquantifiable asset to any player. Inconspicuously, however, the sharp ability to forget is a crucial component to a well-functioning memory.

Playing at Torrey Pines near San Diego, local Rickie Fowler was a crowd favorite. He is 21 years old, and facing a short putt the commentators raised this question:

"What is it about youth that makes those short ones so easy to knock into the back of the cup?"

The answer is simple. Young golfers lack a memory bank of missed putts, manifesting in their apparent fearlessness. At a farther end of the golf psyche, longtime pros are known to develop "the yips" when attempting easy putts. This condition can virtually paralyze a golfer, unwilling to initiate a backswing from the set position behind the ball.

Is poker, or life, so different? Recollection of tough beats can reduce a robust winning strategy to an anemic frailty. Dwelling on times when it all went wrong is certain to perpetuate such fate. Try to remember to forget.

1 comment:

  1. Golf, poker & life. Nice post. It reminds me a bit of a chapter in Miroslav Volf's book, "Exclusion & Embrace." The subject of the chapter - Does God forget? Waaaay over my head.