July 25, 2010


I was thinking a lot these last few days. Not really in the mood to play poker, had stuff at work and we had visitors from Germany over, which kept me thoroughly entertained. They are off for the week until we meet up with them next weekend in Vegas, baby (so next blog will be a trip report again!).

We took our friends to a Dodgers game; it's always fun to explain baseball and the institution of going to a ballgame to foreigners :). But then I had to warn them that it might be a boring game to them. And it is a boring game to most americans... but I love it. Especially because of its monotonous nature!

It got me thinking about other things and I know I like little monotonous things that lead you to a result, e.g. driving cross country, analyzing a survey bit by bit (my work), building a 3000 piece puzzle etc. Poker is no different. In the end it can become a quite boring game and people experience burnout. I still love it, especially because of the monotony, some say familiarity that settles in, where the long run finally becomes a reality, just like in baseball. It made me think of the book "Momo" I read as a kid, still one of my favorite books of all time, a bit because of the sadness portrayed even though it's a children's book.

There is this one section that ALWAYS resonated with me, ever since I read that book when I was 9, it has always stayed for me, in times of despair when I thought I couldn't make it through the PhD, especially. Even then, when I was 9, I read and re-read it, it has become my philosophy at times, you could say. First the paragraph in german, because that's how I learned it and further down you can read the English translation, which is quite good in conveying the idea.


"Siehst du, Momo", sagte Beppo Straßenkehrer "es ist so: Manchmal hat man eine sehr lange Straße vor sich. Man denkt, die ist so schrecklich lang; das kann man niemals schaffen, denkt man. Und dann fängt man an, sich zu eilen. Und man eilt sich immer mehr, Jedesmal, wenn man aufblickt, sieht man dass es gar nicht weniger wird, was noch vor einem liegt. Und man strengt sich noch mehr an, man kriegt es mit der Angst, und zum Schluss ist man ganz außer Puste und kann nicht mehr. Und die Straße liegt immer noch vor einem. So darf man es nicht machen.
Man darf nie an die ganze Straße auf einmal denken, verstehst du? Man muss nur an den nächsten Schritt denken, an den nächsten Atemzug, an den nächsten Besenstrich. Und immer wieder nur an den nächsten. Dann macht es Freude: Das ist wichtig, dann macht man seine Sache gut. Und so soll es sein. Auf einmal merkt man, dass man Schritt für Schritt die ganze Straße gemacht hat. Man hat gar nicht gemerkt wie, und man ist nicht aus der Puste." Er nickte vor sich hin und sagte abschließend: "Das ist wichtig."
(Aus: "Momo" von Michael Ende)


Google translate:
"You see, Momo," said Beppo street sweeper "it is this: Sometimes you have a very long road ahead. You think that it is so terribly long, one can never make it one thinks. And then one begins to to hurry. And hurries you more and more, every time you look up, you see that it will do no less, which is still ahead. And one strains on even more, you get it with the fear and by the end is one entirely out of breath and can not. And the road still lies ahead. Thus we can not do it.
One should never think of the whole road at once, you know? You have to think only about the next step, the next breath, to the next brush stroke. And again and again only to the next. Then it is fun: This is important, then one makes a good job. And so it should be. Suddenly you realize that you've done step by step, the whole street. One has not even noticed how, and one is not out of breath. "He nodded to himself and said in conclusion:" This is important. "
(From: "Momo" by Michael Ende)


I think about that paragraph quite often when I play poker. How to focus on each hand and slowly the awesome graph builds itself. How by doing that it becomes fun. But if you wanna force something; "I need to win 200$ today!", "this is the WSOP I win a bracelet!" even seemingly little things like "I'll play 50k hands next month!" will make the time hurry along and you'll become engrossed in stress and will be out of breath and look always ahead and think of all the hands you still have to play. Just one hand at a time, at the end of the road you notice what you have accomplished and you'll be proud. I'm smirking and thinking at the movie "What about Bob?" where the psychologist tries to sell his book "Baby Steps", but the truth is that the overall idea is the right one.

I am not talking about complacency! Each step still has to be done and done right otherwise the big picture will be mediocre. I am not advocating laziness, quite the contrary, by taking the steps you are doing something instead of just throwing the hands up in the air and saying: "It's too hard!".

Posted By bellatrix at 09:58 PM


Tags: introspection


TecmoSuperBowl posted on July 25, 2010 at 22:55 PM


Great post!

Boomer posted on July 26, 2010 at 21:05 PM


I loved baseball when I went to the game...which I found weird becasue I've never been able to watch it on TV but I really liked it.

And great post

Boomer posted on July 26, 2010 at 21:06 PM


Oh and if you like potentially monotonous games...cricket imo

bellatrix posted on July 26, 2010 at 21:25 PM


Boomer, I don't know anything about cricked, but don't those games go for hours, if not days? Maybe I have no idea, I would probably like it haha.

Boomer posted on July 26, 2010 at 21:57 PM


Depends what format of the game you want to watch :)

Test Cricket - Yup 5 days (average of 6-7 hours play in a day) and seen as the "ultimate" version of the game by purists.

One Day Cricket (Standard) - Both side get 50 overs (300 deliveries/pitches/whatever you want to call them). Takes about 3-3.5 hours per innings so 7-8 in total with the break.

20/20 Cricket - Both sides get 20 overs each (120 deliveries). Done and dusted in 3 hours total, very much like baseball in terms of presentation if not rules and probably why it's caught on so well.

And they're just the international variants, at coounty levels there are 4-day matches and 40-over games too.

bellatrix posted on July 26, 2010 at 22:48 PM


next time you're in US (California/Vegas), you'll show it to me or next time I'm in your neck of the woods! ;-)

Boomer posted on July 27, 2010 at 16:45 PM


Deal :)

CDA posted on July 28, 2010 at 20:51 PM


Awesome, another great quote to add to my collection!

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