16 April 2008

I wonder why I own this book

Over the years I have acquired all sort of books, I know not when or how. And sometimes I know not why, except that I've always been prone to reading whatever I could get my hands on.* The books can sit on my shelves for decades and be dutifully packed up and moved every few years until I get around to them, which for some of them is looking to be well after I retire. Sometimes I read one only because I think that I'll end up getting rid of it and thus freeing up that bookshelf space. Imagine my chagrin when I end up loving it and having to keep it forever.

So I am currently reading Herbert O. Yardley's** The Education of a Poker Player, a book Yardley clearly assumed would only be read by people already conversant with the language of the game. I am not. I haven't played poker in years (and years) *** and even then I think that I only knew the poker terms that were commonly used on epiosodes of The Odd Couple.

On page 27 I have finally come to a poker-related sentence that I understand with no explanations needed:

A card player should learn that once the money is in the pot it isn't his any longer.

*Including somthing I found in Mom's bookcase when I was around eleven or twelve called, iirc, The Jane Castle Manuscript which was .... very educational. More benignly, I found my first Dick Francis book in Dad's bookcase a few years later.

**Yardley is best known as a World War I-era cryptologist and the author of The American Black Chamber, a book that made Philip Agee and Peter Wright the modern-day Herbert Yardleys. Or at least allows me to make that comparison.

***I think I last played at a BaltiCon and I remember being a little disturbed at how much money I won off of my lawyer - who should be smarter and a better strategist than me if I'm paying him to do stuff - until I realized that dilettantes such as myself have no discernable strategy and thus cannot be out-thought because we are not thinking we are just reacting.