Saturday, October 29, 2011

You can't blame a person for belief, only opinion

Many a year ago, the author sat in a Philosophy Professor's room and heard one of the most profound sentences he had ever heard in his short ignorant life. It went: "You can't blame a person for belief, only opinion." Strangely that line led to more self contemplation than even the initial topic that had led one into the Professor's room. The discussion of belief versus opinion will be the topic of today's discussion. 

A simple foundation of belief for this post is that it is something that comes naturally and more importantly instantly to one's thoughts in a given situation, the person might find themselves in. The belief being a thought process that comes from the amalgamation of the person's life, formed by both his genes and living experiences. A good example of the above topic comes in the act of stereotyping (The author does not condone stereotyping but is merely using it to explain the discussion topic). The initial thought one has of a person due to whatever features they posses is belief. These beliefs being the first natural thought from a collection of data that forms due to the natural survival instinct every person has to deal with every situation. Stereotyping existing to a certain extent because the stereotype existing more often than not on that group even if it does not represent every person of that group accurately.

Opinion on the other hand is a natural thought that has had time to settle in reason and evidence based on the person's reasoning. To continue with the stereotyping example, opinion is how one acts towards the person of certain feature, be it race or otherwise. It is on this point a person can be blamed for opinion over belief. The author himself does admit to having what many would consider racist thoughts at times but it is because one can differentiate that the instant natural belief is not grounded in reason that one can act counter to it based on good reason in action that prevents his person from doing what would be considered a racist act. Opposite to this was a post one saw on Facebook whereby the person did not differentiate between belief and opinion and merged the two. The person happen to have coffee at two places and had decided that the second coffee house being inferior but went on to comment it was due to the one staff that had made the coffee's ethnicity, being from a poor country and the person not possibly having a good education. The initial argument on which serves the best coffee being lost as one staff member does not constitute the coffee house and a race of the coffeehouse staff, a good coffee is not based on.

To put it into perspective, just as one will not blame a person for being mentally unstable and pushing you to the ground, one cant blame a person for literally having a thought. On the other hand, one can blame a stable person of sound mind who pushes one to the ground because he perceives your race deserves it even after time to reason and 'justify' that thought.

In conclusion, belief is the instant reaction of defense to being attacked, there is no foresight to it. While opinion being the boxing match a person chooses to fight with forewarning to its consequences. As many a good man or woman has said in many a way. You make your own choices and have to live with them the rest of your days.

Till next word...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Never forget what you are, the whole world will not : A position rooted in reality

The great Chinese sage Mencius* had a lesson amid his myriad of knowledge, that in the course of one's life, one will meet many teachers but not many students. The point being that many people tend to tell others what is right but hypocritically lacking the ability to listen and improve themselves when good advice is given to them. The implications of such an inability to see one's self as nothing more than a personal ideal, being that it will delay or even stop one's ability towards becoming a more 'enlightened' person morally or materially. This being today's topic of discussion.

To begin, the author is relatively sure that all who read this have met a person who spouts inspirational quotes and how he/she was inspired by it. Yet to you and the rest of the world, the person is not only lacking the quote's inspirational quality but rather is the product of what would happen if one does not apply the lesson of the quote in one's own life. Defined is the fact that all of us does not want to be the person just described. The solution being simply to understand and admit truthfully who or what one is to the the world around, including importantly flaws. For if one is able to see oneself as the world sees him/herself, one can then take the steps necessary to either improving on a flaw or use it to one's advantage. Which is impossible if one is only ever able to see one's own strengths (real or perceived) and nothing else.

To use his own person as a example, the author admits that he is not the most inspirational person when looked upon financially and career wise. This is important as by accepting this fact and through good criticism from trusted friends, the author is able to improve his financial situation in a more effective way than if he was deluded in his own fantasy, such as investing in super risky investment plans or putting down all his money into Poker.    

To further the point, the author's own most glaring flaw is an inability to not comment on a situation which one sees as a issue that needs improving on. Unlike most that tend to wait for the 'right' moment to act, this understood 'impatience' leads the author to find support almost straightaway from others to try to force a situation where the problem can be brought up or solved in the shortest time possible. Such as in one's personal experience, bringing up the hard question of having a person removed from a group of a hobby of the author's. Whose presence one found out, no one particularly appreciated. Basically one's acceptance that he has this inability to keep quiet on a situation leads him to plan a solution (Not always successful), that tries to solve the problem quickly rather than bear the alternative of a disastrous solution that will come out in a confrontational sudden burst of awkwardness if left unchecked.

One uses himself as the above examples as it would be unfair and hypocritical to this post to comment on another's flaws without commenting on his own. The simple fact is, if a person is able to accept the fact that a majority of people see said person as a fool then he is probably a fool and the sooner he realises that, the better. One is not calling anyone reading this blog a fool but the hardest application of the solution posted in this blog is the admittance of the flaws that one finds hardest to admit the world sees in one's own person.

Till next world...

*The link is to a animated list of Mencius core works (those with Book 1A, etc) told with English subtitles.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Macau Myth: The 'Correct' path for a Poker player?

Preface, this post is aimed at Poker players who are intending to go to Macau purely to make a living in Poker. Thus to begin, It would seem in Poker as strong as the sense of Logic and reasoning is essential to playing the game. Usually the other end of passion and emotion creeps into the reasoning of a player who for whatever reasons wants to take the path more seriously. In all the players the author knows (The author hails from Singapore, thus Macau is preferable to Las Vegas as a destination for Poker), almost all have gone to 'take a chance' in Macau. Most of them also refer to the fact that if one wants to play Poker seriously, one HAS to go to Macau. In all respects, to supporters of this point, one has to strongly disagree with this line of Logic and thus it will be today's topic of discussion.

To start off, one will first state the reasons why anybody would go to Macau or a casino as a Poker player. The first being security. In a casino, you pay a fee or 'rake' in Poker to assure you, the player, that it will enforce the rules of the game and that there is legal recourse were anything to happen otherwise. Second, there is a gathering of a large number of players in Macau to play the game, meaning you will probably be able to get more uninterrupted hours in a game and always have 'new money' in the game to cover current losses. Thirdly, the games or tournaments you wish to play are not to be found in your native country or are played such large stakes that security and players are lacking due to the large cash amount or prize pool.

With the above reasoning, now the author can discuss the reasons why one used the Title, Macau Myth, narrowed to the group of players one is going to describe. Predominantly, those that want to take Poker as a job in recent years tend to be younger (below 35), only plays low limit Texas Hold'em (10/20* and below) and have a very limited Bankroll of below $20,000. So for such a person lets contrast with the above reasons if it will make sense to go to  Macau:
  • Security: There is a good argument for this if Poker is illegal in one's country but the truth is unless the person is ready to commit to living in Macau long term along with the added expenses. This point is a redundant one. As in all countries, with a bit of research with the local Poker community, there should always be trusted hosts with a good reputations that can provide a game that almost all attending can say is fair and secure. This research in itself usually costing one much less than flying to Macau and back once.
  • Gathering: This point is also largely down to research with the local community. If one's research has found a good trusted game, the author's own personal experience has shown that games are usually easy to fill and for many a late night. For if Poker is illegal in one's country, all the people have to play somewhere and trusted hosts is the best form of brand loyalty in a Poker game in such a situation.
  • Large Stakes: As stated above, most of the people that ask the author this question to go to Macau tend to play small stakes and thus the stakes they play at are easily found in one's country and usually for a lower or similar rake than the casinos. Thus it is more cost effective to play in one's country than Macau at these lower stakes due to the extra costs of going to Macau.
  • Weak Players: This is not in the above reasoning as it is not a reason but rather a misconception or even a delusion by most that would argue that the Poker field in Macau is weak. In fact, one always asks the question back when another refers to weak players in Macau as a reason to go there: "How do you feel you measure up to the current field in your country?" 
  1. If they say they are stronger (which is often considering the author's personal experience), then should that person not stay in his/her country and play there as a 'better' player, paying no extra cost of flight, lodging or food. One example, the low average total per weekend in Macau with a budget airline and lodging is at minimum about $550 Singapore dollars. If one was to play a $2/5 Blinds game, before one even steps into a casino, one is already down over one full Buy-In or normal stack to play ($500) at those Blinds.
  2. If the answer is they are not stronger and that the Macau field is easier. One always begs the question back, if you are thinking in such a way, what makes you think the people with your skill level in your country and others are not thinking similarly. An important factor here being the stakes, at today's low limits (minus the micro stakes), it is rare to find the extremely weak players as in the early 2000s. Where one's edge is so high that one can easily make 200% or more profit from consistent horrendous plays from others per session. At the same time, the person in question probably does not have the money to play the weak skilled rich players that he/she was looking for in Macau in the first place, who are just there to truly gamble in Poker and only play the high stake games.
  3. For both, the most common end result especially for those who have been to Macau is the best evidence. For if it was truly that much of a Mecca to make money, then why would anyone come back to their native country. Logically, if it was that easy, one would continue to stay there for as long as one's visa would allows and save on the many flight cost and make a consistent regular living there. Reasons of job, family and friends being the most consistent and weak, as most of the people we speak of in this post would leave the family for a high paying job for a while and their job probably paying more consistently than the money that person can make with his skill as a Poker player.
In conclusion, it is usually cheaper in rake, transport and lodging to play in one's own country than in Macau. The only role Macau fills in the author's personal view is the ego factor to impress upon others, that one has been to one of the capitals of the gambling world. Going to Macau for those described above is illogical and using the frog in the well story as a loose reference. If one cant even defeat the other frogs in just your well, how good does one think he/she will fare against the frogs in the sea that is the earth or even just Asia.

Till next word...

*Refer to the last few minutes discussion in the clip with Peter Bao (WSOP Main Event final table 1997), where Peter is referred to as a low limits player, playing at 10/20 or 20/40 by Gabe Kaplan.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Friends: Sincerity of Who?

The first Discussion piece of this Blog is on the idea of what truly fuels the idea of friendship. And friendship in this discussion, is someone who is going to be an integral part of one's life, a 'true' friend so to speak. It must be noted that one has no intention to firmly state that the views of the writings to come are true in all Logic. It is just intended as a opinion and with opinion, a idea to discuss and get a better grasp on the topic at hand.

The author believes that the core idea of friendship is grounded in the virtue of sincerity but disagrees on how most view how friendship is to be judged. It seems usually the emphasis or burden of friendship is grounded in the opposing person rather than the self. That the person is a friend to another in how he/she places values or personal well being in contrast to you or another. Rather one argues that it is in his opinion, that friendship's burden is to be placed on the self. In other words, one finds true friendship in selfish means. This being said, does that not mean logically that one has contradicted himself in friendship being grounded in sincerity over gain. In essence no, as what is more sincere than a person acting towards the natural instinct of the self. Thus, to better understand the selfish means of friendship, let's explain further.

To begin, a case scenario. Assuming God (who or whatever manifestation you choose) is real and he/she tells you that Greg is not going to produce any difference in your life and in fact when you meet him, you will feel rather bored but his sincerity in being your friend is true. Would you still want to be friends with Greg? Remember that the sense of friendship discussed here is a true sense of friendship, one you regard as someone who will be a integral part in your life. One has to say, the answer is mostly No, and with good reason. The reason why one becomes friends in one's humble view, is the sense of benefit one gains from the other. In a more publicly acceptable view, the other person makes you a better person in a moral and material sense. 

From this benefit will come a sense of sincerity from you, as why would one ever give up anything that produces happiness to the self. And not to be mistaken to the negative connotation of the word selfish. The benefits one can gain are things as non material as the person does nothing more than make you laugh or perhaps the person is someone you can really trust with your most intimate problems. Not that he/she is a problem solver that can help you with your problems. There is then a sense of mutual benefit and both can prosper and grow under the tutelage of each others strong points. Thus it comes back to sincerity, and it has been achieved reasonably. As there is no reason not to be sincere to this friend. It is only when said friend abuses the rewards of which this mutual benefit is based, does problems arise in the friendship.

In conclusion, it is in the hopes that one reads into the ideas written with a open mind and try to understand that the author's is merely sharing his view on what fuels friendship at it's core. And on a side note, to say that most of life's great questions start with the self and it is only with the understanding of one's own motivations, that one can truly be happy. The result being as Warren Buffett put it very well in a BBC documentary, when you look in the mirror in the morning, the reflection is smiling back.

Till next word...

May Prometheus guide these Logical Discussions

The author's person is irrelevant to the discussions and thus there is no need for introductions for one as important as a vagrant at a royal court. What is important in this court of discussion, is the ideas and Logic behind the words and thus it is the Goal of this first post to introduce the origin of the views to transpire over the length of these humble writings to come.

Firstly, as the title of the Blog may suggest, Logic reigns but unfortunately Logic is so abstract a word nowadays that it needs clarification. To the author's humble view, Logic is a largely unemotional, unbias and creates the best situation for the Goal. The word 'Goal' is key, as whether the Goal is indeed admirable in either moral or social senses are irrelevant. It is what creates the best solution that is important.

On that note, if one has not already noticed through the above hints, the author is largely Utilitarian. Simply put, it is a practice of morality that the solution that creates the most 'happiness' is the 'Moral' thing to do. This being said, the discussion of the rights and wrongs of Utilitarianism is wide and expansive and it is not for this first blog post to argue that point. Rather it is to lead the reader into the origins of the writing's core rationale.

Aside from the more admirable ways of thought stated above, the 'Logic' that will come, also has a 'Poker' sense of logic imbedded in them. This post is too short to explain fully the ideas behind it but one has found a book that explains this Logic as it pertains to everyday life very well. DUCY by David Sklansky [DUCY is short for Do (D) You (U) See (C)Why (Y)]. But for a short and wholly inadequate summary of the Poker idea is as follows:
-Poker is a game of incomplete information, as is most problems in life
-The game of Poker is not only mathematically based but also the psychology of the players and self is to be taken into context and thus no one strategy is ever a sure play.
-The end Goal of Poker is profit and sometimes a short term loss or pain is essential to the result of a longer term profit. 
-A good result on the Poker table might not result in a good result off the table. For example, sometimes it is sometimes better to lose monetary value to someone in exchange to gain a friend/ally in life.

It is also the goal of the coming discussions to find solutions to a more narrowed down, concise batch of question. Such as for example instead of trying to discuss a solution to the world's pollution, it would be more of a discussion to solving pollution in a country.

In closing, the goal of these discussions is merely to place thoughts into words and if no one was to read this (As is most likely), it is okay. As one did not do this obviously for popularity. If not one would have gone the Asian Comedy route, as is so prevalent on YouTube. Also, It is worthy to note, that I already have a vast audience in the many personalities in my head which for most part, keeps me most occupied BUT if you happen to read this, the author sincerely thanks you for your time and thoughts. (Bows)

Till next word...