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Mind Over Poker

Tap Into Your Selfish Gene

by David Apostolico |  Published: Jan 22, 2010


I recently read Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker, the excellent historical treatise of the game of poker by James McManus. In examining our innate competitive urge, McManus quotes from Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene. Specifically, in discussing how mammals viciously compete for scarce resources, they “should give no inkling of when they are going to give up. Anybody who betrayed, by the merest flicker of a whisker, that he was beginning to think of throwing in the sponge, would be at an instant disadvantage … Natural selection would instantly penalize whisker-flickering and any analogous betrayals of future behavior. The poker face would evolve.” What was your initial thought upon reading that sentence? Did you automatically think of a moment or moments when you have shown weakness? Or, did you salivate when reflecting on times that you pounced on the weakness of others? You most likely had a reaction that ...

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