For the last one and a half year I’ve been learning how to play poker.
At the end of 2005 the BBC television had a news show about a poker site. I’ve always been the worst card player but I was curious as to how a cardgame would look online. But I wouldn’t spent a penny on a game like that.
But it turned out that you can play online poker for free. They have a “pay” button that will give you one thousand artificial dollars and when your run out you just press that button again.
So I tried it and within a few days I lost my free dollars and got some more. I went on playing in part because I had nothing better to do and in part because poker has a kind of logic to it that gives me a nice feeling.
After playing for about six week I realized that although I hadn’t added new free money to my account for several weeks I had $5000.
Without paying any attention to what I was doing I had been winning money.
Off course at that point I thought that if it was that simple I should try playing for real money and winning some real money.
I tried and lost $50, went back to playing for free and again lost. How strange. Why would I loose while earlier it seemed so easy.
After some thought I realized that while playing for free you make your decisions on the bases of the cards you have in your hand. But when playing with real money you tend to also way the risk of loosing your money. Apparently that leads to different decisions.
So I went back to playing for free and I started reading a lot about poker in the hopes I would somehow be able to figure out what I was doing earlier.
After eight months of study finaly the penny dropped and I started winning again. This time I paid close attetion to what I was doing and a few weeks ago I decided that I had studied enough (and saved enough) to again try to play with real money.
This time was no different from the last. I started loosing all most immediately. Only difference was that I saw what the problem was. I recognized the problem as something I’ve had earlier.
It seems that after learning one skill I can only learn a second skill if I’m willing to sacrifice the first skill. Except that it isn’t really a choice. I can be content with having one skill or I can risk loosing that skill while I learn a second skill. When I’ve learned the second skill the first one come back. Only to disappear again – together with the second skill – while I learn a third.
You can imagine that as a child I didn’t like to learn new skills. While I was doing the best job I could teachers kept telling me that I should try harder.
My heart dropped. If I can’t learn new skills what about learning how to draw? Poker doesn’t matter. It’s just a game. But drawing is something I need. Without it I would be a mute.
Friday while strolling over a local market I remembered something.
Last year I first became interested in dyslexia. Someone told me something about it and I recognized some symptoms and started reading.
It seems that some people with dyslexia think in pictures. (Psychologist doubt that. Thinking in pictures is considered to be a symptom of autism.) Up till that point I’d never thought about how I thought. I thought that everybody thought the same way. My way. In pictures.
Although thinking in pictures has some advantages it also has some disadvantages. One of those is that people who think in pictures can’t learn by root. They learn by experience.
Which is true. I do learn by experience. One of the most important things I’ve learned over the last 20 years is how to understand people. I did it by utilizing something I learned in the IT. Systems analyses (Dutch:”systeem analyse” my dictionary doesn’t have a translation). I observed behavior and analyzed it. It took me years but nowadays I understand people almost as good as most neuro typicals.
So I can learn new skills but when I do it my way. By trying things and sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding. I’ll just have to take baby steps.