Friday, October 22, 2004

A Muse's Musings

A Muse’s Musings

We all have our little bag of tricks.
Things that we think, mantras that we chant, words that we speak.
We all have our ways of calming down our nerves to get back into the game after a bad beat.
We all have ways of mentally creating a pseudo-poker environment in our living room / dining room / den / study when we play online poker.
Something that gets us in the proper state of mind. Something that allows us to block out the sound of the neighbor’s lawn mower, or the children playing outside.
Something that saves us from Adult Attention-Deficit Disorder (which I have in spades, no pun intended) while we grind away the hours at our tables.

In this particular entry, I am going to focus on that last one.

My biggest challenge in playing online poker thus far has been forcing myself to focus entirely on the game at hand. And, subsequently, to turn off my computer when I start turning on the TV and the radio to add distraction. Yeah, that is what my game needs – added distraction. When I am truly focused on the game, my win ratio increases dramatically. It was in my best interest to find something poker-related to focus my inattentiveness on. What did I come up with? Well, a la John Vorhaus, I began keeping a poker journal. I use Poker Tracker to keep track of my poker stats, but I began using my journal to make notes on the players. I started out with the best of intentions, really. But I found, more often than not, my comments weren’t about the quality (or lack thereof) of their play, but rather the idiosyncrasies of the players themselves.
For instance, I can’t stand it when people misspell words. I have notes on at least a dozen players, where my only comment is “ – read it, learn it, love it.”
Needless to say, I have about given up on the notebook, as it ended up distracting me more than helping me. I now rely on Poker Tracker pretty much exclusively, adding just a quick note on the players when I feel it is relevant to the game.

So once again without something to focus on as my ADD kicked in during a game, I had to find another outlet. Being a student of Latin, and slightly obsessed with words and their origins, I began looking up words in the dictionary that could relate to poker. Everything, as we all know, can relate to poker in one way or another. Or, at least we can twist anything to relate to poker if we really want to.

Well, my word of the week is Muse.
Courtesy of (with slight editing to make it a bit more readable):
To be absorbed in one's thoughts
To consider or say thoughtfully
A state of meditation.

Word History: The Muse has inspired English poetry since Chaucer invoked her in 1374. Muse comes from Latin M sa, from Greek Mousa. As to the further origins of this form, a clue is provided by the name of Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory and mother of the Muses. Her name is the Greek noun mn mosun “memory,” which comes from *mn -, an extended form of the Greek and Indo-European root *men-, “to think.” This is the root from which we derive amnesia (from Greek), mental (from Latin), and mind (from Germanic). The reconstructed form *montya that is the ancestor of Greek Mousa could then mean something like “having mental power.”

Ah, Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. How often have I prayed to her without knowing her name.

Who knew that it was the mental state of my mind, which caused me temporary amnesia. Making me forget I actually have a slight knowledge of how to play the game of poker.

Next time I go on tilt, or my attentiveness to the game dwindles, I will know that I have lost my montya.