Tuesday, March 29, 2011

'Balance of Life as Final Frontier' vs. Simulation/Reality Blur

Can college-aged online poker millionaires achieve a balanced life?  How will they know when they find it?

"While heightened dexterity, comfort with snap decisions and the stamina gained from years spent sitting in front of a computer screen give the young online pro an edge over his older counterpart, the greatest benefit borne from a life spent playing video games lies somewhere in the strange, disconnected relationship between what is simulated and what is real. The armies of Command and Conquer do not suffer real casualties. An unsuccessful session of Minesweeper does not result in the loss of a leg.  [Anyone read Ender's Game lately?  And what happened to Second Life? - SWG]
"'Most of us young kids who play at nosebleed stakes don’t really have any clear idea about the actual value of the money we win or lose,' Cates says. 'Most of us see the money more as a points system. And because we’re all competitive, we want to have the highest score. But really, we don’t know what making $400,000 or losing $800,000 means, because we don’t have families or whatever. This blind spot gives us the freedom to always make the right move, regardless of the amount at stake, because our judgment isn’t clouded by any possible ramifications.'
"Ashton (theAshman103) Griffin, Cates’s roommate and online rival, also cites a balance of life as the final frontier for the young poker millionaire. In mid-2009, Griffin says he won $7 million in just three months but lost three-quarters of it in the following five months. He cites that swing as a turning point in his career. 'Back when I was jungleman’s age, I only saw money as a system of keeping points,' he says. 'But the swings caught up to me. I couldn’t stomach being in front of the computer for six, eight hours a day and having the result be that I lost $2, $3 million. So now my primary objective is to have a healthy balance of life.'"

Online Poker’s Big Winner - NYTimes.com by Jay Caspian Kang 3/25/2011

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