The victory goes to the youngest and quickest


In Pictures: Ten Ways Games Can Boost Your Career

The World Series of Poker is over and the winner is Jonathan Duhamel, Jonathan is from Canada, French speaking and young – the 22-year old young man won $8.9 million last night in Las Vegas.  He plans to play more poker and buy season tickets for the Canadiens of the NHL with his winnings and one suspects chase girls, buy fast cars and do the other things that young men with money do.  Why one might ask was the final table a bunch of kids barely out of high school and not the kind of player represented by the previous, seasoned-veteran winners?  Ah, its evolution my friend, evolution. The victory goes to the fittest, that is the quickest and best decision maker.

It is no secret to anyone over the age of 40 that you slow down as you age;  just ask Brett Farve, Michael Jordan or indeed Haile Gebrselassie; Geb as he is loving called, is the world’s fastest man in the marathon, he has set over 20 world records from 1500 meters to 26 miles, but Sunday he walked of the course at the New York Marathon. He is only 37 years old, but he thinks it is time to retire – the ultimate winner was 26 years old.  With Michael Jordon, Jerry Rice or any other professional team athlete that was forced into retirement because of age it is not the raw speed that counts, but reaction time. One second slower leaves Michael eating a baseketball instead of slamming it into the basket; one second means Jerry Rice watches the younger defender run away with his pass and it means Brett gets knocked down more often before he is able to deliver the ball to his reciever.

The opposite side of hat one or two seconds of lost reaction time is the story behind the WSOP and the young winners.  The new, younger generation of poker players did not learn or develop their poker skills drinking whiskey, smoking cigarettes and affecting a stone cold personality that gives no clues.  They learned to play on the Internet, moving from video games to poker, but keeping the lightening fast hand eye coordination they developed killing avatars in cyberspace.  Online that speed is important, Jonathan and his kind practiced, practiced and practiced some more, not attitude by making decisions – their speed allowed them to play many more hands by the time they were 21 than the average live poker play might play in a life-time; it also teaches them to make very fast and very accurate decisions.

In the video world if you are slow or make the wrong decision you die. But with practice a young player’s reaction get faster and faster and his decisions more and more accurate.  That means a 22-year old today is a prepared to out play his older opponents as a 21 year old basketball player is to beat Michael Jordon to the basket – and there is no real contest.  Until the older players find a way to get as much practice as the younger ones the fortunes of fate are weighted against them.


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November 2010
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