Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Slow (.) Children at Play

Bluffing vs. Slow Play

While bluffing takes place when you bet like you have a better hand than you actually have (or in the nuclear situation, than you are actually willing to lay on the table), "Slow Play" "is when betting weakly or passively with a strong holding rather than betting aggressively with a weak one. The flat call is one such play. The objective of the passive slow play is to lure opponents into a pot who might fold to a raise, or to cause them to bet more strongly than they would if the player had played aggressively (bet or raised). Slow playing sacrifices protection against hands that may improve and risks losing the pot-building value of a bet if the opponent also checks" (Wikipedia).

Slow play seems like it might be a "boring" way to play poker or perhaps just not as profitable, as this poker site claims:

"The object of poker is to win the most money. That's it - that is your goal.
In other words, all the strategies you employ are just a means to one end: the money. In light of that, one of the mistakes I see the majority of newcomers make is slow-playing. Or slow-playing too much.
Slow-playing, for the most part, is counterproductive. If your goal is to get the most money in the pot, how are you going to do that by checking? You build pots by betting your big hands, not by lurking in the weeds with them"(Skolovy).

This is the view of poker that seeks to maximize gain and to risk a lot to get it. Slow Play, in Poker player's opinions, seems kinda like the 'sucker' payoff. However, the author is sure to add that he just means use slow play sparingly--not never: "In poker, one strategy is never always correct. You always need to take into consideration the table dynamics, your image, your opponents' playing tendencies, etc. before you decide how to act" (Skolovy).

The question for us is whether poker remains a good analogical contrast for our CATTt. Should we think about 'slow play' as an option? Does this correspond more to the idea of the 'gift'.

Child's Play

 I like this sign because it combines (via word association/punning) the language of Poker and the more care-free, enjoyable version of play that we associate with children (if we read the sign 'incorrectly' as "Slow children at play"). Children do not play poker in the street, but rather foursquare. Foursquare is an interesting game because it has nothing to do with maximizing one's gain or winnings, but rather occupying the position of the "Ace" for the longest period of time. When the game is over, no one can say that they really "won" and if you get "out" you are always able to get back in after watching the game from the sidelines.

Or perhaps, better yet, we could think about the game of hopscotch, or as it is known in Germany, "Himmel und Holle"

"In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland the game is called Himmel und Hölle (Heaven and Hell) although there are also some other names used, depending on the region. The square below 1 or the 1 itself are called Erde (Earth) while the second to last square is the Hölle (Hell) and the last one is Himmel (Heaven). The first player throws a small stone into the first square and then jumps to the square and must kick the stone to the next square and so on, however, the stone or the player cannot stop in Hell so they try to skip that square"

Earth, Heaven, Hell--a certain mythological relevance. Again, not played for any specific gain--just avoid hell. 

Accident as Warning Sign

Furthermore, that the sign is in the form of a warning references a common accident: hitting kids with cars--a common, everyday accident sacrificed to the values of our culture (as Ulmer puts it in Electronic Monuments) that we usually do not think about in connection with other accidents.

Furthermore, the notion of "slowness" could counter the instantaneous dromosphere--not that it could abolish the dromosphere, but that it can work at as a way to make it intelligible. While above I read the sign as "slow children at play," we might want to take it with its originally intending meaning "Slow. Children at Play." Does this work as a metaphor for electrate thinking? Or is slowness only related to "critical thinking."

If we are working toward looking at the "accident as a sign" (Virillio), I think that Warning/Traffic signs might be a good way to explore our disaster and accident--as part of our ta(i)le.

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