Developing Intuition

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My actual poker game is nowhere near the point at which this book will do me any good, but I have been reading Randy Burgess's The Ultimate Guide to Poker Tells off and on anyway. I have found his treatment of the subject far better than I expected it to be. But then people can be surprisingly rational when the prospect of making money enters the equation.

I recently started a chapter called "Become a Poker Psychic", which outlines four basic objectives at the start, one of them being to help the reader learn "to develop and trust [his] intuition". It is on this subject that the book, far from veering into superstition as some might expect, sounds like it has a good point. Burgess himself introduces the subject in this way:

We use intuition every day of our lives, whether we're conscious of it or not. When we label it as such, it sounds mysterious, but of course it's not mysterious at all, rather a basic function of the human mind.
Burgess is, of course, a poker player, not a psychologist. So he draws on others at this point. Specifically, he cites a book titled Reading People by Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, who helped select the jury that acquitted O.J. Simpson. Here is her definition.
What we call intuition is nearly always the surfacing of a submerged memory, a barely noticed event, or some combination of the two. That "feeling" doesn't come to us over the cosmic ether, but drifts up from our own subconscious. This means that all we have to do to greatly improve our intuitive abilities is to find new ways to gather information, store it, and retrieve it from our subconscious.
I think that this is almost in register with my own thoughts on the matter. However, I think the term "feeling", while it accurately describes the experience, is somewhat ambiguous here. I would say that intuition has evaluative/emotional aspects and a component of dim awareness of information not quite fully in focus.

In any event, Burgess quickly goes on to sketch out Dimitrius' three-step process of improving one's intuition (briefly: recognize intuition, figure out what it is telling you, go through the evidence later) .

So far, this all sounds reasonable, but it barely even begins to scratch the surface of what Dimitrius had to say. I am curious now about Dimitrius' book. Has anyone here read this and if so, what did you think?

-- CAV

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