The NY Times Reporter Who Should’ve Known Better

There’s a great article in the New York Times, written by a man who should have known better. He’s an economics reporter who was aware of – and wrote warnings about – the craziness and dangers of the US mortgage industry over the last few years. And yet, being an irrational human, who acts on emotion as much as cold-blooded reasoning, he took out a sub-prime mortgage he couldn’t afford and eventually went delinquent on his loan.

It reminds of those times when I’m playing Hold’em, on the last table of a tournament. I’m holding an unsuited Ace and Jack with a not-so-great flop, I know – through cold-blooded reasoning – that the odds are against me, I’m playing against someone who is almost certainly holding a better hand, and yet my emotion tells me to call his all-in raise! And I do and I lose.

It seems to me the best poker players can turn off their emotion and act only on reasoning – not just on easy plays, but in game-winning (and game-losing), high-stakes, high-pressure situations when the emotion is so strong.