Prometheus

In an unfortunate real-life development, our air conditioning broke yesterday. Miraculously it’s stayed pretty cool and the repairman is supposed to come today, so it looks like we won’t have to endure anything too awful.

I’m starting to feel more comfortable in the games here. I felt like I played a pretty smart, aggressive 5/10 session last night. I made one sort of big fold. I isolated one limper to 50 with AQo in the CO. A young European guy who bought in deep 3bets to 170 from the small blind. Effective stacks are 2500. The limper folds and I call. The flop is QTT two-tone. He bets 225, I call. Turn Tx, he bets 450, I call. River brick, he shoves and I fold.

It always feels bad to fold a boat, but even though my hand looks strong here, I’m not near the top of my range. I can easily have AA, KK, QQ, or Tx, and I would not have raised any of these hands at any point post-flop. It also looks like I have a Q at this point and I don’t think he expects me to fold. While it’s possible that he has Qx himself, that alone isn’t enough reason to call. Against a range of Qx and better hands, I’m not getting the right price to call. In order to call I have to believe I’m winning outright some percentage of the time and there’s just no reason to believe he’s bluffing here. An easy mistake to make (and one I’ve definitely made in the past) when you start playing against tough, aggressive players is to believe they’re running huge bluffs all the time. But the fact is, even aggressive players aren’t going berserk for 250 big blinds all that often. Without more reads on this opponent, I’m happy with how I played the hand.

We took a little break from poker last night and saw Prometheus, for which I can say, it’s not boring. It starts out as a solid space thriller, then turns its attention to deep existential questions before flaming out half-assedly, and finally closes with a (spoiler alert) cosmo-farce about a plucky girl and her disembodied, possibly malevolent robot head companion. That last bit could spawn a great TV series, by the way.

Arthur C. Clarke speculated that the purpose of humans might ultimately be to create and propagate intelligent machines. I was thinking of that during Prometheus, as the humanoid robot David seems to be at the center of things, partly by virtue of Michael Fassbender’s strong performance, partly because he manipulates the other characters for reasons that remained unclear, at least to me. In any case, it felt as though the humans existed to deliver David to his greater destiny.

I also thought of The Seventh Seal, which tackles questions of existence and meaning in a much different way. The central character, stalked by death, says, “I shall remember this moment: the silence, the twilight, the bowl of strawberries, the bowl of milk. Your faces in the evening light… I shall carry this memory carefully in my hands as if it were a bowl brimful of fresh milk. It will be a sign to me, and a great sufficiency.” Bergman found consolation in nature, love, and simplicity. By contrast the characters in Prometheus find themselves in ever more baroque scenarios with barely a hint of human connection.

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