Contemplations of a Streetsmart Bookworm Uncategorized


Written by Ope Ashiru


My name is Ope and I am a gambler, I gamble every day. I bet you are a gambler too, just like me. If you beg to differ at this point, then I guess the only difference between us is style. I am a little nervous, my eyes darting to and fro while I’m at the table trying to ensure I don’t miss a trick before I pull out my aces. You on the other hand are calm; you smile with the confidence of ignorance. While you are sitting at the table, your money is counting-in your mind, but even when the game is over and the scores are out you still don’t know when the die was cast. We all gamble literarily.


Every day I am faced with options and I have to make choices, I like to think before I act or speak. I believe the horse should always come before the cart, but sometimes, due to time and information constraints and other uncertainties, (oh! how I hate uncertainties!) inductive reasoning becomes a luxury I can’t afford, or an opportunity cost I can afford to do away with. The action taken at this point is my personal definition of a gamble.

Shortly after graduation I found myself in one of these situations, being the mad scientist I immediately put what I learnt in school to test: Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle, mathematically it says  σx σp >= ħ/2  where ħis the reduced Plank constant, h / 2π. The result came back as an error message. Disaster! But I learnt a couple of things:

·         In life never make assumptions


·         In real life the parameters of an equation are different. You see in the classroom the constants are mere figures and the variables are greek alphabets, but in real life the constants are currencies(time, money etc) and the variables are people(motives, emotions etc)




 I will never forget the look of shock on a friends face when he found out that a classmate of his nicknamed Shakira because of her physical configuration and ballistic prowess had a CGPA of 4.88. As far as he was concerned that ‘package’ didn’t come like that.  No, you can’t postulate the content of a lady’s grey matter simply by looking at the size of her hips, and when assessing a guy if you assume a fast car equals a fat bank account you might just be setting yourself up for a rude shock. ABRACADABRA! The more you look the less you see! That’s the magicians trick- he keeps you focused on the things that don’t matter while he pulls off his feat, leaving you stunned.


Even though I used to represent my secondary school in maths competitions, as a banker I have come to realise that most people are actually better mathematicians than I am once money is involved, so let’s skip the currency part of lesson two and talk about people shall we?


‘Son I’ve made a life out of reading people’s faces, knowin’ what the cards were by the way they held their eyes, so if you don’t mind me sayin’ I can see you’re out of aces for a taste of your whisky I’ll give you some advice’ so I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow, bummed out a cigarette and asked me for a light………


-Kenny Rogers, The Gambler


Six thousand pounds of respect for a guy that can negotiate like that, if I see him in real life I won’t just duff my hat I will chop off my head for him-literarily. Another person that blew my mind was Kevin Lomax in the movie Devil’s Advocate played by Keanu Reeves, the way Kevin used his ability to read people during the jury selection process in the courtroom scene was off the hook! If you want a third example watch fast and furious 7. The scene where Ramsey the hacker psychoanalysed everyone in  Dom’s crew after waking up on the island gave me adrenaline rush for days!.


‘Life is binary: zeros and ones, only two things keep a group like this together: fear and loyalty. And I don’t see a drop of fear among you guys’


 -Ramsey, Fast and furious 7


The key to reading people correctly is knowing what to look out for. Like Ramsey, and unlike my dear friend you must not look at those things which are seen (with the physical eyes) but at the things which are unseen because the seen things are subject to change but the unseen ones are less prone to change, hence they make better reference points. Once you understand the algorithm and how to eliminate like Ramsey, life becomes simpler, like tossing a coin with two heads. You will realise the odds are always in your favour.


By the way I am not yet a pro, but my percentages are improving.




  • haha….right on d money…..sometimes the man holding the aces doesnt always win d pot as i have experienced (quite painfully i might add) in some live cash games….its the combination of cards on the table that determines the winner….life is all about probabilities and its our job to stack these in our favour…one of the best ways ……prioritise building relationships over building technical knowledge and skill….gets u further faster…..


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