Mar

4

 This table tennis video shows a crowd-pleasing point and players with strong skills.

But the contest is held at a casino and the big dramatic play seems as much to entertain the crowd as to win the point.

It is fun to play way back and with experience, a surprising number of deep shots can be returned, just as many NBA players can regularly hit 30- and 40-foot jumpers.

Still, skills for winning a game differ from skills that entertain audiences. Flashy tennis players can return shots between their legs, but just because they can doesn't mean they should. Sinking a jump shot from half-court is impressive, but also signals bad judgement, poor planning, or both. When the shot goes in, the crowd goes wild, but whether a hit or miss, few reflect on the poor play that forced the desperate shot.

So when does the fun of wowing an audience with rare skills overwhelm caution and get us into trouble in the first place? Is a steady and modest return so boring that the chance for a flashy score draws us to danger? In table tennis, when the room is large enough, it is so easy to hit a soft shot then move back to try some deep returns. But if your opponent is skilled and serious, you'll quickly be crushed.

In markets, how often do skilled players drift toward difficult positions where they believe their deep speculating skills can be called upon to save the play, as an approving audience looks on?


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3 Comments so far

  1. Ed on March 4, 2013 9:01 pm

    “how often do skilled players drift toward difficult positions where they believe their deep speculating skills can be called upon to save the play, as an approving audience looks on?”

    This is definitely something to look out for. I noticed that I had my very worst trading day ever when an in-law was visiting, spending the day peering into my office.

    I have noticed another personal weakness is that after a good run, I develop a fantasy of making hundreds of millions via exponential growth in short order - and the next week I give at least half back. I now do my best to curtail even “the near occasion” of such toughs.

    By the way I wrote to the email address. If not received perhaps check the spam folder.

  2. vic on March 5, 2013 3:24 pm

    The picture shows my deceased friend, Martie Riesman who had the best offensive game in the world defending against Dick Miles. Martie mentioned to me that he never once was caught by a drop shot no matter how far back from the table he defended.His game in 1954 against Soto where Soto unveiled the detestable sponge, when Martie was the best in the world was a tragedy for him and ping pong. Not only did he lose the world title but the game entered a phase where it lost all fan interest. Martie was irrepressible. He always had an angle. Whether it was selling microscopres or buying penny stocks, he always had a seemingly unfailable way of making money. He was a greag gourmet of Chinese food and a great husband to Yoshiko. All the people in my office loved our weekly table tennis games.Martie was proud that his father was a bookie, and he carried on the tradition. He was "Skinny" as a pencil and struck like a razor. we'll always remember him with great affection and respect and cherish his memory. Had a great intellect. Was an excellent public speaker. Wrote a fantastic book about his upbringing in Brkly that he read at the junta that deserves to be published. Rip. vic

  3. A. Bigalescu on March 11, 2013 5:50 pm

    the painting of the table tennis match is terrific.

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