Saturday, June 25, 2011

"How I Found the Hidden Science of Luck"

Dear friend,

You probably know by now, I love to read. In fact, if you could see the untold thousands of books in my library, you might think me crazy! But there are a couple of books that would probably jump off the shelf and run like a mouse if you came in the room.

"When I found them, well, it was like I smelled them was dark, dank, and musty in the back of the old antique shop."

I felt like Indiana Jones feeling his way through a cave. The rare book dealer said, "Go ahead and sort through the boxes, but handle them carefully." Slowly, ever so slowly, I turned the yellowed pages as they crackled in the dim light.

"I began to tremble at what I was reading."

"Oh, those old books have been sitting around forever. I'll make you a deal on the one you're reading," said the antique dealer.

I gripped the two books like a vise. "I'll take these two," I replied, my voice a bit shaky. I couldn't wait to take them home and practice the arcane instructions on building luck. That was way back in the 1970s.

"I've now distilled that ancient teaching down to the very potent seed you'll need to plant in your mind to make good luck inescapable for you."

Actually, you'll discover that the incredible power of luck is a science. I know you'll think this is unbelievable, but it's true - you can learn how to win with mind-boggling consistency. When would you like to start cashing in?

- Peter

 Insights into The Science of Luck

Interview with Peter Ragnar, author of The Awesome Science of Luck and Charlie Shoten, author of No Limit Life.

Considering luck as a science is intriguing. I never really thought about it until I read The Awesome Science of Luck. It's really exciting to think that luck can be mastered just like a skill. Most people assume that luck is something they have no control over. Peter, could you please comment on this?

Charlie, just consider: right now, as we speak, the US government is funding projects on remote viewing. Imagine, as a professional poker player, developing the ability to receive strong and accurate impressions of the cards about to be dealt or those in another player's hand. Would they consider you lucky? Absolutely!

But in truth, you would be using the awesome science behind what others call luck. Back in 1981, the 97th U.S. Congress made a commitment to research these abilities that are generally attacked by “quack busters.” The government began a multi-million-dollar program at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) in Menlo Park, CA. They began to study the human perceptual ability known as remote viewing.

What's really exciting is that people who play poker already have the untapped potential to easily heighten their perceptual abilities—not only that, but, I believe, influence the way the cards fall. Now, before you discount me as a crackpot, consider this scientific study by Princeton University. It was called the PEAR project—Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research. They developed a random events generator that measured very-low-frequency energies transmitted by human intention. The unit had 9000 small balls that cascaded over 330 pegs into 19 collection bins. You would naturally conclude that all the balls would always fall the same way over the same pegs into the same collection bins. Not so! The study confirmed that subjects could influence the direction the balls fell by their focused intention. Which do you think might be more difficult: to influence the fall of 9000 balls or the fall of a few cards?

If this sounds too far out, ask yourself why Boeing would have a distinguished physicist, Helmut Schmidt, create a digital random number generator to study how the human mind is able to influence what we call chance or luck in such a way that the outcome matches our intention. If your intention is to win big at the World Series of Poker, when do you think the best time to begin training would be?

Being lucky at the poker table means that you're more conscious of the opportunities before you than your opponents are. It can also mean that when things have turned sour, you've been able to take a defense position faster than another player at the table. Isn't this that same thing you do in a martial arts situation? While you're well aware of how this applies to the fighting arts, could you comment on how it applies to playing poker?

Ah, here's where not only the test of perception, but the battle of intention begins. There is a saying, "The drive is in the talent!" So at the poker table, just like in the ring, the one with the most “heart,” or intensive drive, who remains focused is the one who usually wins. Talent is important, but without the magic of a laser-like intention, it remains weak. If it’s scientifically proven that the fall of 9000 balls can be influenced by mental intention, then winning at poker is governed by how focused and conscious you can remain. If you do that, the cards you want will come to you.

This brings up the subject of fear. Fear can be one of the most destructive feelings we ever experience, and it often can alert us to take actions that can actually save our lives. What about fear, Peter? Where does it come from, and what can we do about it? At the poker table, I’m becoming aware of and differentiating between the kind of fear that protects me and the kind that distracts me. This allows me to let go of destructive fear and embrace constructive fear. Would you talk about fear in relationship to the card table?

Let's first look at where our emotions come from. Emotions are the results or aftereffects of our conclusions. Fear, for example, is often expressed as the result of a subconscious conclusion about our ability to perform. It manifests as a shudder of doubt that causes you to hesitate and question your actions. Let's say you're having a series of bad hands. You might conclude this isn't your night. Actually, you'll be correct, since that conclusion will filter down deep into your subconscious. Next, your subconscious mind will cause these ripples of doubt to influence your nervous system, which will be expressed in the detectable nuances of your body language. Your opponent, seeing that, bluffs and you fold. Seeing his cards, you just scratch your head, wondering why you did such a stupid thing.

Charlie, you mentioned constructive fear. That's a survival trait. If you're up on a high building, your cells will involuntarily retract from the danger of falling, causing you to pull back from the risk. Now, of course, you can consciously learn to override that fear and still perform. It's a simple matter of understanding that this type of fear is an alarm urging caution.

At the card table, we may experience a very real constructive type of fear as we foolishly begin to push our chips out onto the table. It comes as a lightning bolt and thunders, “Pull back! The odds are against it." Bear in mind that we are always crunching the numbers unconsciously in our marvelous biocomputers. It's just a matter of listening and feeling for the mind’s conclusions before we play our hands.

We know that humans and animals can do incredible feats. Birds migrate to a specific spot or mate many thousands of miles across the earth. Each of us has experienced life situations that can't be explained. Idiot savants add and multiply faster than computers, and many occurrences we can never understand. How do I learn how to increase my perception and use my inherent talent to win?

In the very same fashion as you build muscle, you've got to consciously exercise your mind to increase your perceptual talents. As I've mentioned before, performing the memory feat of memorizing and accurately recalling a deck of 52 cards as they fall requires practice. Each morning, I would take a deck of cards and a stopwatch and time myself until I was able to perform the feat in under a minute without hesitation. Even though doing it before a live audience takes longer, you have the full confidence of being able to present a flawless performance.

Once you have a relaxed sense of confidence, your intentions can take center stage. This is the art of winning. How confident would you be at the card table knowing that you're aware of the cards that have already been played? The way you do this is to become so intimate with a deck of cards that not only do you remember how they fall, but you sense what card it is before it's shown face up. Let them be so intimate that they simply become extensions of your fingers.

In the sixth chapter of The Awesome Science of Luck, you talk about “breathing light into the things you desire,” the role of the pineal gland as you have come to understand it, and how powerful electromagnetic fields are discharged when exhaling properly. You also have a vast experience with magnets. Can you give us a brief summary of how these concepts might help our poker game?

Briefly, Charlie, science has discovered a magnetic compound in the pineal glands of humans and animals. It is this magnetite, a magnetic chemical, that allows migratory animals, birds, and fish to find their way to locations that appear next to impossible to locate without a map or radar of some kind. How do they do that so unerringly? It's the natural functioning of the magnetic quality of that gland.

This is why I began experimenting with wearing a very strong rare earth magnetic headband. If you want to magnetize a nail, all you have to do is stick it on a strong magnet: after a time, the nail also becomes magnetic. So I concluded that it must work the same way with my pineal gland. I have found that it greatly increases my perceptions and luck. Am I not lucky to be here with you in Poker Player?

How about visualization, Peter? You explain this technique. Can we really manifest what we visualize? Can you share your ideas regarding concentration and maintaining focus? Everyone wants to maintain focus. It is widely agreed in poker that focus is the difference between winning and losing at the poker table.

I go into it pretty completely in The Awesome Science of Luck, but here's something to think about. Every element gives off a certain number of oscillations, just like notes on the musical scale. As an example, lead, atomic element number 82, becomes gold, element number 79, if three protons are removed from its nucleus. Helium is element number two, because it is so light: it only has two protons. All thoughts and mental pictures are atomic. Physicists have discovered that an electron can change from a particle into a wave with the simple act of observation. The bottom line is, what you see is what you get—that is, if your mental image is strong and clear enough! That's what our books help poker players do.

I am looking forward to our next conversation in Poker Player magazine. Because it will be issued during the World Series of Poker, let's do our very best to help all the hopefuls in their efforts to capture the potential $8,000,000 first prize.
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