Excerpt from Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Paradise, Nevada

by Dario Diofebi

Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi X
Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi
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  • Published:
    Apr 2021, 512 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Grace Graham-Taylor
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And so online poker had become his life: the monetary upswings and downswings caused by a capricious mathematical goddess called Variance2 less and less capable of causing comparable swings in his mood; the validation he received from his graphs more important to him than the actual money he made (his words); the fact that his friends' names were sauce123 and OtB_RedBaron and that poker was quite literally all they ever talked about absolutely ordinary and fine to him. In the poker world, he was a pioneer. He had been one of the first to systematically apply advanced Game Theory to real in-game decisions. He had filled notebooks with decision trees before any software had been developed to do it. He had even been one of the four Brains selected to represent humankind in the historic Brains vs. A.I. poker challenge in Pittsburgh last spring.

The second possible topic his father might want to broach scared him even more. Wasn't it possible, Ray considered, that what his retinally occluded, philosophically inclined father wanted to discuss with his only son was the issue of his own aging and mortality? Wasn't it possible that he wanted to talk about his health, open up about his feelings, even sort of preemptively counsel his son through his future grieving? It would be entirely in character. Ray shuddered at the prospect. When had the human race gone so collectively wrong that they started to value the noise of the psyche over the signal of the brains? Where was all this sharing coming from? Introspection, again, was better avoided, a luxury application for under-utilized servers.

1 One-on-one poker played with real money, as opposed to tournament poker, the entry-fee type sportified version of the game made popular by ESPN2 coverage featuring overweight insurance salesmen repeatedly saying "All-in."

2 Defined as the expectation of the squared deviation of a random variable from its mean and calculated through: Var(X) = E[(X˗μ)2] where μ = E[X] or, in layman's terms, how far spread out a set of individual observations can be from its theoretical expected value. Meaning for how long and how much a theoretically winning poker player can lose and vice versa (the answers being: a long time and a lot, which is the reason why poker has stayed popular with amateurs for years, the only game where a novice can beat the best player in the world pretty often and for heaps.

Excerpted from Paradise, Nevada by Dario Diofebi. Copyright © 2021 by Dario Diofebi. Excerpted by permission of Bloomsbury USA. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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