I Saw – You Saw

Let’s face it. None of us has a perfect memory. Most of us mean no harm by misremembering. But misremembering facts can have a serious downside. For example, you’ll often run across conflicting accounts by eyewitnesses to serious crimes. These days it’s not unusual to see convicted felons proven innocent on the basis of DNA evidence. These same “felons” were often convicted based on eyewitness accounts. I don’t know about you, but I have more faith in the DNA evidence.

The manner in which memories are shared can impact their remembered outcomes. For example, a story re-told in a barroom setting is more likely to be exaggerated than one told in other settings. I think the same thing can happen on the craps forums, by the way.

Some misremembered facts start out innocently enough as an unintentional misstatement of fact. That “fact” gets imprinted on the brain, and if it’s not corrected it gets repeated in subsequent retellings. I recall wrapping up a joint session with another player in Tunica, then heading to the cage. “How’d you do?” he asked. I told him I’d made $700. Then, as the cashier handed me my cash I said, “No, that’s not right. I made $400. I bought in for $300 and colored up $700.” It was a simple mistake, but had I gone down the road without correcting this in my mind a $700 win would have been a “fact” as far as I was concerned. And that is not a beautiful thing.

Whenever I read trip reports from the seminars I often find myself wondering whether or not something someone wrote happened exactly as they reported it. I realize that sometimes players try to make a good story better by embellishing the facts a bit. Most of the time it’s harmless enough.

These days we have several forum members who physically track rolls at the table. For the most part these guys do a great job at keeping our memories “honest.” But they can occasionally miss a roll while distracted with a payoff or bet adjustment. Roll tracking, too, is an imperfect science.

The ones that bother me are the guys who suddenly come out of the woodwork and tell a story about a session played ten years earlier – a story fraught with mistakes – intended or not. Funny how those misremembered stories always paint the storyteller in a favorable light – and how unkind they can be to others. Time, it seems, heals all things. Except, of course, a faulty memory.

Last of all, there are the guys who deliberately “remember” information that is incorrect in a direct effort to deceive others. There were, for example, a couple of well-known craps enthusiasts who used to play sessions together – but rarely played with others. Whenever they were at the table together they always seemed to come up with record-breaking hands. But whenever a third party witnesses their throws they couldn’t seem to get anything going. While I realize that DI is a long-run game and that no one has a good hand every time they touch the dice – you’d think these guys would occasionally put together a good roll when someone else was watching.

Want to improve your trip reports? Just make a point to tell the truth – warts and all. That’s really what people reading trip reports want – a chance to learn from someone else’s mistakes while reliving a casino session through that person’s eyes.

Want to improve your memory? A good place to start is by keeping your mind active by working puzzles, playing games and reading. Remember, anything that engages the senses will help to stimulate your mind and strengthen your memory. So touch, feel, smell, and experience new things as often as you can. Unless, of course, you’re married. In which case you’d best keep your hands to yourself.