The Brainy Way to Game

With all the forms of life that have flourished on this planet over the 4 billion years it has been part of the cosmos, human beings are undoubtedly the most intelligent of the bunch. Dinosaurs were big, mean and nasty creatures, dominant for millions of years, but they couldn’t read this article.

Our intelligence was needed long ago, when everyday problem-solving was truly a life or death situation. We Homo sapiens evolved to use our brains, the “thinking man,” and eventually outlasted our Neanderthal cousins due to our uncanny ability to plot through survival and adapt to surroundings instead of simply changing—and dying out—with them.

We’re still an extremely intelligent bunch, although not all of us choose to tap into our solution oriented grey matter unless it suits us. Ours is a life more of convenience than the struggles of centuries removed. But that doesn’t mean we can’t access our evolutionary gift whenever we need it.

A few among us have helped to cure diseases like polio, put man on the moon, create a Super Information Highway – the advancement of our culture is the culmination of great thinkers and their efforts to share their gift with the world. Others among us like to give the old brain a workout in the form of puzzle games like Sudoku and to calculate odds for online blackjack gambling.

Gambling games and something like Sudoku may seem like distant strangers at first glance, but there’s a correlation to the way puzzle games work and the way games of chance work. At least our minds see them in the same light even if, technically, the two aren’t similar.

The way we approach brain games like Sudoku and chess is the way our ancestors approached life many, many years ago. It was all about plotting a course. The idea of “instant gratification” didn’t exist.

When we’re at the grocery today, we’re thinking of immediate meals and, maybe, a week’s worth of food. Back then, you hunted to store for the winter, to make clothing from animal hide, and to give yourself the best chance to make it through the long haul.

That’s the instinct that’s tapped into when you play a game like Sudoku, believe it or not. Your brain is accessing the big picture—how to solve the 9x9 square—and not simply focusing on the immediate problem at hand.

Forward thinking, recollection, problem solving, and deep focus – it’s all part of a very special process that only human beings are capable of performing.

And although the games are not the same on paper, our brains go through a similar process when we play roulette and other casino games. We’re thinking about previous numbers, numbers to come, bet amounts, game odds, and other factors that will ultimately form our decision in a matter of seconds.

Once you learn the basics of casino games and other games of chance, something like online slots games become automatic. Your brain is able to process hundreds of pieces of information in an instant. You certainly may not always realize it, but your body’s super computer is running in there and helping you toward the correct decision.

The biggest difference comes from the “chance factor,” obviously. For even though your brain is processing information the same way, Sudoku is a winnable game whereas games of chance, even if you make all the right moves, can still result in a loss.

So the next time you’re playing one of these games, stop for a minute and think about the wonder that’s going on inside of you even though you’re not necessarily aware of it.

When we set the bar of intelligence to an Einstein or Hawking level, 99% of us are going to fall short. But when we realize that humans are the only known beings capable of this type of brain activity, it’s really an amazing thing.

 

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