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(By Chris Sharp) I thought I would use a poker analogue for today’s column, even though I am hardly a poker player.  But as it turns out one of my favorite restaurants seems to always play poker championships on their overhanging TV sets when I am eating there.  And so I have kind of been forced to learn the basic strategies of poker while I am eating my precious tortilla soup at Carnitas, my favorite Mexican restaurant in all of Southern California.

It hasn’t taken me long to see that it is the greediest and most impulsive poker players always end up as the biggest losers in these contests.  In fact, the champions are always the most disciplined and patient players, who are controlled enough to hold on to all their most important cards for the right time.  The losers have by then lost all of their important cards at all the less important times.

That is because losers have a panic-stricken idea that they need to make money as fast as they possibly can.  The losers turn out to be true gamblers.  The winners turn out to be true players.

So this piece is essentially about the relationship between money and cards. Since I graduated from high school in Coos Bay, Oregon – which is off and on the major commercial fishing area on the Pacific Coast – I have had the experience of understanding early the relationship between money and cards, or let’s just replace the word “cards” here with “resources.”  In Coos Bay, the resources are the salmon.  The money comes into Coos Bay from people all over America, largely for the silver or coho salmon and the chinook or king salmon that comes out Coos Bay. But in fact, the silver salmon that have spawned out of the Columbia River are feared to be already extinct.

With the steady increasing warming of the Pacific Ocean over the past ten years, the delicate breeding of Pacific salmon has been disrupted and the salmon runs that take place every year into the Coos Bay region have been diminished.  The salmon industry has responded in a number of ways, including putting tighter limits on commercial and sports harvesting of Pacific salmon and increasing prices to lower its demand.  The one thing that no one in the salmon industry is saying is “let’s fish for more Pacific salmon while there is still some salmon to fish in the Pacific.”

Unfortunately Pacific salmon is not the only hunted fish to be diminished in this way.   In equatorial coastal nations, the manta ray has been so hunted for its raw elements to be used for medicines that it also is moving to the brink of extinction.  Here there is again is an economic purpose battling against a survival purpose.  The economic purpose is inflamed by the fact that the manta ray is usually hunted in areas where there is no other industry.  The sale of manta ray products to be used to activate medicines in China can typically pay for the maintenance of an entire fishing village, which may well have nothing else to sell to the world. 

 But it is said that mankind developed brainpower by intensely looking outside the box when the box is closed. So even though the people of the manta ray fishing villages may have never thought of finding an alternative economic life, the dwindling of the manta ray is severe enough to see that in a few more years unless the harvesting of the fish is seriously controlled there will soon by no more hunting and no more money making on the manta ray, nor will there be the specific Chinese medicines that the manta ray produces.

Read more here: A Sharp View:  Big poker mistake – when you use up your cards to make faster money