Hello! It's been a long time, hasn't it?
Poker sure has turned me into quite a philosopher, and as I continue to spend more and more hours playing and trying to up my game, I can’t help but compare my poker journey to life.
Life is, but a game after all too, isn’t it? You win some, you lose some.
A pretty well known quote on poker goes something like this - You get dealt good hands and bad hands but in the end what ultimately matters is how you play the cards.
Another one that comes to mind is that the things you regret most are the situations where you were too afraid to do what you know you should have.(Should have called that hand man, I was winning!). But as they say, in hindsight, everything looks different. Isn’t that true of life too?
Everyone plays well when they are winning – After a good initial run when I just started playing and was winning often enough, I was also faced with the reality that it’s a phase soon to be replaced by losing consistently (gasp!). And that is when the truth hit home, as long as you are winning, you believe you are playing well. Much like life, when a setback forces you to concede that it’s all up and down, gain and loss, good and bad! And just like life, you learn to take it in your stride at the poker table .
Too much time and energy and money is wasted on bad hands. It's always better to cut your losses – Well, I have shared earlier that I am a conservative player. I am happy with small risks and smaller gains consequently, but I prefer to be a safe player. It is the same in life as well, I don’t bet big and I don’t take “flips”, most of the time. I prefer to cut my losses as soon as I can and prefer to look for the next hand. Let bygones be bygones! Most people prefer less in exchange for a sure thing.
There are moments of glamour but most of it is a grind – I think this really sums up the hard work and beauty of poker as well as life. While most people look at and get attracted to the glamour part, they forget the grind that goes behind that moment of shine. And it is the same in life, one can look at someone’s success with envy and want the same for oneself, but it is rather easy to forget the effort and hard work that gets you there.
The game is not always fair. If I get a rupee for every time I see it on the table, I wouldn’t need to play poker and make money! So you were ahead on the flop, but by the end of the hand, you lag behind. So it is in life. Or the other way around. Luck shines on you sometimes, and leaves you high and dry at others. And that is how it goes!
Bluffing is overrated. Really! It might win you the hand but if you are in it for the long haul, you cannot get by only on bluffs. Sure you get your little wins here and there, but in the long term, consistency is key. In life too, bluffing will only get you so far, sooner than later, you have to own the game or face the music.
Whenever logic and intuition conflict you should always trust your gut. What we call the “gut” feeling is not overrated. In poker and in life, it will always have your back, even when it defies logic. Even when one is trying hard to build a story that is consistent with logic, more often than not, your gut is the one that can catch the bluff. Enough said.
The element of the unknown keeps the game fun – You never know what opens at the flop or turn or the river for that matter, all you can do is change and adapt your game accordingly. How is life any different? The unknown is what keeps it interesting and makes you keep playing! You can expect to be dealt a lot more crappy hands than good ones (followed by lousy turns and rivers). The trick is to make the most of what you've been dealt.
How do you do that?
By being patient, observant and prepared to pounce when opportunities arise.
And last but not least, there is a quote by Cem Arel that says “Poker is like life, most people don't learn from their mistakes, they only recognize them.”
On second thoughts, you can say the same for all games that are not trivial and yes, learning from your mistakes is the hardest part of life.
I'll be back with more gyaan.
Till then, see you!