7/18/2007 12:36:35 AM
---- Updated 7/18/2007 12:38:11 AM
I've been making a study of Poker lately
I was never much of a gambler so I ignored this game for a long time. But as I've been playing a lot of no limit Texas Hold 'em recently (mostly with fake money) I've realized that there are a lot of important life lessons to be learned from this game.
Risk vs Reward
On the vast majority of winning hands there is usually some possibility that a better hand can exist at the table. Knowing how much to risk based on what's in your hand and based on the way other players are playing is a large part of playing well and winning the biggest pots. Play too conservatively and you probably won't win a lot of big hands, and you may be forced out a lot of hands that you can win. Play too aggressively and you can lose everything in a hurry. Learning to find the right balance and gaining a good understanding of the relationship between risk and reward will help you in poker, and it will help you in many aspects of life.
Trusting your intuition
It's really amazing what you can pick up on a subconscious level during the game of poker. When my intuition is on, I have a pretty good success rate of either identifying what hand my opponent has, or predicting what the winning hand is going to be. I can't count how many times I've been burned because I didn't trust my intuition but instead trusted "logic" and percentages as I understood them. I've had this experience often with people that I meet for the first time...its really surprising how often my first impression turns out to be correct, even when I ignore it.
Making assumptions too early
There are several ways that 8 3 off suit (generally a low percentage pocket hand) can beat pocket aces (the highest percentage pocket hand). Sometimes risking it all on the highest percentage hand without all the cards on the table can end very badly. But sometimes to stay in the hand you still need to make assumptions and take the risk. In poker you really can turn lemons into lemonade (see the lyrics I just wrote in the previous post.) Also I see a lot of parallels with dating and/or business here ;)
The game inside the game
Becoming frustrated, emotional, overconfident or creating personal vendettas against other players are typically a recipe for disaster. Becoming overly emotional tends to fuck with my intuition and generally leads me to make more mistakes.