Poker is the single best analogy for life

As a poker professional I get to see a lot of men from many different walks of life. The mindset in how they approach the game and how they play the game differs greatly, but the similarities between poker and life are stunning and numerous.

Nobody cares

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a bad beat story from both professional and recreation players. People just can’t help themselves from playing the pity card and asking for group acceptance. Nobody cares that you lost a $1000 pot, and nobody cares that you stubbed your toe on the way to the shower this morning. Everybody is here for themselves.

The world isn’t fair

I know you want to tell everybody your problems and complain that you lost a pot, or that you missed your bus on the way to school. Bad things happen to good people. If poker (or life) was 100% fair, and the best, most able players won every time like in chess, nobody would play poker. The underdog story is what captivates us, just like the lure of winning a big jackpot, or beating a world class player. Because luck plays a role in the short term, the bad players convince themselves they are good, just like the beta who knows the way to her heart is 3 years of friendship.

The short term is longer than you think

There is no quick fix to success. I have gone on for weeks taking bad beat after bad beat. You must trust the process, develop your good habits, and trust that your hard work will be rewarded. If you work every day at something, the compound interest will build and you will find success eventually. I once lost 14 hands in a row for thousands of dollars, when the odds of that happening were over 1000 to 1. I have also seen guys run up $60 to over $10,000 over a few hours.

You are alone in this world

Nobody is hear to help you. Everyone is sitting down with the implicit desire to stack your chips and leave you outside wondering what the hell went wrong. People speak and act and move for the sake of deception, to mislead you and blur the truth, whether consciously or unconsciously. You ever wonder why the hot girls always told you to be yourself? It’s so they can spot your bitch ass a mile away and never fuck you.

Everyone thinks they know best

That middle aged overweight coworker? He thinks he knows how to get girls. That male vegan feminist? He thinks he knows how to get girls. Your college virgin roommate? Thinks he knows how to get girls. Every single person who sits down at the poker table thinks they know best. It is not gambling like roulette or blackjack, everyone sits down and thinks they can beat the game.

There is no ‘right way to play’

Poker, like girls and life, offers a million different ways to express yourself and approach obstacles. Poker is an insanely complicated game of rock-paper-scissors, you can only exploit each other and ‘trade mistakes’. If there were one perfect way to play poker (or RPS) everyone would play that way and there would be no game. Girls are the same way. You have inherent strengths and weaknesses, maybe you a party hard socialite, or musically talented introvert, or a determined body builder. There is no one single way to get girls, succeed at life, or play cards. You can only push your edges and minimize your weaknesses.

Eventually the cream rises to the top

If you keep getting your money in good (as a statistical favorite), if you keep approaching cute girls and keep hitting the gym, eventually you will level up. You will move to higher stakes, you will get that promotion, and you will get a hotter, younger girlfriend. It might take days, weeks, even months. The harder it is to obtain your goal, the more you will cherish it.

When you’re playing against a stacked deck, compete even harder. Show the world how much you’ll fight for the winners circle. If you do, someday the cellophane will crackle off a fresh pack, one that belongs to you, and the cards will be stacked in your favor.
-Pat Riley”

So keep your head down, keep your mouth shut and keep grinding away gentlemen. We can only play the hand we were dealt.


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