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Poker And The Luck Factor, Part Three

Fresh off my running good and winning one of the two $1500 prizes (along with Matt as well) in the final 2009 PokerListings Run Good Challenge, I figure now is as good a time as any to continue my Poker And The Luck Factor series.  I must say, though I feel I played well in that tournament, there was a decent amount of luck for me as well, but this time it was not the sucking out or winning with lesser hands (that I recall).  For one, I'm pretty sure at least 3 or 4 times, in key spots, I had just a slightly better hand than my opponent.  From the big hand against Dr. Pauly early to the final key hand I played in the tournament, I always seemed to be one better (AJ vs, KJ or KT vs. K9, etc...).  The other lucky spots were winning some key races and not getting unlucky/outdrawn.  I guess in poker, much of being lucky is just not being unlucky.  I think I have to let that last sentence soak in for a sec.

If you've missed my previous entries in this series, you can start with the links below.

The Luck Factor
Poker And The Luck Factor, Part One
Poker And The Luck Factor, Part Two

Now that we've gotten that out of the way...

As you may recall from my previous posts, I'm breaking up the four quotes into four posts as I don't have a very long attention span.  With that, I'll go ahead and post the whole quote, but let's focus on the third principle underlined and in bold below:

"...lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles.  They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, 
make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good."

Lucky people create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations.

If you've played a decent amount of poker, whether live or online, then you've come across Mr. LuckSack  and Mr. NoLuck.  LuckSack comes to the table and his nickname, demeanor and/or chatter immediately prompts the stories to begin about how lucky he was in a particular hand or how lucky he is about to be.  If he ultimately loses, it is quickly forgotten, but if he wins, whether through luck or not, LuckSack's reign continues.  He thrives on it and relishes the stories about him and his good fortune.

NoLuck, on the other hand, plops his lame ass in the seat and immediately starts asking who is going to knock him out and how it's gonna happen this time.  He and everyone at the table have already prepared for the inevitable before the game has even begun.  Now if he wins, well even a turd sometimes becomes fertilizer, but more often than not, it's just flushed down the drain.

For both of the above scenarios, both LuckSack and NoLuck are playing into their chosen traits and, in the eyes of the other players, perpetuating and further justifying what was an original falsity.  They are harvesting a perception, which gains steam with each and every time prophetic action.  When LuckSack wins a huge race, he nods his head with a cocksure (hehe...I said cocksure) grin on his face, subtly reminding everyone how lucky he is.  When he loses a big race he nods his head with a cocksure grin on his face and chimes in, "can't remember the last time that happened."  Meanwhile, NoLuck is disquiet when he loses a hand and, when he wins a hand, amazingly chimes in with a similar line that LuckSack used earlier, with strikingly different results..."can't remember the last time I won a hand."

To sum up the above, you create the trait, others take the bait, thus changing your fate.  Understand mate?  Good grief that was a lame explanation.

Let me throw out a couple more thoughts on this subject before I bolt.

The WSOP is about to start and you've been feeling pretty damn unlucky of late, though to be honest, it is a small sample of play you are basing this unlucky phase on.  Regardless, instead of playing 25 of the 50+ events that you would normally play, you decide to save your money and only play 5 events.  You end up having a rough go of it and don't cash in any events.  Boy are you an unlucky person.

The WSOP is about to start and you've been feeling pretty damn unlucky of late, though to be honest, it is a small sample of play you are basing this unlucky phase on.  Regardless, instead of limiting the number of tournaments you normally play, and letting the short unlucky phase effect you, instead you decide to play in a few extra tournaments and ultimately play in 30 of the 50+ tournaments (I'm not even sure if that is possible people so please hold the hater comments on that point).  You end up winning a bracelet in one event and having numerous final tables and cashes throughout.  Boy are you a lucky person and a success!

In the first scenario, your lack of play limited your chances, making each of the few tournaments you did play and lose stick out as a failure and/or unlucky result.

In the second scenario, you played enough tournaments to give yourself a better chance to succeed and you didn't let being unlucky become a chosen trait.  While you did have unlucky moments along the way, you changed your fate by going into it with positive expectations, regardless of previous results.

I'd be interested to see what others think about this post and the series in general.  I still have one more post to go before it is complete, but if you are feeling chatty all of a sudden, be sure and drop me a comment.

Before I go, just wanted to say thanks to OhCaptain for reminding me not to be a lame ass.

Until next time, may the felt be with you.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from TripJax

posted by TripJax @ 11:56 PM,


At 12:48 AM, Anonymous Paul said...

Excellent post! Luck, karma, destiny and fate are things I constantly think about when at the poker table. How can you not? The thing is, it's not just luck but being able to recognize when you are being lucky...It makes it all a very complicated process and one which makes it hard not to over-think and over-analyze.


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