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Poker And The Luck Factor, Part Four (Final)

Over the last few months I've been writing a series of posts about poker and luck.  My initial interest in the subject was sparked by Richard Wiseman's article, The Luck Factor.  With the skill versus luck argument often rising in poker, I figured it would be an interesting piece to work on.

If you've yet to read the previous posts, check them out here...Intro...Part One...Part Two...Part Three.

Below is a quote from Wiseman's article I've been picking apart.  In bold/underline is the final portion I'll be writing about today.

...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 adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good

In Wiseman's article, he discusses a study he conducted on unlucky and lucky people.  As part of the study, he presented both unlucky and lucky people with some unlucky scenarios.  In one of the scenarios, they are to imagine waiting in line at a bank when a robber enters and fires a shot that hits them in the arm.  They were then asked if this would be considered lucky or unlucky.

The people who perceived their general luck to be bad seemed to consider this scenario to be unlucky.  What bad timing to be in the bank at the random time a robber enters.  How unfortunate to be standing in the one spot where the bullet pierces my arm and sends me to the emergency room.  In general, it was FML for the unlucky folk.

In stark contrast, the people who perceived their luck to be positive, not too surprisingly considered this scenario to be lucky.  What unbelievable luck to be shot in the arm and not the chest or head!  How sweet it is to still be alive!  Man that could have been a lot worse, I must be one lucky guy.  In general, it was luck be a lady tonight for the lucky folk.

The lucky people found a way to make a bad situation seem rather lucky in the end.  And with that, bad luck turned good.

Poker And The Resilient Attitiude

Now picture a scenario where you are tearing it up in an online poker tournament.  In the first hour you've turned your starting stack of 2k into the chiplead of 15k in chips with the tournament average stack at 4k.  In a huge hand that could give you a huge chip stack you get another player with 11k in chips all-in with your AA versus his KK.  As the river King falls, you see what should have been a 26k chip stack turn into a 4k average stack.

Whether you perceive yourself to be generally lucky or unlucky in poker, I can imagine almost anyone would be slightly fuming after this scenario.  You've gone from King Of The Tourney to Average Joe with one simple river card.  That said, it's how you react that usually seals your fate.

If you take the woe is me route, you're initial fuming probably results in an open push all-in on the next hand - no matter what your cards are - and a very quick exit.  I'm unlucky, so why should I think I have any chance to win a tournament, especially when I can't win AA vs. KK?!  How will I EVER get to 26k in chips like I should be at right now?!  Yep, FYL

Now what if you've adopted a resilient attitude on the felt?  Okay that sucked, but you know what, I'm still above average in chips.  I was chip leader just a moment ago and built my stack from 2k to 15k, so there's nothing to stop me from going at it again.  And thank goodness I had as many chips as I did or I'd be on the rail right now, instead of still in the tourney.  Yeah, I know all that is tough to swallow, but you have a much better chance of making a run in a tourney when you stick to your guns and play your best game no matter what the result of each hand is.

When I was a kid my Dad used to tell me to try and find the good in bad situations.  At the time I didn't really comprehend what he meant.  Bad situations are bad for a aren't supposed to see good in them.  I didn't get it then, but now as an adult, I understand the lesson he was trying to teach me and what Wiseman portrays in his article.  I now understand that it all comes down to attitude.  You can choose to go through life feeling sorry for yourself and others, or you can take the high road, find the good in life - even when at times it seems minimal - and run with it.

In poker, you can choose to blame yourself, the cards, the other players or your general bad luck; or, you can suck it up and play the hands you're dealt one at a time.  When the tourney ends, you can choose to hang your head or you can study the game and move on to the next tourney and give it your best shot again and again.

I don't know about you, but after reading Wiseman's article and writing these posts, I'm feeling pretty damn good about my luck factor.  Bring it on poker.

Until next time, may the felt be with you.

Posted via email from TripJax

posted by TripJax @ 6:10 PM,


At 7:09 PM, Blogger jusdealem said...

Interesting concepts. Thanks for sharing this with us.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

Your most welcome jd.

At 1:27 AM, Anonymous Paul said...

I tend to think that luck in poker is something that over time will be on the favor of the superior player. It's like in sport how the more aggressive team/player gets the calls. Would you call Tiger Woods lucky??


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