5 Dec

Lessons in Proverbial Poker Philosophy

Doubt, repetition, redundancy and other poker proverbs.

Doubt, repetition, redundancy and other poker proverbs.Life is filled with moments that can be chalked up to one philosophical proverb or another. The same goes for the game of poker. We spend so much time playing, studying the game, and trying to improve, that we often overlook the smallest things that could do so much for our future.

Below are a number of proverbial poker lessons most of us would do well to consider. Nay, not just consider, but inject into our every day game play. Merely considering them would be to commit the second act of probable failure.

When in Doubt…

There is an oft-repeated proverb that encourages us to believe:

It is better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt

In so many areas of life, I agree with this ideal. But when you’re seated around a poker table, racked with uncertainty over a previous player’s actions, the exact opposite is true.

If you aren’t sure of any action that’s taken place before you, do not keep your thoughts to yourself. Ask the dealer directly. Do not feel foolish for questioning any situation, for to remain silent and unaware is to prove you really are a fool!

Take a hint…

How many times must one clear their throat to get your attention? How many times must we fall before we realize it might be better to just stay grounded? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop? We may never know the answer to that last one, but it shouldn’t take so much repetition for us to get the hint. In this proverb, we learn that:

The test will be repeated until the lesson is learned

The meaning here is simple. Don’t make the same mistakes over and over again. If something isn’t working, there’s a flaw in its design. Look closely at the problem, identify the leak, and shore it up. As we all know, repeating the same behavior over and over with hopes of a different outcome is the definition of insanity.

Hurry up and slow down…

Stress is a major problem today, not just on the poker felt, but in all aspects of society. The more stressed we become, the faster we tend to do things. And the faster we do them, the less thought we put into our actions. An old Yiddish proverb warns us:

No good comes from hurrying

I’m not saying you should never snap-raise your opponent, but very few situations call for such haste. Slowing your pace will reduce your stress, and reducing your stress will slow your pace. See what we just did there?

Forget about it…

Bad beats suck. There’s no escaping that fact. Holding onto it, however, isn’t going to help you out (read above). As the frosty Queen of Arendelle once said:

Let it go, let it go, turn away and slam the door

Regrets and redundancy go hand in hand. If there’s a lesson to be learned, learn it, appreciate the privilege of the experience, and move on. Not every bad beat is avoidable, but none should be so influential as to destroy your confidence.

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