Poker Anyone?

Have you ever played? Texas Hold’em, Seven-Card Stud, Five-Card Draw, depends on the game but the fact of there is a big analogy of Poker to life. Let’s dig into the game shall we? Shuffle those cards and divvy them out without knowing who gets what, and for a kick we’re using multiple decks.

Now, you have your cards. You may have an opportunity to switch some cards, maybe you don’t but the truth is you start with the cards you do, and there is no changing that. The truth is life is exactly the same way. We get what cards we do, some might have an opportunity to put some new cards in their hand, but regardless, you get the cards you do. You must play them to your advantage. You must decide what cards are of value, and what are not. In hopes that you might come out of this game on top.

What do you get rid of? Do you toss something of value in hope for something better? Even then, you get what you get regardless, and it’s all about how you play. You see you could play one hand of poker and call it done, however that’s not commonly the case. You’re likely going to be sitting there across from the other players and some hands you will win, some you will inevitably lose, and some you simply folded. The whole game is set behind the fact that it’s not the cards that fully make you win, it’s how the game is played.

You observe the situation, seeing a “Tell” (signal) of someone and you act accordingly. You gauge the room, the players, our hand of cards, the bet, the pot (money in the center), you gauge it all with a weight of value, and possibilities. Much like everyone does in their lives. We gauge the other players, and the environment, we gauge our risk versus rewards, we gauge what we have in hand, and what we’re trying to accomplish and based on the value, we make a choice.

What cards you have doesn’t mean you can always win, or lose. There is a dynamic of poker known as the Bluff, a small lie that you have more than what you actually have. This dynamic offers players a way to bluff their hand, and possibly get the win. However, if another player calls the bluff it comes down to those particular cards. You best hope you’re not completely busted. However, the bluff is a way of keeping the game interesting. It’s a way to lie to players, or have them lie to you, and yet the idea of this may seem rather crude but it’s what we do every day.

When someone asks you “How are you?” you might respond in kind, maybe with a hint of truth, but in most cases the “appropriate” response is just like the bluff, a small lie. We do it to ourselves, we do it with others, we do it trying to make the most of the cards we were dealt, in life, and in poker. That’s the nature of the game. You’re trying to make the most with what you’re given, hand after hand, card after card, much like a game of Gin Rummy, you’re just after your own win however you can accomplish it.

When you sit around a table and the players are all watching you, as you watch them, they are the enemy, the opponent. They are the things that stand in your way of that win, but much like life we’re playing in a way against one another. Not that there isn’t enough to go around, but that in some way we feel a scarcity to life and so we inevitably play against others. You can take that as you do, but they are not actually your enemy. They are simply players just like you. They have their own motivations, aspirations, and goals. Making them just as capable of the “win” as you. In some ways they all are just dealing with the hand they were given, just as you are.

When it comes down to the ways we play, to the things we say and do it is personal choices. You see in the old west movies the guy who’s cheating at cards, and they get upset and pull “iron” (guns) and begin shooting. That cheat was someone’s personal choice to forego a semblance of rules or decency and alter the game in their favor. It’s the same as we play the game against others, we have those opportunities to be so selfish to steal a card for our own purposes. However is that ethical, do you want others to do the same against you? Altering the game’s basic rules and force advantages beyond the other players? Is that fair?

Often heard “Life is Not Fair”, I still believe you can try to make it as fair as possible. While I believe in equal opportunities, the outcome is on you. You play your hand, at the same table as any other player, and that is fair. It’s when a player cheats to advantage themselves over the other players things become problematic and broken. It’s the bit that can make the game completely not worth playing. Much like a stacked deck is a way of cheating. While someone may, in life, “stack the deck in their favor” that isn’t always the case of reality.

Reality is unchangeable, and no matter how much favor you believe you have, there is always chance in life. Chance for things to go wrong. Chance for the other player to bluff his way past your preconceived notions. There is a chance, and chance is a beautiful thing, it is what makes the game  so much fun. To know that even if you got a bad hand, if you do some things, make some right choices, and play the game well enough you may actually come out far ahead than what you went in with.

Last, I want you to look at your hand. Look carefully at each of your cards, while you may believe you have a useless hand, people have made wins with less. You must decide to play the hand you’re dealt. You must play the cards you have with finesse and with purpose and if you can’t see the value in even the worst card you may be overlooking something. You may hold too much value in your hand believing you have the win locked in, where it has proven time and again that isn’t always the case. My only suggestion is if you’re going to be dealt in, then play with what you got, and don’t sweat the losses, or wins, this game is going to be lasting a while.



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