Luck or skill? Be honest!
Posted by Dave Bremner on 03 Mar 2010 at 09:03
In poker, as in life, you can only play the hand you’re dealt. The key to success, whether you’re playing no-limits Hold’em, making a business decision, or on your way to lifting a football trophy, depends largely on how you play the cards – but also how honest you are about your ultimate success or failure.
Most people – at, and away from, the poker table – tend to either underestimate or overestimate the role that luck plays in shaping their lives.
We willingly attribute our failures to poor luck: in poker we call it a bad beat when a seemingly unbeatable hand is trumped by an unlikely fluke.
Then, when we call an all-in raise and the cards fall our way, we congratulate ourselves on our skill and shrewdness.
This shortsightedness can prove costly if you’re not being honest with yourself in both cases.
We all get bad beats – I had a weekend of them, before taking some time away from the Circus Casino online tables to watch the Carling Cup Final. There I was intrigued to watch Man United’s fans protesting as their club went on to win the trophy.
It seems these fans want the Glazers out. Either there’s been a lot of smashed windows in Manchester or United’s fans think their club’s being run badly. Presumably they believe it’s just luck that they’ve won a Premier League and two Carling Cups, and reached a Champions League final, in the last year.
Now the Glazers may have made some questionable business decisions – although you could say everyone who’s bought a house in the last ten years has made the same highly leveraged punt that they did buying Man U – but whether by luck or judgement the club keeps winning trophies.
And what do you know? Later on Sunday evening I won a profitable Sit-N-Go by calling an all-in raise at the heads-up stage. I was holding a suited ace and felt my opponent was bluffing: he was, and I won the tournament with the ace and nothing else in my hand.
Luck? Skill? You decide. But ask yourself the same question next time you’ve won or lost a tournament – and be honest to yourself with your answer.
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