Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Playing the Hand You're Dealt

Playing poker is not all a matter of luck. There is skill involved and thinking as well.

A hand is dealt to you. You have to decide to play or fold. You look at the cards. You assess the possibilities of matching what you have been dealt with the cards yet to come. If the odds say that getting a high hand with what you have been dealt already is astronomical, you probably fold and wait for the next hand.

A hand is dealt to you. The cards are neither bad nor good. There are some possibilities for winning but also the possibility that you could lose. You decide to stay in, ante up and see the next card. If that card adds to your possibility to win, you stay in to see another card. If that card subtracts from your possibility to win, you fold.

A hand is dealt to you. You have a low pair. You know that the hand's possibility of winning is statistically lower than if you had a high pair, but it is still within the realm of possibility. So you ante up and see the next card, and maybe the next card after that. And maybe your hand has been improved enough to be a real winner. And maybe it's time to fold.

A hand is dealt to you. You have a high pair. You don't just ante but you raise. And you stay in to see the next cards. You play aggressively. You may just be the winner. Or someone else is also playing a high pair and turns that pair into three of a kind or a full house or 4 of a kind, and they are the winner. But you needed to see that pair through to the end.

A hand is dealt to you. You may have an ace or maybe you have nothing but a seven. But you haven't seen all the other cards yet and you're willing to gamble some to see if maybe your ace or your seven won't find a winning combination. And sometimes you find yourself with the high hand at the table and you win it all. And sometimes you lose the hand and it's on to the next hand.

A hand is dealt to you. One thing is known for certain. If you don't look at the cards you are not going to win. If you don't figure the possibilities you are not going to win. If you don't ante up you are not going to win. But most importantly, if you don't play you can't win.

Smart poker players know you can't win every hand. Smart players don't necessarily play every hand dealt. Smart players also know that a royal flush is rare, but it does exist. They also know that there are other high hands that are also winners. They play the odds. But they play.

Life is like that poker game. Sometimes you start with nothing and you win everything. Sometimes you start with a winning hand and you lose anyway. Sometimes you win big, and sometimes you win small. Sometimes you play strategy and sometimes you just plain gamble. But you can't play at all if you're not sitting at the table. Learning about playing poker and talking about playing poker is important, but there is no substitute for actually playing poker.


Anonymous said...

I'm thinking that profk just may know a little bit about playing cards. Think the "bad beat" hand just might apply to shidduchim too.

Anonymous said...

Making shidduchim in the frum olam is not like gambling. Even describing it that way should be distastefull for frum jews. Shidduchim have always been about giving a lot of thought and of research to what needs to be in a shidduch. There's no gambling or luck just a lot of hard work. What's wrong with shidduchim is when someone says to gamble on what could be their whole life.

Bas~Melech said...

Well said.

I don't get why people insist on relating everything in life to shidduchim, though. I didn't think of it that way at all.

ProfK said...

One time I don't write a posting about shidduchim and someone sees a shidduch in there any way. All roads lead to shidduchim?

Bas~Melech said...

LOL. One-track minds... I'm deep in shidduchim, and I probably devote less thought to it than many of your readers... Yated readers... YW readers...