10 LIFE LESSONS LEARNED FROM POKER
by Bill Burton
Bill Burton is the Casino Gambling Guide and columnist for the Internet portal About.com located at:www.casinogambling.about.com. He is the author of "1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets" and "Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em" available online at www.billburton.com. He an instructor for Golden Touch Craps: www.thecrapsclub.com
Poker is a people-game played with cards, and the skills you use to win at the table can be used in everyday life as well. Knowing yourself can help you know your opponent. Here are 10 lessons I learned from poker that can be used to succeed in everyday life.
Quality decisions will yield quality results. Your decisions in life and in poker matter. Successful people are the ones who strive to make the best decisions every time. All though they will not always win, they will usually prevail over those who constantly make poor decisions.
Poker, like life, is a marathon, not a sprint. We have to play for the long run. We sometimes get caught up in the moment and look at only our short term results rather than the long term implications of our actions. Maybe you succeed in drawing to that inside straight this time, but if you do it constantly, you will lose over the long run. In the short term luck will be a big factor in determining whether you win or lose, but in the long run, skill and knowledge is what will make you successful. My signature is "Luck comes and goes, but knowledge stays forever."
Anyone who believes poker, or life, is fair is living in a fantasy world. In poker there will always be someone who is dealt the better cards. In life there are those who were born into a world of privilege with advantages and opportunities that others will never have. Some of us may suffer health issues or other adversities in our lives. That is just a fact of life. Learning to deal with the cards that life deals us is the true sign of character.
The two most important traits a successful poker player needs are the patience and discipline to wait for a good starting hand. Playing too many hands will only result in too many losses. In poker, you canít play every hand, and in life, you canít invest in every opportunity that comes your way. You must be selective and choose the ones that will give you the best return on your investment.
You can find players from all walks life sitting at the same poker table. A CEO or doctor may be sitting next to a mechanic or salesman. A game of poker can bring together many different people, and, for the most part, they all get along. Players are not distinguished by their social class but by their playing ability and common enjoyment of the game. A good social mix can be a very rewarding experience and should be carried over into our daily lives.
Poker is a game of incomplete information. Each time you expose your hand, or comment on the play of others, you are giving away information that can help your opponents to beat you in the future. In life, the more you talk, the more you give away about yourself. Most of us know that there are more times that we wish we did not tell somebody something, than times that we wish we did. Learn to keep your personal information private is an important trait.
How you handle winning is as important as how you handle losing. Staying calm works best in both situations. Donít gloat when you win, or get angry when you lose. In life, when dealing with others it is best to ask yourself how you would feel in the given situation. If we follow the golden rule and treat others as we want to be treated, we can get along better with others.
In order to understand people, you should first understand yourself. By looking closely at how you react to certain situations, you can often predict how others may react as well. You can tell what their reactions stand for, by merely studying yourself. Do your hands shake when you have the winning hand? The less honest you are with yourself, the more you will lose.
Sometimes it is better to cut your losses and move on. In poker once you have put money in the pot it is no longer your money. It belongs to the person who has the winning hand. Too often players will continue with a hand that they have little chance of winning just because they have invested money in it instead of folding their hand. In life we all have had stock or real estate investments, or even personal relationships, that we have invested time that may not be working out as we expected. We must know when to cut our losses and move on. If you chase your losses you are just throwing good money after bad.
When poker players suffer a bad beat and lose control of their emotions it is known as going on tilt. They will play irrationally and make poor decisions, or try to punish or get even with their opponents. This usually just leads to more losses. In life, when we go on tilt, we often say or do something that only makes the situation worse. Learning to control our emotions will often keep things from getting out of control.
Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.