Monday, September 13, 2010

Yeh zindagi hai ek juwaa

I love Poker. I used to be a big fan of Teen Patti, but the day I started playing Poker, Teen Patti looked childish. Its like discovering beer after years of drinking coke.

In the last few days while playing poker I started noticing a lot of things that are relevant in life too. Yes, poker has an element of luck, but not entirely. There are a few other aspects of life that poker teaches

1. Risk
Poker is about risk. There are two kinds of unsuccessful poker players - one kind who don't ever take risk and two who risk a lot hoping to strike lucky. Whether its Poker or life , if you fall in any of the two categories, you are doomed to fail. A successful risk is a calculative one. Its not a blind risk. You risk your chips/life keeping in mind the probability of you winning with the cards in hand (read - things/opportunities that you own), probability of failure of your opponents with the cards on the board and finally the probability of the next card opening on the board and giving you a winning hand. Risks are good. I have taken a lot of risks. some have worked some haven't. But, all the risks that failed for me were ones where I was short-sighted and where I didn't hedge my risks.

2. Ego
In a normal game of poker (and by normal I mean players who are not professionals), I believe, 90 % of times someone loses a hand because of her ego. Having Ego is good. But never mix ego with risk and never have an ego-war with your opponent - have it with yourself. A lot of times you keep on playing (even if you don't have a good hand) because you want to defeat a particular person. You think the opponent is bluffing. You believe that your success is in her failure and not in your winning. Take my word for it - you will eventually LOSE everything. Learn to give your ego a cold shoulder once in a while. Learn to withdraw in time : You might not have won the round but you have succeeded in being in the game ready to strike the next time opportunity comes your way. Jab taang hi nahi rahegi toh daudoge kaise?

3. "How much" after "when"
You might have mastered the art of "when to risk", but is that enough? Methinks NOT. Another aspect to understand is "How much to risk". My advice is that when you believe that you are in a winning position, back yourself with higher stakes . There's always a chance of luck playing a spoilt sport but then you will always take back the thought that you lost to a better hand. In life, this is what we call backing ourselves up. We fail because a lot of times we don't back ourselves well when we have belief in ourselves. All our lives we win some, we lose some. I feel the successful ones are those who risk big when it really matters. Obviously, if you lose, you lose a lot more but you will know that you fought well and you will not be disheartened and will be up for it the next time.

4. Losing is winning
You get better at poker by losing and not by winning. And same goes for life. When someone asked Edison why he persisted in inventing a light bulb after his numerous failed attempts , he replied 'I haven’t failed. I have discovered 5000 ways of how not to do it. These can now be eliminated from my experiments.’

P.S. - Next time a Jai tells a Mausi that Veeru kabhi kabhi Juwaa khel leta hai, give Veeru a brownie point because he knows a trick or two about life :)

P.P.S. - And the whole point of the post was not to give you gyaan, but to entice you to a game of poker at my place :P :P .