I believe in poker. I believe in the thrill you get when someone calls your bet. I believe in the risk of going “all in”. I believe in buying in for another hand after you have failed to win the last one. I believe in winning a tournament against all of the boys.
I am the only girl who plays at our weekly poker night, and I have never once asked them to go easy on me. Even when I lose, I find that I leave the table with some new piece of knowledge. How to slow play a phenomenal hand so someone will call my bluff, how to use my girly charm to make them think I’m bluffing when I have them all beat, and most of all, how to leave that table with empty pockets and still have a smile on my face about what a good game I played.
Poker taught me what it is like to lose gracefully. Nights when a new face joins in and sacrifices their money to the felt is when I see how far I have come in my game. Unlike these rookies, I no longer throw my multicolored stacks of chips at the player who “had my out”, and I do not play as tightly as I used to. I have learned that the only way to get far in the game is to take risks. You will never win a big hand if you are not willing to bet it all.
I believe in being allowed to lie to win in the game. While I take my seat in front of the dealer, I know it is every man for himself. No rules, no apologies, and all bluff.
I believe in leaving your feelings at the door. When you are dealt in with money in your pocket and emotions in your heart, it can only get ugly.
I believe in luck. I believe that you will not win if it is not in the cards for you that night. I believe that when you take risks and rely on lady luck, is when you are a true poker player.
I believe poker is like life. You have to lie, risk it all, fail, lose gracefully, rely on fate and become numb to emotion to get ahead.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.