This I Believe

Max - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 20, 2007

I Believe I’ll Raise

I believe in a good old-fashioned game of poker. Nothing else in the world is as real as poker. Poker is not as much a game as it is a state of mind. In order to be a good card player, one must first become at peace with one’s emotions. “Most people you ask don’t remember the huge pots they’ve taken down over the years, but they remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding bad beats of their careers.” [Matt Damon, Rounders] Anyone can win a hand and keep cool. But it takes a real rounder to keep from steaming after losing part of his stack.

My grandfather taught me how to play Texas Hold’em, the Cadillac of poker, when I was five years old. He said to me that life, like poker rarely depends on the cards you are dealt. It is how you use the cards to push your opponents around. Sometimes the cards do not fall your way, and when they don’t, it is important to not give up and keep your cool. Someone can get lucky and suck out in cash or tournament game ‘cough Jamie Gold cough’. However, in the end, the pros always end up on top. Max I can tell that you’ve got what it takes to take on Johnny Chan or Doyle.

I took his advice to heart, never letting anyone push me around. I am known around the table as the crazy guy, stabbing at massive pots with rags. Most people think of me as a two-bit card player, but for some reason unbeknownst to them, I usually end up in the money. I win because I follow not only my grandfather’s philosophy, but also my own ideal.

However, every once in a while, you just don’t have it and you have to muck. For example, the flop has deuces and a nine up rainbowed. The button bets out at your pocket sixes. The turn is a king-unflushable. You bet. They raise. You know your hand is no good and your opponent knows it too. You only have one option. Cut off a finger to save the hand. Fold. Live to fight another day. Let’s say you invest in an up and coming stock. It starts out in the positive, but after a few months it starts to dwindle. Instead of fretting and investing more to try to raise revenue, simply sell. It had a good run and now its time to move on.

I believe it always pays off to see the last card hit the felt. The game isn’t over until only one man has all the chips and until then, it’s anybody’s game. What I am trying to say is never give up hope. Even when the chips are down and you’re all in against aces in the hole, there is still a chance to catch a running two pair or straight. Such is in life. You can catch a run of cold cards, your dreams of winning it big being dashed before your eyes. But, if you keep your head in the game and stay cool, lady luck just might alight your shoulder.