This I Believe

Matt - South Pasadena, California
Entered on October 8, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports
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It’s not Just Luck

I believe in Poker.

Although I may still be young, I have been playing poker for at least more than half of my life. Not religiously mind you, but I don’t stray from the card tables.

I believe there’s nothing more satisfying than glancing at pocket aces and hearing your heartbeat ring through your ears. There’s no better thrill than proclaiming, “all-in,” before the flop with cards you’d usually fold. And I can’t think of anything more relieving than beating someone on the river. (your last card) That tickling feeling in your face as the color returns, and you realize you just won. But above all else, I believe that if you can’t find the sucker at the table, you should leave the table.

I believe that no other game operates on so many unknowns to be called gambling. You do it calculating odds but never certainties, and that difference offers the appeal. No matter how well you play there will always be bad beats, (the losses where you should’ve won) that’s why there is luck involved. Although I also believe that poker is a game of skill, while anyone can play cards, the professionals do it in such a way that it can be considered artistic.

I believe the gambler counts on luck, where as the pro counts on skill. The gamblers look at Ace high and think they’re winning. They peek at their own cards, and don’t take the necessary time to consider the cards their opponents hold. They’re usually the mopes with that gaze that screams, “what did I get myself into.” On the other hand, the pro shows an unattainable amount of reasoning and deduction, processing your every move and reacting accordingly. People don’t realize that a good player should be feared. He can rob you of your money and leave you with regret.

I believe poker teaches lessons. It teaches you how to lose with grace. In gambling there can be no tears or fits when you lose. You must accept that your gambling and the cards don’t understand odds. In addition, I believe it’s a game that teaches patience as a qualification to play. You’ll find without it your time at the casino will be short.

I believe that all card players have the dream of making it big. The gap between the low stakes home game with your friends to the world series of poker disappears after a big win. And you’re left with the feeling that you can take on the pros at the final table. Seeing them on ESPN, that status of becoming the next small town rookie to make it big feels so attainable.

In the end, I believe that everything will eventually come full circle. Your losses will come even with your wins, with a little money going to the casino for their time. What you need to take away from the experience are the skills you learn from it.