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poker and life

It’s odd when the only thing approaching sage advice in a daily paper is the poker column- but I’ve found that a few times- and I haven’t played poker for years. Poker Queen, Victoria Coren, today has a few good tips for poker and life- my extrapolations follow.

Every time you are about to call, raise instead. In other words if there is enough in some project to get you interested go the whole hog (including the postage). Be bold. If you think of something do it. Up the ante in a conversation.

Stop playing weak aces. Don’t faff around with projects that have no chance of paying off. It’s a black swan thing: if things are going badly get out, if they are going well pile in. A weak ace is not something going well so get out.

Never show your hand or any part of it. I love this one! Who isn’t guilty of showing their hand? For attention, a pat on the back, that cosy feeling of being wanted, that big feeling of being admired…keep it hidden. Helps build momentum and concentration.

Always know your chip count, and the chip counts of everyone round the table. Chip count is more important than the cards. I take from this: think of the longer term of any project, how it may connect to other things you have done. A one-off success is less useful than the steady building of a body of work.

People are out there playing the world series for a $10 outlay… In other words, just because something has a big reputation doesn’t mean you should exclude yourself.

“As in poker so in life” starts one of my favourite footnotes from the eponymous economics textbook known to all students as ‘Lipsey’ (more readable than its competitor ‘Samuelson’) by Richard G. Lipsey. He goes on to explain that it’s no good reason to keep throwing money into the pot just because of the amount you have already put in there. Each round should be assessed on its own merits, and if it appears your bluff has failed- bail out asap. Conversely, if the reason for making the bet remains, bet your coat on it- don’t pull out just because you’re getting nervous.

So next time, don’t call, raise!



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