Joker’s Poker

How much does it pay to take rules seriously?  Being serious is not always good, just ask anyone who umpired a McEnroe game.  And McEnroe always had a different opinion of where the line was.  In games where you don’t now have Hawkeye spoiling the fun, an attitude of deciding your own rules can be very effective.

Unfortunately I can’t say any of this with the credentials of being an outstanding sportsman or a progressive thinker.  I only have one meaningless credential – winning a poker tournament last year.  But it did teach me something about what might help people get ahead.

I didn’t want to be at this tournament, I was there under orders (corporate hospitality).  I’m not a poker player, so I didn’t appreciate the etiquette or any of the sophisticated tricks.  So I didn’t take it seriously at all.

I bet the lot if I had a half decent hand.  People folded.  I’d chuck chips away on poor hands too.  People wondered if I was bluffing.  I was just trying to get rid of chips – I wanted to go home.

Although I didn’t realise it, this disregard for winning and thinking proper poker thoughts turned out to be pretty handy.  I found myself in the last 5, still unpredictable and rash.  But by that point I was asking people to gamble an awful lot of chips to jump off the cliff with me, and they wouldn’t.  So I cleaned up.

I guess you could say that right now I have an occasional ability to prevail inadvertently, through sheer incompetence.  For me there’s a long way to go.

But having a mindset of escaping other peoples’ rules, believing in your own way, and taking risks that some others wouldn’t…that is something seriously worth aspiring to.

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