what I learned about life by learning to play poker!

1Many of my friends were involved in playing a poker game, for plastic chips not money(!) at the village pub. It is part of a league which means that the top players, each season, get to play at G-Casino against other pubs and some even get the chance to go to play in Las Vegas.

It was a couple of years before they persuaded me to have a go as I really wasn’t interested in a game that involved bluffing, which I felt I wouldn’t be good at. Eventually they talked me into it and we first just played at someone’s house so they could explain everything as we went along and let me play while being coached by one of them.

I then played at the next game and was the overall winner (beginners luck as it is quite rightly called)! After that is was very up and down with sometimes me doing well and at other times being knocked out very early on. Overall I did OK and even got the chance to go to G-Casino one season, but I declined because I just go to be with friends and have a laugh. For me it’s not about the game but about sharing an evening with a group of friends.

2I soon realised, that as all good poker players know, it’s not about the cards but about the betting and reading other people. You can win with the worst hand. This then became quite fun as I experimented with going ‘all in’ and winning but also sometimes losing everything! You also learn to not get ‘pot committed’ which means that you need to realise when to fold your cards rather than keep betting just because you have already bet quite a bit. You also get to know how other people play and can even guess what cards they have.

Poker is an infuriating game as the winner is often determined by the last uncovered card and you gasp and think ‘what were the chances of that happening?’ and yet it did!

So what have a learned from this?

Being coached by an experienced player was invaluable. We can always learn from someone else’s experience and people will often just do it for free if you ask.

Confidence can get you far! You need to behave like a winner to be one. So always put on your best show and believe in yourself, the chances are others will too.

Sometimes you will be lucky, but that isn’t going to happen all the time so be prepared to lose as well win.

Try out new ways of doing things. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If something isn’t working in your life find another way of doing it. If you try something new you may like it!

Learn to read other people by focusing on them rather than yourself. This is useful in negotiations or conflict situations. Understanding their body language can help you to act accordingly.

Don’t invest too much time and effort on something that may not pay off in the end. Learn to know when to stop by following your intuition.

3BUT don’t forget that life does have a way of working itself out. Although you may have ups and downs you will be alright overall and there will be times when the sun comes shining through.

James Bond photo image credit | Sun and clouds image credit

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