Monday, April 12, 2010

On Gambling & Luck

I play poker each and every week but I don't consider myself a gambler. To me, poker playing isn't gambling. It's about strategy; outwitting your opponent. Knowing when the time is right to make a move and when the time is right to just stay alive.

Nothing makes me happier than making my opponent fold the best hand. Not even having the winning hand. Hell, anyone can win with the best cards. Poker is about so much more than that.

And what about gambling?

What I consider gambling is scratch tickets, slot machines, and most of the stupid games you can find in a casino that have a big wheel. And yes, I throw megabucks tickets into this category too. Do I want a million to one shot to win some money?


And no, I don't waste my money on any of these gambles. If my money's on the line I want an edge or I don't want to play.

Yes, I know most people would hear this and think "She's delusional. Poker is gambling. LUCK FACTOR! LUCK FACTOR!"

And to that I saw, WRONG!. Luck wins hands. It does not win tournaments.

And what the fuck is wrong with a little luck anyway?

In a poker room if you call someone lucky, you might as well just call him a mother fucker to his face. He'll take it the same way you meant it. As an insult.

In other facets of life, "lucky" isn't such a dirty word.

"You won $1,000 on a scratch ticket! How lucky you are!" Luck is a wonderful thing in this scenario.

I cannot tell you how often I've been called lucky. Certainly much more often than I've been called smart. And I am lucky sometimes. When a little luck goes my way I'm thankful and try not to squander it. Sometimes it isn't total luck. I make my own luck.

Like in black jack for example.

You have to know the basic rules of black jack to play. You want to keep an eye on the dealer's card. If it's lower than a 7, you're probably not taking a card...if you have 11 you can double down...basic rules. And if you play black jack knowing the basic rules, odds are you'll lose. Casinos are in business to make money.

But if I'm playing black jack, for $25 a hand, I'll be betting the minimum while I count cards and wait for the count to be in my favor. Then my bet goes way up, I win, and everyone tells me how lucky I am.

I've been called worse.

Play smart.



Gary said...

Jo, another great post!

In addition to being a fine player, Josie does indeed enjoy more than her share of luck. And I hope I am not calling her a motherfucker to her face or to her computer.

And I would also say that to win a tournament of any size you need at least your fair share of luck - just enough to keep the odds honest, as it were. Because luck won't win you a tournament but it can sure as hell lose you one.

Looking forward to VJP Wednesday night!

lightning36 said...

"I've been called worse.'

No convincing needed here. : o )

Josie said...

@gary - thanks baby

@lightbulb - you're crazy about me and you know it - don't fight it. I mean you're cancelling your vegas trip just so you can play poker with me. 'nuff said. :P

dbcooper said...

When I tell people I love to go to Las Vegas they all say oh you like to gamble and I say no I just like to play poker. It always gets a weird look but its the only game I play when I am there.

Josie said...

EXACTLY Coop! How's my favorite OLD canadian today? :)

dbcooper said...

I haven't had to use the walker today..... Ha Ha. This Old Canadian (gee you remembered) is doing great. Just got back from the gym. Got to keep the the OLD OLD body in shape so my mind stays sharp for you young uns.

Josie said...

Coop - being called "young" just makes my day.

You guys should learn a lesson from nitty old coop - if you're trying to pick up women, call them young - it'll work every time.

In the gym! Don't hurt yourself! ;)