April 4, 2019
Poker, besides it being a game, provides an interesting take on many ideas, particularly life.
In reality, poker, like life, isn’t really about money if you ponder it deeply. Sure, money is what you seek as a means to an end, as an individual; but money is the byproduct of something much more important in both: a sound mindset. Poker and life are about making the correct decisions, every single time, day in and day out, hour after hour, no matter how it makes you feel. In that sense, Poker is a perfect mirror to life.
Moreover, poker, like life, has highs and lows. In poker, you get waves of cards where it seems you couldn’t make a wrong choice if you tried; in life, you get waves of circumstances that you ride and it makes you seem like a genius; in poker, you get absolutely life-changing pitfalls that leave you wishing you never tried the game; in life, you get overwhelming circumstances that leave you feeling that life couldn’t get any worse, but no matter what you face, in life, just like in poker, it can always get worse. And it both, it can always get better. These contrasts, et al., are one of the reasons why we appreciate when things go well.
In life, like in poker, you can’t value being painless, without having the contrast to pain; you can’t value being energized, without having the notion of what feeling exhausted feels like; you can’t value when things are good, without the contrast of when thing go bad; you can’t value wisdom, without having the contrast with ignorance; you can’t value joy, without having the contrast with sadness; you can’t value a painting, without knowing what a blank canvas looks like; you can’t value peace, without having a contrast of war; you can’t value love, without having a contrast with fear; you can’t value life, without being it compared to death; you can’t value the best, without knowing how it feels to have the worst.
Bottom line: you can’t value one side of the coin, without knowing the other exists. And in those contrasts that life offers, like poker, we have choices, an endless pool of choices from which to draw from.
In poker, you get a choice on how to handle each circumstance, and just because you make the right choice, doesn’t mean you will win; in life, it’s no different. In both, you can make the best choices repeatedly, and still end up getting screwed . This makes people often think that “Life isn’t fair” and so on, and that’s understandable. But who ever said life had to be anything – particularly ‘fair’? That kind of mindset is dangerous because it leads people to skip (or overlook) optimal choices simply because they might lead to a sense of unfairness, of something that doesn’t feel good. “The game is rigged, I’m not going to win anyway,” is something someone could say in poker; in life, someone could say “What does it matter? Nothing ever works out for me.” It comes down to mindset, mindset, mindset.
Life and poker are a lot more complicated than merely once choice. In fact, both life and poker, if anything, are a never ending series of choices; choices that are easy, choices that are complex; choices that leave you feeling good, choices that leave you feeling bad; choices that can alter your life, for the best or for the worst; choices that might feel good, and choices that might be good (there’s a distinction, and that distinction is crucial). Just because something feels good, doesn’t mean it’s the optimal choice. A choice feeling good, and it being good, are not mutually exclusive. That’s not to say that feelings, nor instincts, have no place in life, nor in poker, not at all. They both do, and each has a place in it, an integral one at that, but going on feelings alone is simply operating from one side of your brain, from a limited set of options. That’s why a holistic approach is better, for it provides a full-range of options to draw from rather than a limited set of choices.
The point is that a lot of the times our perspectives tailor how we react, and our perspectives are tailored by our mindset. Our mindset is tailored by a confluence of factors, those being our upbringing, life experience, education, mindfulness, randomness , choices we take individually, and countless other circumstances as well.
Bottom line, to reiterate, we always, always, always, have a choice. Do we ‘play’, in life and in poker, optimally, or suboptimally?; do we gamble, or do we sit painstakingly patient, waiting for ‘our’ time, sitting tight, folding, over and over again; do which is the right choice? Does it matter? HECK YES IT DOES!
It does matter, which is why we each are here, each as individuals on our own journey. Our journey in life, like that in poker, is essentially about key moments, key moments that change our bearing ever so slightly (or significantly) every single day. Do we let those circumstances tailor our life, or do we let our life tailor our circumstances? Another great contrast to consider, especially since it couples to mindset.
Life, and poker, both shuffle their decks constantly, day in and day out. You never know what you get, what cards you will be dealt. However, the greatest contrast between poker and life is that, you don’t have to play in poker, while you have to saddle up and ‘play’ in life, individuals have no options about that.
Life, like poker, has its own deck of cards. But ironically, the place where we need to play our cards the best is in life, because we have to use the cards we are dealt with, we have to deal with the circumstances in life as they come at us.
The deck will always keep shuffling, as it always has, and always will. Circumstances will never keep manifesting.
That said, and this is the most important point: the cards you get dealt doesn’t matter, not at all. How you play what you are dealt is what matters. The best example that harpoons this point is that, there are players that butcher playing Aces, while on the flip side, some people turn a junk hand into a miracle, in both in poker, and in life.
Both life and poker offer circumstances, positive and negative. Since positive circumstances are rather straight forward (for the most part) we will focus on the negative ones.
The best advice I can give you is this: when life stacks the deck against you, and you are feeling incredibly overwhelmed, always remember, as long as you are in the game, as long as you are here, you always have a choice, you always have an out. Knowledge of this is crucial, for it allows an individual to know that they are creators of their own destiny, they have their life story to write, they have a life to live to its maximum potential.
And if you conquer when you conquer those obstacles that life throws at you, you will feel like a conquering hero, you will feel like Frodo crossing the lands of Mordor going all the way; you will feel so invigorated, so capable, you will be so confident that you will be able to drop your soul on Satan’s doorstep and say “Try me.”
That’s the type of mindset that will make you see that the next boulder life tosses your way is merely a pebble, something to be flicked away, like a particle of dust. Dust off your shoulder.
That’s power you can’t buy, that’s a mindset, that will make all the difference in the world.
It’s a perspective, a mindset, that will change your life. Forever.
 This is one of the notions that leads people to make suboptimal choices, and its understandable. We live in an insta-feedback society. Individuals in modern times make choices faster than ever before, particularly with the internet as a backbone to modern times and many (or most) of the choices we have; as such, our feedback is faster than ever before. That feedback, when it’s not good and it also comes with rapidity, can be something hard to overcome and often overwhelming. It’s not impossible though, not at all.
 Randomness, or chance, is one the TOUGHEST issues to deal with, in my estimate, in both poker and in life. This factor alone can drive people crazy, figuratively and literally.
 Sometimes to the point of desperation; I should know, I gave in to desperation and recklessness hundreds of times in poker, and I will write about it in the future. This happens a lot more often than poker players, or people in life, would like to admit.
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About The Author:
Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.