Poker is a fascinating game for one reason only: the cards you are dealt are only part of the strategy to winning.
It is true that in all card games, a good player can make a hand play better than it is. However, in poker, you can win with absolutely nothing in your hand, and you can manage to lose with the best hand at the table.
The cards are only part of the story; betting, bluffing, and reading your opponent matter just as much (or maybe even more) than the cards in your hand.
It is certainly true that a good poker player understands the chances of winning with the hand he was dealt. And with certain forms of poker, like Texas Hold’em, they understand in which ways they can be beat and the odds of that happening.
But my point here is that it isn’t just the cards in your hand.
It is interesting to me that we often refer to our lot in life as ‘the hand we were dealt’.
But which card game are we referring to?
If that is a poker reference, then how much does the ‘hand you are dealt’ matter? You can still ‘win’ with the worst hand on the table, and lose with the best. Right?
It is certainly easier to win with great cards, and you better be good at other aspects of the game if you hope to win with a shitty hand.
But you can lose with great cards, you can win with terrible cards.
Sometimes, bipolar, mental illness, depression, anxiety, that is a shitty hand to be dealt. There are a lot of shitty hands out there. Almost no one has a straight royal flush from birth. Almost no one has a hand you can’t beat in some way.
But, if you were dealt a hand that isn’t perfect, a hand that includes mental illness, you really gotta figure out how to bluff, how to read your opponents, how to understand your odds, and theirs. The better you become at this, the more work you do to level the playing field, or even tilt it in your direction, the better.
The good news is that almost everyone is unsure of their hand. Almost everyone is bluffing and insecure. Almost everyone is hoping your hand isn’t better. And almost everyone is scared to go all in.
Your hand, with that lowly pair, can be all you need. In fact, it could easily be said that playing with a bad hand often, that is when you really learn how to play. That is the only time you learn to develop your other skills. That is the time you figure out what you are as a poker player.
You want to achieve success?
Learn how win when your hand is bad, learn when your hand is a winner, and most of all, learn when to play it each way.