In poker games we experience and take the same risks we take in life. Winning games of chance – Part 2 

Are you a LIVING person ?  If you answered  yes – Then you are a gambler!   

No matter how you much want to argue it or what the  politicians and law makers want to call it.  Formally or informally, you gamble and everyone else have been gambling every day of  life.

Some truth, advice , and philosophies I have learned while leaning  poker that may help you face the crazy randomness we call life.

1. The cards are not going to break even..

— not in gin rummy, not in poker, and not in real life. There’s a common misconception that if you play poker long enough the cards will break even.   TELLING YOURSELF THIS MAY MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER BUT IT IS NOT THE TRUTH!

Maybe, if we could play forever, never sleeping, eventually the cards would break even.  But only as far as who gets dealt the same amount of good hands. However it wont happen  in one human lifetime and one life happens to be all we get!  We may get close to break even in the amount of  big poker hands like the number of flushes , 3 of a kind, 4 of a kind , and full houses ,but it would take much much longer than you and I have on earth for the  circumstances surrounding sounding you at the time you are dealt these big poker hands.

For instance in some cases when your dealt a great hand it will be the 2nd best hand and you might lose to a better three of a kind.  Also when you get dealt the best hands they may be worth nothing but a handful of playing cards if your opponents don’t have a good enough hand to pay you off your big bets off with so you’ll win next to nothing. Also  you could get dealt most of your big hands when you’re sitting in higher stakes games, or you may get them dealt in the small stakes games. You might be against weak opponents, you might not. This list could go on and on. And the more factors we consider, the more luck, and the longer it will take for you to break even.

Does this mean some people are luckier than others in life?


But there’s good news.

You can still win, year after year, in games requiring skill such as Poker and Daily Fantasy Sports, even if you’re not lucky. How? Simply by making the best decisions again and again without fail. Then, instead of being a break-even player who may win $10,000 one year and lose $10,000 the next, you might win $25,000 one lucky year and win $10,000 in an unlucky year.

In this simple example, the $15,000 swing from a lucky year to an unlucky year does not even come close enough to cause you to lose. If you don’t understand this. Go back and re-read till you do …


Your Mind should be focused on making the best decisions and not about whether you’re one of the lucky ones or not.  Most of it is only relevant to the person living the life. Remember –

You can’t control your luck, but you can control your decisions.

Same as in life. Some people may or will  spend most of their lives in hospitals. Some will almost always be healthy. It is possible that tomorrow all your possessions are lost in a fire or tsunami. Someone may wake up tomorrow and discover that the old afghan rug that  grandmother gave them is worth a million dollars.  You might win the lotto.  

The point is “Don’t expect life to be equal for everyone”. It simply won’t be for you and it won’t be for the next guy. Simply make the best decisions when your “hands” get  dealt.

2. If you are winning at poker or in life – Do not try to “get even” when losing in the short term.

By doing this, you’re breaking rule #1 of making good decisions and you’re chasing a meaningless goal.

The mistake is looking at your temporary losing as a single session ,single day, or a single financial venture  as a game that must be won or lost now. Don’t think this way! – Life and poker are a long game. In poker, it’s much better to win $10,000, lose $2000, and lose $500 than to win $4,000, win $998 and win $2.  

In the first case, you won $7,500, but you only had one win and two losses. In the second case, you won only $5,000, but you won all three times. Oddly enough , most who play in so-called “games of variance” like poker or sports betting and yes even for most people in real life will unconsciously feel more comfortable about the second scenario than the first. While feeling this way is just human nature , It is also dangerous.

If you agree that $7,500 is better than $5,000, then you should clearly see that it doesn’t matter about the number of wins. What matters is how much you win over all.  

Be willing to take losses, be willing to take chances, be willing to fail and for damn sure be willing move when you see opportunity.

Thanks for reading and I hope this at least makes you think about poker or how you should be thinking about poker.,

Mark (NoodleTheRiver)


“The game exemplifies the worst aspects of capitalism that have made our country so great.' * To put it another way, the American dream - as it is purveyed in political and advertising rhetoric - is the bluff by which Americans are persuaded to accept the altogether harsher, less forgiving realities of the lives most of them lead”. ...  Walter Matthau- The Odd Couple

In the news: I received a letter today from Fan Duel that although Texas Holdem and Fantasy Sports were both founded in Texas decades ago. They will both be illegal starting May 1st 2016


Thanks to Mike Caro for the inspiration on this . Although this has been worded many different ways  and the results seem to the same.. I believe he expressed it best.   


Also published on Medium.

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