Monday, September 28, 2009

Riding a Dead Horse

Maybe it is a Vegas thing or maybe it is my love of a challenging mental game but I have found myself playing Texas Hold-em lately. I have never played for real money at a casino or on-line and I understand that having REAL money involved changes the dynamics. I usually play online with pretend money that simply measures your progress or I play with friends around a dining table with hundreds of cents involved. But I believe many of the principles are the same. I enjoy playing with a group of friends because you can find a lot about a person by playing games with them, you get a glimpse of what they are like underneath the conversational front we all put on. When I play Texas Hold-em online I don’t learn too much about my competitors from Germany, Japan and Canada (although you would be surprised how much you can learn) I learn more about myself.

One of the things I constantly battle is hope. I know the chances are astronomical that a particular card will come up on the river (the last card dealt) yet I hold out and hope against all hope. What I should have done was recognize the odds at the flop (first cards dealt) or even BEFORE the first cards; that I had a loser hand and give up hoping for that possible flush and fold right away.

There is a Native American Dakota tribal parable that says “When riding a dead horse, dismount.” No matter how you nuance it, it’s dead, get off it! The miraculous Royal Flush may happen against all odds but you cannot live your life hoping for the miraculous, when you are on a dead horse, dismount!

It doesn’t help to buy a stronger whip.
It doesn’t help to appoint a committee to study the dead horse.
It doesn’t help to research what others do when they are riding a dead horse.
It doesn’t help to reclassify the horse as “living impaired”.
It doesn’t help to spend more money or funding or grant research.
It doesn’t help to rewrite the performance standards for all horses.
It doesn’t help to promote the dead horse to management.
Just dismount!

In Texas Hold-em I find myself bored folding most of the hands I am dealt and so I will dive in on one hand just to get some action and lose a lot. OR I find myself distracted and excited by my three Aces and miss the four hearts showing on the table. I think we do that in life too. We jump into crazy schemes because we are simply bored with all the loser hands we have had so far and HOPE that it just works out. OR we get distracted with what looks like a “sure winner” and bet the farm on it.

In games as well as life: recognize the dead horse and dismount!

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