Monday, August 18, 2008

Playing the Percentages (an addendum to Getting Grown)

One thing I have always been pretty decent at is Texas Hold 'em.

I used to watch Celebrity Hold 'em every night before I went to sleep, as nothing else was on, and to see how certain artists of all kinds went about their game, as I felt it gave me insight into their character. Plus, it was fun to see which ones got plastered as they watched the game from the Loser's Lounge.

This game, however, is a fantastic metaphor for human competition in a capitalistic society. Willie Nelson sung, "You better know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to when to run." And what Willie was describing was playing your percentages, playing the odds.

You never know what the river will show, but if you start out pretty well (ie. a King and Nine suited) and you can afford it (ie. are in the chip lead), drop 1/10th of your chips before the first card is flipped. In games like poker and capitalism, controlled and calculated aggression is well rewarded. If you've got cards, make your opponent(s) bet to stay in. Never show fear.

However, rule #1 and #2 remain. Never buy more chips than the game is worth and always, ALWAYS know your odds.

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