Supersitition can destroy your profits
January 23, 2018 3:08 AM
by Irene Edith
Are you superstitious? Most likely, to some degree, we are all superstitious. What is superstition? According to Wikipedia, “superstition is a pejorative (derogatory) term for any belief or practice that is irrational – i.e., it arises from ignorance, a misunderstanding of science or causality, a positive belief in fate or magic, or fear of that which is unknown.”
Here are a few examples of common superstitions that may be prevalent in many of our lives. Do you relate to any of these?
• Don’t walk under a ladder. (It’s safer to walk around it.)
• If a black cat crosses your path, you can expect bad luck.
• Always get up on the same side of the bed.
• You have a lucky number.
• Knock on wood for good luck.
Gamblers are inclined to have unreasonable beliefs in actions that supposedly affect luck to some extent, one way or the other. Dice players may be the most superstitious of all, but poker players certainly follow right behind them.
For your information, let me quote Doyle Brunson, probably the most highly regarded poker player of all time. In addition to his poker skills, he has always been quite a philosopher:
“Some things don’t mix. Wine and whiskey. Concentration and loud music. Superstition and poker. Superstition is so destructive to poker profit that I believe the costliest thing a player can bring to the table is a good-luck charm. When I’m in doubt, I generally go with my feelings, but that’s not the same thing as superstition.
“I’d prefer to make decisions based on percentages and perception, but when those don’t point to a clear choice, I let gamblers’ intuition be my guide… But superstition is quite different. When you’re superstitious you do things that are contrary to common sense and analysis. And you lose money. I’m not saying I’ve never had any mild superstitions. But you’ve got to fight them back and not let them guide you.”
Here are some poker superstitions you may very well recognize:
• Wear your lucky baseball cap to the casino.
• Take your lucky card guard out of your pocket as soon as you sit down at the table.
• Try to avoid being seated at the same table as certain people who seem to be your nemeses. (Note: There may, in fact, be a valid basis for that opinion. So, it may not actually be superstition.)
• Aces & Eights – the Deadman’s Hand – was supposedly held by Wild Bill Hickok in 1876 when he was shot to death in Deadwood, South Dakota at the Number Ten Saloon. Many players still believe this hand is an omen of bad things to come.
• Pocket Jacks – Many players believe J-J is the worst hand that can be dealt to them in the game of hold’em. Recently, starting with pocket Jacks, he made quad Jacks on the turn – but lost to a royal straight flush on the river. (Note: Pocket Jacks is a hand that is often misplayed.)
• Poker celebrity Sam Farha often had an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips while seated at the poker table. No, he wasn’t getting ready to go out for a smoke. He doesn’t smoke. It was just a matter of superstition.
• Robert Turner has a rather special superstition that has some merit. Winner of a WSOP bracelet in 1993 and the man who brought the game of Omaha poker to prominence, he believes giving money to the homeless improves his chances of winning. “I will always give them something,” he said. “I’m afraid if I don’t, I will lose.”
Do you have a special superstition related to the game of poker? If you are so inclined, we would welcome it. And, we may share it with other readers of GamingToday.