Luck and attitude import aspects for S.L.A.C.K. in poker

May 22, 2012 3:00 AM

Part two of three

S.L.A.C.K. is the acronym for skill, luck, attitude, concentration and knowledge, five ingredients in gaining “The Gamblers Edge.” This column covers luck and attitude.

Luck. Although you cannot depend on luck to dig yourself out of a hole, you can increase your chances of getting lucky through several proven techniques.

First, think lucky thoughts. For example, suppose you are very late for an important date. You drive in the parking lot and it is packed tighter than chips in a rack. Don’t assume there are no vacant spots near the entrance; drive to the front of the lot and expect someone to be vacating “your” space.

Secondly, put your desires in positive terms rather than negative ones. If you need a heart on the river, think “heart” rather than hoping the board won’t pair. Another thing you can do is, “Put yourself in a position to get lucky,” as WSOP champion Tom McEvoy suggests.

For example, rather than wasting your chips on marginal poker hands, save them to take advantage of that opportune moment when the big stacks move to the center of the table. The higher the stakes and the greater the risk, the more rope (chips, in poker parlance) you’ll need to tie up a monster pot that will turn things around for you.

Attitude. I’ve read enough words on maintaining a positive attitude to fill a telephone book – everything from feeling good about yourself to meditating to emulating your personal heroes. So, what’s new?

Here’s an attitude technique that hasn’t gotten as much ink: Forgive yourself for your mistakes. The power of forgiveness is well known to theologians and therapists, who advocate forgiving your family, friends, and enemies as a soul cleansing agent and a self-esteem booster.

Forgiveness always benefits the person who forgives more than the person who gets forgiven. In other words, you forgive others and yourself so that you will feel better.

If you’ve been playing poker badly, been losing bets on longshots, and your bankroll has been melting like ice cubes in the sun, forgive yourself for your past mistakes. They’re yesterday’s news – it’s time to get on with the “now” of things.

As the motivational gurus say, “Remember yesterday, look forward to tomorrow, but live for today.”

Next time, we’ll finish the S.L.A.C.K. list with its final two elements: Concentration and Knowledge.