We can all use‘turkey luck,’ atleast sometimes

Nov 29, 2005 2:04 AM

Carol, I know that most of the folks think that the turkey that received the presidential pardon last week was just lucky, but will the turkey be lucky enough to also miss the bird flu?

I know you want me to get my flu shot, and I would like to remind all of our poker playing friends to just miss a few hands of poker and take time out to go down to the health department and get that shot.

Back to the game. Sure, I know that there is a lot of skill required to play winning poker. But it doesn’t hurt a poker player sometimes to be as lucky as that pardoned turkey was last week.

And, yes, I have been asked many times whether I ever had a run of bad luck for a long period of time.

The answer is yes, of course. I put my pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else. But in Oklahoma we have many sayings, and the one that comes to mind when I am asked that question is, "If the horse throws you off, get right back on it and ride!"

Then, I am sometimes asked if I win all the time when I play poker.

The answer is no. My wife, Carol, is still working and I haven’t yet quit my day job.

Then I am asked if I believe in luck.

The answer is, of course, yes.

I am reminded today of a book — not a poker book, but something by a psychologist by the name of Richard Wiseman, PhD, who discovered the secrets to a charmed life.

After finding out about how good fortuned worked, he wrote the book, "The Luck Factor: Changing your life: The Four Essential Principles."

Of course, this is a self help book for people like Joe Besputmith, Al Cap’s Little Abner character who goes around with a cloud overhead and the sun is shinning everywhere else but it is raining on him.

I remember a series of hands a couple of years ago in the $10,000 main event of the World Series of Poker. The player to my left bet the pot — $30,000 — the next player raised it to $60,000, and the next player went all in. The original better called all-in but had about $10,000 more than all the other players.

As he put all of his money in the pot he announced to the table before the flop that he could not win and showed his two aces.

Yes, you guessed it, he did not win but he knew in advance that he was going to lose.

That’s the kind of player I’d like to go all-in against. The next time he bet his remaining $10,000, I wanted to be able to call him.

I did not need to look at my cards; he was going to lose and knew I was going to win, so I called with 7/2 off suit knowing that the player was so unlucky that a piano was going to fall on him.

Yes, I won the pot. Is this good play or did I just believe the player?

The author of the book, Richard Wiseman, designed some tests for people, one of which was when he put a lot of money out on the sidewalk, the lucky people would find it and the unlucky people would be looking up into the air, watching out for those Baldwin or Steinway pianos that were about to crash down on them.

Also I think it was Tennessee Williams who wrote the best seller, "A Streetcar Named Desire," which contained these words (which I agree with): "Luck is believing you’re lucky."

Oklahoma Johnny Poker Tip of the Week

Play slowly, carefully and skillfully when you play poker.

The longer you stay in the game. The more time you will give luck the chance to find you.

Until next time stay lucky.