A poker code for players

Apr 24, 2006 2:10 AM

Carol, as you know players do not always win and it is difficult sometimes to understand the fickleness of the cards when poker players are playing poker.

I think of this often when writing a column and I look up at the framed copy of the Desiderata that you gave me, which hangs just above this computer.

When poker players ask me, "Do you always win?" I usually respond, "No, I put my pants on one leg at a time just like you."

Some of the young whippersnappers who have not used up all their luck may just run and jump into their pants and tell you that they win all the time.

Then I tell them that they really have just about three chances to be a successful poker player:

1. You must pick your parents very well, and if you miss that one you must:

2. Marry well, and if you miss that one you must:

3. Play like Hell, except I take a little writer’s privilege and make it, "Play like Hale!"

With thanks to the Desiderata, I have paraphrased my "OK-J" poker player’s code to live and play poker by:

A poker player should go quietly amid the noise, ignoring the smoke and clatter of chips in the poker room and be at peace while he takes his seat at the poker table.

The poker player should remember what peace there is in silence and as far as possible, without surrender to be on good terms with all the other poker players.

The poker player should speak the truth quietly and clearly while he carefully listens to others, agreeing that even the dull and the ignorant poker players have the right to speak their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive players because they can be vexatious to your poker playing spirit. If you compare yourself with these poker players you may become vain and bitter.

Remember that there will always be greater poker players with more skill and ability than you. But there will always be lesser poker players with less skill than you.

Keep interested in how you can improve your own poker playing skills. It will be really important and valuable to you and will result in your having more or less money when you go on home to count your poker bankroll.

Exercise caution in how you play each poker hand for the other players are trying to learn all of your poker playing tells.

Be yourself — do not feign affection but do not let this blind you to what virtue there is — many poker players strive for high ideals.

Realize that everywhere you may play at a poker table, the players’ lives are full of heroism.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture your strength of spirit to shield you in the sudden misfortune of a bad beat.

Do not distress yourself with imagining or calculations of the number of outs that you had working for you, or how lucky they were to outdraw your hand and hit that one-outer. (The only card that they could possible win the pot with.)

Many players’ fears and loses are born of fatigue and loneliness. Therefore, be of a wholesome discipline, and be gentle with yourself.

Like yourself or no one else will like you.

Therefore be at peace with the poker gods, whatever you conceive them to be.

Poker Tip of the Week

You will not remember, a few years from now-, whether you won or lost in the next poker game. But people may well remember how you played the game.

With all its sham, drudgery and losing hands, poker is still a beautiful game.

Strive to always be happy as you play!

And remember until next time to stay lucky.