Saturday, May 7, 2011

"They call it poker, because the word f*#k was taken"

"Nice to beat you, er, I mean meet you."  Says Carol to Karyn.

posted by Melissa
I didn't win again last night.  Let's just get that out there in the open at the beginning.  Our neighbor, Carol, was the big winner.  Here she is grabbing all her money.  My money.  I really, really wanted to win.

It is interesting to notice the thoughts as I play along throughout the night.  When I start the evening, I am very hopeful, the faith that I will be a winner swells in my chest.  And then the first hand, I lose.  Second hand, I lose again.  "Hahahaha.  Isn't this fun?"  I say out loud.
While inside, I am deflating.

Then after a few more losing hands, I start to give up.  But wait, it's a good thing.  I am neither high, nor low, but now able to just have a good time.  Perhaps I can practice some of what I learned throughout yoga, and meditation month, and breathe in and out right from the beginning of the game and remain unattached to some outcome. (*winning*)  Just be in each hand.

"Let the chips fall where they may." This phrase comes to mind when I contemplate the above situation.  A mantra to not be so attached, so high on the outcome of winning.

It is a cliche in our vernacular,  and I always assumed it originated from the game of poker.  I decided to look it up online and it appears that it actually came from wood carvers.  Letting the wood chips fall "where they may" as they carved and chopped wood, hewing is a word they used for the art of turning a log into a squared piece of wood for building.

So, there must be some good poker phrases that have stood the test of time.  Any ones you all can think of?  Here are some quotes about poker that I dug up.  Not that I have heard of any of them, but some are a bit funny:
  • There are few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker. The upper class knows very little about it. Now and then you find ambassadors who have sort of a general knowledge of the game, but the ignorance of the people is fearful. Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kind-hearted, liberal, sincere and all that, who did not know the meaning of a flush. It is enough to make one ashamed of the species.  Mark Twain
  • They called it Poker because the word 'F*#k!' was taken.  ~Phil Hellmuth
  • I guess if there weren't luck involved, I'd win every time.   ~Phil Hellmuth
  • If, after the first twenty minutes, you don't know who the sucker at the table is, it's you.  ~David Levien and Brian Koppelman, Rounders
  • Poker is the game closest to the western conception of life, where life and thought are recognized as intimately combined, where free will prevails over philosophies of fate or of chance, where men are considered moral agents and where - at least in the short run - the important thing is not what happens but what people think happens.  ~John Luckacs
  • The poker player learns that sometimes both science and common sense are wrong; that the bumblebee can fly; that, perhaps, one should never trust an expert; that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of by those with an academic bent.  ~David Mamet
  • Industry executives and analysts often mistakenly talk about strategy as if it were some kind of chess match.  But in chess, you have just two opponents, each with identical resources, and with luck playing a minimal role.  The real world is much more like a poker game, with multiple players trying to make the best of whatever hand fortune has dealt them.  In our industry, Bill Gates owns the table until someone proves otherwise.  ~David Moschella
  • Most of the money you'll win at poker comes not from the brilliance of your own play, but from the ineptitude of your opponents.  ~Lou Krieger
So, perhaps I am inviting the wrong crowd.  Or that I don't have inept friends.  Great for friendship and life, bad for winning poker.

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