Thursday, May 18, 2017

He Works Hard for the Money

It's a classic debate in the poker world, and even in government buildings: is poker a game of luck, skill - or both?

A recent book by a successful player and coach seems to have a surprising answer: both. While we have not read The Myth of Poker Talent by Alex Fitzgerald, the review we read today indicates he accepts the "luck" notion more than a lot of people.

But Fitzgerald goes on to argue that "talent" in poker is a myth because success is due to hard work and practice. Our response to that would be: is that a false choice? Can't practice and hard work on your game make someone talented?

Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. - Proverbs 10:4

We're reminded of the story of Kobe Bryant, who would take hundreds of extra basketball shots after practice. No doubt he had the basic skills. But he kept working on them diligently, to become one of the best athletes of his era.

Extra diligence in poker can teach things to apply in a tournament. That diligence can be as simple as watching weekly telecasts or playing pretend cash games online. But keep something else in mind....

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. - Psalm 127:1

Why would that work be "in vain?" We think it's because God has the final say over everything people do. You might think you have the greatest poker idea ever - but if God says no, He can stop it whether you like it or not.

Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. - II Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

Study what others are doing, in poker or other aspects of life - but make sure God approves of your conclusions. Away from the table, that can mean studying the Bible to make sure your will matches God's.

We welcome your comments and thoughts on this. How much of poker success is work? How much is simple and plain lucky cards? Whatever your view, may you take time to study what matter most - a proper walk with God, both in and out of poker rooms.

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