God Gifts and Talents for Poker

I’m currently in a WPT Event at the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida.   I played OK on day one to return with a short stack.   After 3 hours of play on Day 2, I was sucking air.  When the waitress asked anyone if they wanted drinks, I request oxygen for life support.  

My cards were dead.  I was pushing too hard to make things happen.  And nothing was happening right except I knew when to fold.

I made it to the second break and went out to call my wife.  She always has something uniquely profound when I call her about life lessons from poker.

I told her about my bad cards and she basically responded, “Stop Whining.   Stop expecting good cards.  Change your attitude and use whatever cards God gives you.”   She doesn’t play poker, understand the odds or know enough to even make her dangerous, but she had a point.   I had been suffering miserably because I couldn’t get good cards or good positions to play my marginal hands.    My attitude was sucking and I was not enjoying the game.

It made me think of a scripture in the Bible.  In Mathew 25:14, Jesus tells a parable about 3 men that he gave gifts and talents to.   One man was very gifted and received 5 bags of gold to invest.   Another man was less talented and received 2 bags of gold to invest.  The last man has the least amount of talent and was only given one bag of gold.

I suppose this is where I got the point.  I could bemoan that I only received one bag of gold.  I could complain that my hands were the worst of those at the table.   I could whine because I’m not as young and my memory isn’t as good as it used to be.   I could tighten up my play and only play the premium hands.    But that would make me more like the last guy in the parable.

The first two guys went out and doubled up.  They took chances knowing they could lose it all.  Yes, they might have gotten better hands, but they played the cards that God dealt them.  The last man in the parable took his money and buried it.   That would be worse than only playing premium hands.

When God returned he rewarded the first two guys for doubling up.   But the guy that buried his stack was punished for not trying.  His fear kept him from using his gifts.  His money was given to the other guy (chip leader lol) and he was thrown out as a worthless servant.

OK.  To the point.

I had to change my attitude.  I had to stop looking for the good hands and just use what I was dealt.   God has given me certain talents and skills and it’s my job to use what I have and not envy what others have.

I went back in with new fire.   I was dealt AK and just went all in.   I got called and doubled up my baby stack.   Game on.   I started playing my trash cards.   Everyone at the table was in shock, that a tight player had come out of his shell.    I was putting on a show and giving credit to my wife and God at the table.   I won two large pots with 34 of spades and the 25 of spades.   At the end of the day I had 95K.   The average is 85K.  

I’m heading down for day three in a few minutes.   Give me trash and watch me turn it into bags of gold.  Yeah. 

It’s now Day 4, but I’m no longer in the tournament.   I started Day 3 with a lot of trash and turned it into gold.  I was in second place in chips and then it happened.  I picked up KK.    They were the best cards of the tournament.   Everyone folded to me and WPT describes it like this:

Jim Carroll raises from middle position to 2,600, John Dolan reraises from the cutoff to 6,600, and Hoyt Corkins four-bets from the small blind to 30,600 — leaving himself just 18,000 behind.

(It was time to take advantage of my big cards and isolate and win a nice pot)

Carroll moves all in for about 93,000, and Dolan moves all in over the top of that for more than 200,000. Dolan shows his cards — AA — before Corkins makes a decision, so TD Matt Savage is called over.

Corkins has the option of calling for his last 18,000 or folding, but regardless of what happens, Dolan will receive a one-round penalty after the hand. (A couple players called Dolan’s early reveal a good strategic move, if it had been intentional.)

Corkins thinks for a bit before folding what he claims is A-Q. Lee Markholt says it’s an easy call if Corkins had any pair, and Corkins says he would’ve called with any live cards, like 7-6.

Carroll shows KK against Dolan’s AA, and he needs to improve to stay alive.

The board comes Q6523, and Dolan’s pocket aces hold up to win the pot and eliminate Carroll.

Just to make sure I had learned my lesson, I think God let me have some good cards.   What I had envied finally came my way.   Only Dolan had enough chips to send me home and he did.  

The point of the story is:   Stop worrying about what you don’t have and use what you do for service.  We aren’t all dealt the same hands in life.  Sometimes the grass isn’t greener.   Lesson learned. 

table. I won two large pots with 34 of spades and the 25 of spades. At the end of the day I had 95K.
The average is 85K.


I’m heading down for day three in a few minutes. Give me trash and watch me turn it into bags of gold.


Yeah.


It’s now Day 4, but I’m no longer in the tournament. I started Day 3 with a lot of trash and turned it into
gold. I was in second place in chips and then it happened. I picked up KK. They were the best cards of
the tournament. Everyone folded to me and WPT describes it like this:


Jim Carroll raises from middle position to 2,600, John Dolan reraises from the cutoff to 6,600, and Hoyt
Corkins four-bets from the small blind to 30,600 — leaving himself just 18,000 behind.


(It was time to take advantage of my big cards and isolate and win a nice pot)


Carroll moves all in for about 93,000, and Dolan moves all in over the top of that for more than 200,000.
Dolan shows his cards — AA — before Corkins makes a decision, so TD Matt Savage is called over.


Corkins has the option of calling for his last 18,000 or folding, but regardless of what happens, Dolan will
receive a one-round penalty after the hand. (A couple players called Dolan’s early reveal a good strategic
move, if it had been intentional.)


Corkins thinks for a bit before folding what he claims is A-Q. Lee Markholt says it’s an easy call if Corkins
had any pair, and Corkins says he would’ve called with any live cards, like 7-6.


Carroll shows KK against Dolan’s AA, and he needs to improve to stay alive.


The board comes Q6523, and Dolan’s pocket aces hold up to win the pot and eliminate
Carroll.


Just to make sure I had learned my lesson, I think God let me have some good cards. What I had envied
finally came my way. Only Dolan had enough chips to send me home and he did.


The point of the story is: Stop worrying about what you don’t have and use what you do for service.

We aren’t all dealt the same hands in life. Sometimes the grass isn’t greener. Lesson learned.

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