Saturday, September 26, 2009

Poker, the Game of Life?

Grandpa had taken me into the local house of ill repute, as the preacher calls the local poker house, one night. And as we were watching a table quietly so as to not disturb the players, grandpa said only one thing, “ Watch closely, boy. For if you watch each player closely, by the time we leave you’ll know more about that player then even members of his own family does.”

With that said grandpa heard his name called and he just winked at me as he walked over and took an empty seat at one of the tables. I winked back and just whispered, “Good luck, grandpa.” Then I did as grandpa said and spent my time studying each man as he played at the table that I was close to.

When it was time to leave, grandpa had this to say as we rode home.

“They say that the game of Chess is the games of kings or of war. That may be so but as I ponder on the role of games in our lives the more I think that poker is the game of life itself. It appears to have all the elements necessary that we see in life that determines one as being successful or a failure.

As we take a good look around ourselves we can see all of the things we have spent our lives trying to build. And, if we admit it, we must agree that luck as well as our own skills played a big role in our lives just as it does in poker. How successful people see us as being may be dependent upon the cards we were dealt but more importantly, it is dependent upon how well we played those cards. Even a bad hand can turn out to be a good hand if played right.

The one thing we know is, that everyone sits down at the table as equals but once the cards are dealt out we also know that everyone will get up and walk away as unequals. There are winners and losers in the game of poker just as there are winners and losers in life. And life is just like poker, it doesn’t matter how much you have when you sit down at that table. What matters is how much you have once you leave that table.

Successful poker players will tell you that it isn’t necessarily the cards that you hold that determine how successful you are. What is more important is getting to know your opponents in regards to their weaknesses and strengths and then using that knowledge to gain an advantage over them. They will also tell you to remember that everyone at that table is evaluating your weaknesses and strengths also.

It is this lesson that should be instilled in us when we leave the nest of our parents. That lesson being is to know our selves in terms of our strengths and weaknesses and to know how to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of others. If we don’t, failure is almost inevitable just as it is in the game of poker.

One other lesson that we can find is that everyone who sits down at that table knows that if there is to be a winner that also means that there must be losers. That is true of life also. Whether we like it or not we cannot all be winners.

But, we can all be losers if a third party that is not in the game is siphoning a little out of each pot. In poker that third party is called “the house”. If that game lasts long enough it is a guarantee that no one will get up from that table as a winner. Only the house will be the winner in a game it took no part in except in providing the table that the game was played and acting as the arbitrator of any dispute that might arise.

In life we also have a third party that siphons a little out of the pot. That third party is called the government and that money siphoned is called taxes.
The big difference is,
·That in poker the house knows that it can’t redistribute the money it siphoned out of the pots back to the losers without suffering the consequences but it appears that governments thinks it can.

· In poker the house knows it can’t siphon a greater amount out of the pot just because the richest person at the table won it without suffering the consequences but it appears governments thinks it can.

· In poker the managers of the house knows that in order to deserve to keep their jobs they have to see to it that the house does not have greater expenses then it does revenues. The managers of government tend to think differently and it appears that the owners of this government think so too because those managers still have their jobs in spite of their poor money management.”

When we walked into the house, grandma was standing there and from the way she was glaring at us I knew that this was not the time to say anything to her and I went straight to my room. I had to chuckle a bit as I heard her snarl,

“ Keeping the boy up until all hours of the night…”


Karen Howes said...

Griper, I don't think I'll ever look at poker the same way again... but what you say (I mean, what Grandpa says) makes perfect sense.

The Griper said...

there is a lot more to the idea and purpose of games than what people realize, karen.

Spitfire said...

I had never thought of life like this...but it's an interesting idea. I like the comparison of the government to a poker IS a bit of a gamble isn't it. You vote for what you think a person is only to find them a different person once they get to DC.

I think I would have liked your Grandfather! Sounds a bit like my Grumpy. Shalom, Spitfire

The Griper said...

welcome to my little home here in cyberspace, little spitfire.

i'm glad you thought it an interesting take on life. that's the whole idea behind my blog, as radena will tell you herself.

RaDena said...

Yes, I most certainly will, Griper. :)

Next time I play poker I'm going to have one heck of a time getting this post out of my head! Thanks a bunch! LOL!

The Griper said...

hey, take advantage of it, radena. talk about it and distract the attention of the other players. lol


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