Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Does luck exist?

"In my experience, there's no such thing as luck."

-- Obi-Wan Kenobi


"Luck in any card game is cyclical -- it comes and goes in a mysterious fashion. Sometimes the cards run hot, sometimes cold. Many players give no weight to this at all as a factor in the game. But if such events are cyclical, perhaps we ought to take a hard look at this as a factor in the game. It must be of some significance that in some games no matter how well we play nothing works, while in others it hardly matters what we do because we can't do anything wrong. It is unlikely that an effect of such magnitude would have no meaning within our own purposes in the game.

Since poker involves so many borderline decisions, often occurring one after another, it doesn't hurt to ask yourself from time to time (when trying to make up your mind about which way to go in a hand): 'How is my luck running?' Asking yourself this can be helpful in maximizing your good days and minimizing your bad days.

As noted, some players ignore this completely. They play each hand independently, regardless of how their luck is running. You see these players betting along nonchalantly, playing each hand by the book, despite being down a lot of money. They have not retreated despite the negative flow of events.

It can't hurt to monitor one's luck and the general trend of it: how hot or cold you are is a legitimate factor in the decision-making process. This is not just a question of academic interest. It has a direct bearing on your fortunes. Use this tool to answer some of the borderline decisions you make in the game.

If your cards are below average, but you've been winning with anything and everything, you might want to play more hands. Conversely, if you've been getting fairly good hands, but you've lost with all of them, you might want to fold some of these."

--"Zen and the Art of Poker," by Larry W. Phillips


Sean Landis said...

Larry Phillips's advice is awful.

kurokitty said...

"Luck" keeps us from having to fight for scraps of meat in the street.

thecaffiend said...

On my phone! Woot! Mathematically i disagree whole heartedly. Chaos theory as well would say "bad mark". We should discuss.

deliverator said...

I can't comment while at work because the comments page is a "malicious site." If only they knew.

kurokitty said...

It just occurred to me that Obi Wan is right -- in his case. If your mitochloriant count is so high that you can see things before they happen, there really is no such thing as luck.