"If there weren't luck involved, I would win every time." - Phil Hellmuth

L is for Luck

Are you lucky? Do you know anyone who you consider to be lucky? So many poker players talk about luck as if it's as tangible and real as the chips in front of them.  Through the years I've probably heard almost every luck related thing to poker. 
"this dealer always kills me"  "I need a seat change"  "change the deck. please" 
"this is my lucky chip, chain, ring, card protector, hat, pants..".you get the idea.

There is really nothing wrong with entertaining the notion of luck. It can be fun. This morning I walked by a beautiful fountain the bottom of which was riddled with coins. We rub bellies and kiss people all in the name of luck. The Romans even embodied luck in the goddess Fortuna. So much of our history and culture, as well as the worlds religions, make references to luck that I could write dozens of pages on the subject.

But were talking about poker. Modern day poker is a new frontier and those who enjoy the challenge of a live game or a tournament will have their own perspectives on luck. I respect everyones' opinion. But I believe that when a player gives luck too much credit or uses it as an excuse for long term poker results it will hurt performance overall. "what a luckbox!"

Johnny Chan is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to play the game. He is known for having a lucky orange with him at the table ( I believe it's a cultural thing). I think thats great.  but with all due respect, I personally don't think that the orange gave off "lucky energy" or gave Johnny any useful advise during a tough hand. Thats just me, though. I have nothing but respect for Johnny Chan, and I believe he'll continue to be a great poker player with or without citrus fruit.

I don't believe in luck. At least not the superstitious kind that affects so many poker players I know. If a player "rivered" you with an ace, did he get lucky? Or did you get unlucky? or both? or neither. Maybe it was the variance that poker is suppose to have. It almost bothers me to be called lucky at poker. To me it implies that I'm lacking skill, that the only way I can beat you as an opponent is through luck.

"I'd rather be lucky than good"  - really? I'd rather be good. Luck tends to run out sometimes, but if your focused on playing your A game, being good will stay with you.

L is for Levity

I am sometimes accused of taking things too seriously and I know this to be true. Poker should be fun and exciting. Every time your dealt a hand should be an opportunity for fun, even if its your last hand of the day. Years ago, I remember some friends of mine interacting with Daniel Negreanu before a $200 buy in tournaments at the Bicycle Casino in California.  His demeanor was always pleasant, He was always smiling and genuinely enjoying himself. I'm sure Daniel feels tilt, but my memories of him are of a smiling poker player enjoying the game. 

I've learned a lot about myself because of poker. But there is so much more to learn. I appreciate the feedback I've been getting. I hope my writings have helped people as much as its helped me. People say "good luck at the tables!" With the deepest respect to all poker players out there, I don't wish you luck. I wish that when you make that call or when all the chips are in the middle, that the edge is in your favor. Whether its a 33% edge, 10% or even a coin flip where your advantage is just 2%. Because in the long run if you keep doing that this elusive thing called luck....just won't matter.

L is for Luck. For me, L will stand for Learning. To keep learning and let luck be less and less of a factor.

What does L stand for you?