Final 3 Poker
To round out the first three “C’s of Success” – competence, confidence, and control – we discussed in an earlier issue here are the final three components that will lead you to success in any of life’s ventures.
Commitment. Lack of commitment keeps you in limbo. To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt’s famous commitment comments, until you truly commit yourself to something (someone, an idea, a venture), you are hesitant about moving forward. There is always the chance to drop out and slide over to something else. If your poker or handicapping career has stalled, it may be because you have not committed yourself to attaining the level of excellence or the degree of dedication required to become a winning player.
If you never commit past fifth street, you’ll never discover what seventh street holds for you. Of course, without commitment you may never have to face the possibility of losing the prize you are seeking. Lack of commitment is one way some people hedge their losses. If you venture not, you lose not – but you also win naught. In that sense, lack of commitment is one form of fence-sitting, a posture often engaged in by life’s losers.
Concentration. I once had a math teacher who expected quick and accurate answers to his oral quizzes. If one of us fluffed, he’d retort, “You’re not concentrating! Think again.” Think again and again and again.
This fifth “C” of success includes singlemindedness of purpose, mindful attention to subtle nuances, and the ability to do it hand after hand, game after game, every time you play. In a recent tournament, I heard the thirdplace finisher explain why he made a poor call: “I lost my concentration.” He also lost a lot of money.
Courage. After reading Rollo May’s intriguing book, The Courage To Create, I congratulated myself for being courageous enough to submit my first manuscript for publication over 20 years ago. Poker players also need the courage to create plays at the table, where they are risking money based on incomplete knowledge with an uncertain outcome.
Some bettors see themselves as courageous innovators because they continually risk money on highly speculative ventures. If they’re right, they’re geniuses; if wrong, they’re lunatics. Most of us call them “maniacs.” Other bettors, those shy souls who play tight-timid, lack the courage of even a church mouse in a Tibetan monastery.
The courage to take the risk, to throw in the extra chips when you have the right odds, to create the trap play, to call a bluff: This kind of courage comes from the first five C’s of success – competence, confidence, commitment, concentration and control.
And it usually creates the seventh “C,” the one that all gamblers use as the ultimate measure of success – Cash!