Day 64 (Life or Poker: How to Overcome a Bad Starting Hand)

“The real world is much more like a poker game, with multiple players trying to make the best of whatever hand fortune has dealt them.” -David Moschella, “Computerworld”

Before you read the rest of this post, ask yourself, what would you do with a 12.4% chance of success?

The game of poker has always fascinated me because there are so many ways to have success in it.

I played with some friends a few days ago and it reminded me that there’s so many ups and downs in the game, just like life. There are great successes with good hands, great successes with bad hands, and even great failures with good hands.

I had to get rejected to have a chance at winning.

For example, I bluffed that I had two aces. I went all in.
However, my opponent had two queens and I had absolutely nothing. He read my bluff, called my all in bet, and I lost everything. But what if he folded?
I would’ve doubled my money without anything.

Don’t expect great opportunities to come by passively all of the time.
-I remember going all in without a good hand because I wasn’t dealt a good hand for an extremely lengthy period during the game. I kept getting dealt bad starting hands.

Sometimes, you have to get a metaphorical wrench and force the door of opportunity to open up anyways.

Here’s the example that I wanted to show you:
Let’s take the hand that everyone thinks is invincible (which it isn’t), two aces. (AA).
And let’s compare it to one of the worse (if not, the worst) hand, (2-7 not suited).

Let’s assume that there’s only one other person in this particular hand and they have AA.

You have 2-7 not suited.

Even if you went all in with one of the worse possible hands against your opponent who had the best starting hand possible, you still have a shot.

How is this possible? Well let’s look at the percentages:

Chances of winning: AA (86.5%) vs 2-7 not suited (12.4%) with a 1% chance of a tie.

Think about that. Let’s go back to the beginning of this post.

What would you do if you had a 12.4% chance of being successful in anything?

That’s about a success rate of 1 in 8 with one of the worse hands possible.

So what if you were dealt one of the worse hands in real life?

My metaphor for this was that:
-maybe you don’t look so physically attractive in your opinion.
-maybe you didn’t grow up with the best parents.
-maybe you didn’t get the lover that you saw everyone else around you get.
-maybe you didn’t get that one job you really wanted.

You could wither with those negative experiences or you could overcome the odds. As long as you’re breathing and living, your odds are not 0%.

I also feel that if you put effort into things you can control, the percentages go higher in your favor.

Looking back at the above points:
-You have the power to dress nicely, keep good hygiene, and eat right to look the best you can.
-You have the power to overcome their faults and find ways to solve them.
-You have the power to ask for a date from someone.
-You have the power to find another job opportunity.

The main point that I want you to get out is that:

Although life is unfair and gives everyone different starting hands, some better, some worse, everyone has a fighting chance, percentage wise.

All you’re aiming to do is to increase your percentage to have a better chance at success by changing the things you can control (your decisions, your outward appearance, etc.)

However, no matter what your percentage is, why not go all in with something you’re passionate about?


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Great post, very inspirational! Alex, avid poker player


It's so true. When you're behind in the game, or in life, you can't play it safe. You need to throw that hail mary pass (to use another game metaphor) to get ahead. Very insightful post Matt!