Poker: Microcosm of Investment
Poker: Microcosm of Investment
It seems to be a policy in America to celebrate our 21st brithdays destroying the recollection of its occurance through rabid consumption of alcohol. Yes, many infamous battles have taken place around the beer pong table. I have grinded through many battlezones at the table myself; a table of clashing chips and slicing, stainless stares. 2 years invested into poker from friendly 5 dollar freshmen cash tournaments to play money tournaments on Pokerstars and heads-up matchups with my friend. I was ready to invest in myself, in my skills, as I spent my 21st birthday at the Borgota Arena in Atlantic City, N.J.
Investment in poker is similar to investing in stocks. The formula of experience + risk taking + money + skill + luck = ability to end in the green. Experience check, Risk taking check, Money check, Skill check and Luck..... Shoving the door to the side as I walk in, scanning out the Arena, looking for the deposit center. Passing silent slot machnes as I garner my cash, slipping it from my wallet as I stroll over to the desk. Foddling the money some, as I wobble unnerving in line, surrounded by fellow investors. Placing the money on the desk, slipping it to the lady as I recieved my ticket, my ticket informing me that I have just invested 185$ into myself.
I abruptly took my seat where I would be joined with 7 other investors. Before the tournament begins an announcement of 90 players will be participating in the tourney is announced. The announcer proceeds to inform us that "Instead of a winner takes all formats, today the top 10 percent of the players would be getting 1500 dollars each." A return of 1315 dollars without applying any taxes to be deducted is very appealing I think. This also gives me a 1/9 chance of making a return and who would not like those chances. The announcer continues "Today we will be dealing Texas Hold'em; dealers start to deal."
As the tournament starts and the first hand is dealt a silence breezes through the room.Then the first bet is made, the crashing sound as chips flip into the pot, almost indicative of the unofficial start of the tournament. I sit there, a first time investor, but fail to feel the burden of nervousness that rookies usually succumb to. Many thoughts reign through my mind at the beginning but only one thought dominated; this is no different than playing online except now I get an advantage over others. I have the opportunity to read the body language of these investors. One blink, one word, one drop of sweat, one tap of hand…any of these can be indicators that a person is weak or even bluffing. Thus, those investors who can control their gestures while reading others have an almost insurmountable advantage, unless a lucky lady decides to play games of fate. Just as this thought ran cross my mind, a dealer sat down with a nametag reading Luck.
Yes, the lucky lady did come to play her games on this day and unfortunately she shined her luck onto an opponent of mine in a hand that still haunts me. After a few increases in blinds I had myself a stack upwards to above 10,000 as I had been able to win a nice hand during each preceding blind. The dealer dealt the cards, starting as any other harmless hand. I flip each card up, only a few inches, as I saw two ladies staring back at me, queens, which are always good to invest in. I let my queens lay on the table, as I glare up and watch, waiting for my turn for action. Most of the investors seem content on only calling the blind until one decides to lay out a small investment with a minimal bet into the pot. A person folds, a person calls then it is my turn. I look around the table as I see people unwilling to invest much into their cards. I reach down and decide it will be 3,000 for anyone daring enough to make an investment against my queens. The person to the right of me comments on my willingness to raise his big blinds but to this I simply chuckle. I was not playing his big blind here but representing the property, my cards, that I was eager to invest in. As the table folds one person sits contemplating a call. His head stays down, with only has hand keeping it from falling to the table. He takes his time, was it minutes or hours…well I do not remember. He lifts his head up and moves 3,000 chips in the pot and calls.
The flop comes next and not a threat to my queens. The flop bares two diamonds and 3 under cards to my queens. My investment seems pretty solid I think to myself as I look over to the other guy, the only one who was brave enough, or stupid enough, to call my pre-flop raise. I look down at my chips, noting that I have him covered, as I decide to make the most confident investment in my queens that I can. I look up and push my chips in the middle as I stated that memorable phrase of all-in. A silence flowed over the table as the rest watched and waited to see the other guy’s next move. Time past by as we all grew older waiting for his decision. He finally, with little enthusiasm, called and push his chips into the middle. He rolled over two diamonds with hopes that lucky lady would shine on him today. We all waited for the dealer to turn over the flop, all eyes streaming to that empty lot next to the initial flop. The card was turning over in the dealer hand, slowly revealing the suite of the card, a red symbol first appeared but which symbol could not be sure of. Then as the dealer moved her hand away from the card, it appeared lady luck had shined down upon someone today. After the anti-climactic river card was placed down, I slide over a chunk of my chips over the victor. My queens were a good investment but no match for lady luck.
In this hand I made the most confidence and correct play I could have made. I invested my money into a pair of queens that were easily more favorable to have at the beginning of the hand. I read the hand correctly and did not make a misstep only to come up with a net lost, just like investing in a company. Sometimes you can make all the right moves, do all the correct research and make all the best reads only to come up against a force that betrays logic and percentages, leaving you wishing for another chance. Fortunes can be lost with one flip of a card or with one failed product.