The Poker Paradigm

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A hand of poker is a lot like meeting a woman. Each hand is different, and depending on how you play it determines the outcome. (This article assumes you know the basics of Texas Holdem.)

The Symbolism:

The Poker Hand: The courtship, the meeting, etc.
Your Cards: Who you are, or how you portray yourself.
Winning The Pot: The achievement of a lucrative relationship, sex, and/or simply hooking-up.
The Rest of The Table: The other men in the gene pool and/or the object of affection.

The Nuts
There’s really not much you need to do here. Your hand is obvious, no matter how hard you try to hide it. The flop isn’t giving you much action, so there’s no competition – plus, everyone else is intimidated by you. You’re gonna take this one down. It might not be the biggest pot of the evening, or maybe it is. Either way, your hand is enough to beat everyone else. It’s all yours without even trying.

The Bluff
You’re representing something big. But, you better posture hard, otherwise someone else is gonna take her down. How well can you lie? How well can you make it look like you’re something you’re not? It all depends on your moral flexibility. Assuming you know the weaknesses in the rest of the table there is only one thing left to consider: can you act well enough to fool everyone?

The Draw/The Chase
You’re up and down, or you have four to a flush. You could make a nice hand here. Odds say you have a 38% chance. Add that to the fact that you haven’t hit a draw in ages and your chance goes up a little – at least that’s what you reason. How many more times do you have to chase a hand before it works out in your favor? Not an easy decision considering how many times you’ve gotten burned.

The Tough Fold
You might have it. You might not. You feel you’re at the point where you have to either take a chance and see the hand out, or fold and save face. You can’t determine anything more than that. You look back on the hand up to this point: what did it mean when she did that thing with her eyes when you asked her to see a movie on Friday the King of Diamonds hit the turn? You could bluff by pretending to be confident in your hand. But, clearly she would see right through that. You could see it out, maybe just stay in the game a little longer. Ultimately you think you’re beat, so you let it go. You may obsess over the decision. Maybe you were beat; maybe it was a good fold. Maybe later they whisper in your ear that you had it the whole way; maybe their friend tells you letting it go was a bad choice. Doesn’t matter, you’ve made your decision. Good poker says to let it go and play the next hand with no memory of the prior.

The Tough Call
Same situation as above, but you’re pretty sure you’re ahead. Still, the outcome could be disastrous. You could lose everything. You have to swallow your pride and put your balls on the chopping block with this one. But, if you’re right you’ll find yourself in a whole new world where you’ll have confidence, and the ability to trust your instincts. Just be cool and don’t splash the pot when you call.

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