I'm a big believer in the power of the mind. You get lucky because you believe, truly, deep down in your heart, that you're going to get lucky. It's not that you hope you'll get lucky. It's not that you declare you'll get lucky. It's that you have no doubt, no doubt at all, that the card you need is about to fall.
For a year or two, that was me. I knew I'd get lucky more often than not. I'd ask the dealer and the card would fall. It was simple. And it made the game easy. You don't get the nickname "Luckbox" because you get lucky just once or twice.
My confidence is shaken. For every yin there is a yang. Where there is light, there is shadow. Just as belief in luck will bring luck, believing in failure breeds failure. Just read Waffles for all the proof you'll need on that account.
The Tao of Poker 5-year anniversary tournament was the last bit of proof I needed.
We weren't too deep into the tournament and I was still sitting right around my average stack. I'd given a few chips away before check-raising with the Hiltons on an undercard board getting myself back to even.
I'm dealt JhTd in middle position. There's one caller in front of me and I limp as well. It's folded around to the small blind who completes. The big blind then raises to 3xBB. The first limper folds. I call and the small blind folds.
That means two of us see a flop of 8s9s8h. I'm open ended. My opponent, with whom I am unfamiliar, leads out for about 2/3 of the pot. It's an easy call for me, I think. It's as likely to be a continuation bet as it is to be an overpair or underpair.
The turn is the seven of spades. I love the fact that I've hit my straight, but I hate the fact that it's a spade. Nonetheless, I'm pretty committed to this pot at this point. I can't sit around fearing the flush. My opponent leads out again and I push. He instantly called.
Any guesses on what he held?
He flipped over pocket tens, including the ten of spades. I would imagine that he thought he was in great shape. He had both an overpair and an open ended straight flush draw. That's strong. I was 68% to win the hand and 4% to tie it. There was a 2-1 chance that I double up and almost a 3-1 chance that I'm still in the tourney.
I knew I was done. Before the card even came. That evil poker doubt crept into my mind. The four of spades did it. The table said, "Ouch."
Was it "ouch," really? It's not like it was a stupid call. It's not like I tricked the guy into betting into my monster. Who among us wouldn't have made the call he did?
The cards fell his way that time. I'm sure he truly believed it'd go his way. Next time, I'll believe in the power of the Luckbox. It got me this far...