Sunday, 15 April 2012

You got to know when to hold ‘em

Last night, I wrestled with the idea of how people move on. Some people seem more resilient than others at calling it quits, while others seem bent on continually reliving their past mistakes and relationships.

The whole debacle of modern relationships reminds me of a poker game. Successful card-players mix the luck of the cards dealt and drawn with a powerful memory of past successes and failures, considerable skill and, at times, sheer ruthlessness in securing a winning hand.

Even if, at the outset, you have a pair of high-ranking cards (like A♠ A♦ K♦ Q♥ J♣), you might find that one of them doesn’t follow suit, or discover that the Jack can also be a Knave. Your hand still needs three other cards to complete a ‘full house’, so if you must win, you’ll need to get rid of anything that doesn’t fit.

For instance, ‘One pair’ (perhaps the King and Queen of Hearts) however high and well matched is easily defeated by a complete family of lower ranking cards that all follow suit.

That hand might look good to you, but a straight flush led by a Queen (Q♣ J♣ 10♣ 9♣ 8♣) is a lot stronger than a King and Queen paired by themselves. Similarly, you might also win the pot with a lower-ranking family called ‘Four of a kind’.

Perhaps, most of all to secure a ‘full house’, you need to know how to exploit the ‘wild card’.

Of course, you will probably have close friends and family looking over your shoulder and whispering wise words like ‘lose the Queen’, or ‘just use the wild card’. All the while, they will claim to have your best interests at heart. Be careful, especially if all that they really want is to spend your success on themselves. You might want to check their own track record with lady luck before accepting advice at face value.

In the end, those who can move on quickly realise that:

1. There’s more than one game in town;

2. It’s better to bluff indifference and hide revealing ‘tells’ by a stoic poker face;

3. They can have more success if they can team up with a better bluffer;

4. You can’t focus on the defeat of the last hand, when the next hand you hold promises greater winnings;

5. Playing solitaire is only the last resort for losers.

So, whether you end up winning with ‘Queen straight flush’, or losing with just ‘two of a kind’, try to remember never to bluff your entire future in trying to gain one card and that eventually we all get played at our own game.

Perhaps, only then it will dawn on us that (with the high stakes involved, and however much we bluff indifference and holding a better hand than everyone else) LOVE IS REALLY NEVER A POKER GAME BECAUSE THERE IS NEVER AN OUTRIGHT WINNER WHO TAKES ALL.

Till then, if you insist on playing games, as Kenny Rogers sang:

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away, know when to run.

You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table,
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

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