Now that I am married with a thirteen and ten-year-old, I like to get my card playing in, and if I find myself holding K9, unsuited, in early position, I’m glad that at least I know I should fold. K9 is too easy to beat, so I muck and observe the players who don’t.
It turns out that skills required for winning at poker are versions of good habits I wish my kids would develop. I often hear myself lecturing them and then realize I could be talking about poker; “pay attention, weigh your options, what did you think was going to happen!?” If my thirteen-year-old tells me about a bad mark on a tough assignment she didn’t prepare for I’ll respond “natural consequences..” and she accepts it uncontested, the way you can’t argue with the cards on the table.
A good player better knows that when competing with nine other players, one can expect to be dealt a decent pair of cards just every eleventh deal. Amateur players get bored and recklessly look for action, or they play a pocket pair too aggressively, these bad decisions are usually based on emotional gut feelings. With my children, I struggle to help them make decisions based on research and past experiences. I want them to take their calculated risks at the poker table where they immediately see the consequences of bad decisions concretely subtracted from their chip stack. I hope this helps them with their calculated risks out in the real world..
Another great lesson poker offers is how every player deals with their bad streaks in their own way. We all get dumped on but winners handle it differently. An experienced player knows that he has to steal the blinds once every round. You win as much as you can when the opportunity presents itself and you minimize your losses. You never know what the next card is going to do to the table.
Poker reinforces the value of being alert and sharp. Great players rely on the subtlest of details and use them to their advantage; we watch your feet. listen to your intonation, and recall your betting patterns. Above all, the best lesson I can draw from poker for my children is minimize your risks and maximize advantages. I hope my children realize when I make them to read, work, and practice their piano, I am hoping they develop their own edges. I want them to learn confidence, sportsmanship, etiquette, patience, and how to pay attention to details. If we make our own luck at the table they will learn how to make their luck in the world.