Poker – Real life in miniature?

I played (and won) a poker game in the weekend. There were about 8 of us and we all put $5 kitty into the middle, which we then turned into several thousand dollars worth of poker chips each. The stakes were high ($40) and as the tension mounted, I realised that poker games create a mini economy.

Forgive me for reading waaaay too much into a simple game.

In poker, we all start equal, but in the end, there is only one winner. Some people safely amass wealth, others kind of tick along for a while, some make dramatic wins and losses and all our morals and ethics were brought into question.

As I started to win. I started to feel guilty. Here I was with all this money that I knew I had won through a mixture of making good calls, but more importantly, large doses of LUCK. As you get further into the game and convince yourself this is real life, it is hard to see people lose everything, through a mixture of bad calls and BAD LUCK.

So, we introduced charity to poker. This was started by someone who had relatively little. She felt bad for the guy who had even less and put aside a large portion of her wealth for him to buy back in. While I ended up putting more in, proportionately, I didn’t feel nearly the same hit as she did. This makes me wonder if it is the poor who are the most generous. Maybe because they know that life really is lived on the roll of a dice and you gotta hope that when yours goes the wrong way, there will be someone there to back you. The rich just see the dollars they give, even though the dollars they give don’t even make a dent in their own wallets.

Some people were annoyed that by helping others, we were reducing the other winner’s chances of winning the whole game. This, to me is capitalism. We LOVE losers, because, that makes us winners. The class gap works for them, because it is better to be lower middle class if there is a lower class, than it is to be lower-middle class when that is the bottom rung. These people did not take part in the charity aspect. This is where it gets weird though, because in real life the ring wing conservatives of the game are some of the most liberal people I know.

Others claimed that the charity side was merely providing a fish, rather than a fishing rod, and was doing absolutely nothing to help those who were struggling (The fact that one of my charity cases ended up a close third, I feel broke apart that myth). But it was interesting that I could give the same amount to two people, and one made a go of it, while the other crashed and burned equally as badly as before. This to me, suggests that sometimes, people will never get ahead, other times, they just need a little lift and they will sort themselves out. It is, after all, a game of luck.

Because the game quite quickly turned into a question of what was right and how the world should work, I was accused to only doing PR work for myself – I had huge amounts of poker chips and if I was truly a good person, I would just give them all away or divide them equally among the entire table. The fact that I gave away money was not enough, hat only made me look good, but didn’t really mean that I was a good person. I realised that my heart is not as pure as I would perhaps like. Because I LOVED being rich and I didn’t WANT to give the others my money. Despite the fact I know I only got it through luck and I knew I didn’t deserve it. I wanted it.

The funniest part was that in the end, the two with the most wealth, were me, who had played a fairly conservative game, but had good luck, and Verity, who had awfully bad luck the entire time, but took massive risks and managed to bluff her way into wealth.

She lost it all on the last hand.

I reckon she is more the type to become a Richard Branson or such like, while I am destined to live in the comfortable security of moderate risk.

5 thoughts on “Poker – Real life in miniature?”

  1. All i know is that at one stage I had a one in six chance of winning and then I had a one in eight. Call me a right wing conservative or just plain good at statistics :)

  2. Hmm, sounds like a western way of redistributing wealth in place of mah jong. And now you know how Bill Gates feels when people say he isn’t giving away enough. And moderate risk is underrated—I don’t need to own an island like Sir Richard Branson, probably because of the upkeep, rates and the ever-present servant problems.

  3. I must say, if all I have to complain about is people complaining about how little I give, I don’t think I would be complaining too much :)

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