When I was just a little lad I asked my grandpa, who by conservative maths had been playing Texas Hold’Em Poker for about sixty years, “How long did it take to learn to play poker?” he ruffled my hair and croaked in his 40-a-day voice “I’ll let you know when it happens.”
Bless him he was right, Poker is an on-going organic thing, but while you can improve yourself quite quickly, perfection takes a little longer. When I was a little older and got bloodied for the first time at the table, I turned and asked the sixth former (it was at school) who was counting the coins that had until recently been mine, (and at the time I thought was the greatest player of the all), “What’s the trick?” “What trick” he asked the “Trick with Poker?” I squeaked. Kid he said, being all of 18months older than me, “Poker is like sex.”
Wow! This blew my socks off not only was I talking poker with a card shark I was now talking S-E-X with someone who may actually have seen a real woman naked, what a man I was at 14! I tried to nod sagely as if this explained everything, but I must have looked like the penniless virgin I was, because he looked me straight in the face and said “The basics are simple, but the finer points stretch out until the crack of doom.” Turns out he was being force-read Macbeth at the time.
The moral of the story, is that Poker is an impossible pony to break, you can saddle him and you can ride him 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year including holidays. But one day for no reason he will show you a trick that you never knew and you will get thrown on your ass. At that point your next job is to work out just how that happened, before getting back on gripping with your spurs and try to avoid the next throw, that poker is waiting to give you. Learn all you can, practice all you can but above all respect cards and respect fate.
Years later I heard this quote from Dutch Boyd “Poker is a lot like sex, everyone thinks they are the best, but most don’t have a clue what they are doing!” It seems that wise old sixth former was right all along.