Your view at any one moment is probably coloured by your last game of poker. If you have just left a table reeling from five bad beats in a row, you will probably swear on your mother’s life that the players who regularly collect bracelets at the World Series of Poker must happen to be those whose lucky streaks are running the longest. Statistically, someone will always be luckier than others over a given period of time!
Yet, if you have just won your fifth Multi-Table Tournament running, you will naturally have no difficulty reconciling your success with the skills needed to win at the poker table. Who needs the help of the Poker Gods then? Indeed, who are the Poker Gods?
Anyone who takes down a big pot with a rivered two-outer thanks the Poker Gods religiously. The victim meanwhile curses the other player’s luck and then wonders why the Poker Gods hate him so.
The skill in poker is somehow to make life difficult for the Poker Gods by reducing the opportunities for them to strike a mortal blow. The Poker Gods enjoy nothing more than toying with players like a cat with a mouse. If you are the mouse that wanders around taking no notice of cats on the street, you will surely become prey to them and they will push you around and fling you in the air just for the fun of the sport…….….and then they will damage you!
Play any cards in the deck, chase down the river card with nothing but a gut-shot straight draw, call a raise with only bottom pair to the flop, and you will be in the lap of the Poker Gods. More prudent (or skillful?) players will retire to the sidelines and watch the entertainment unfold as the Poker Gods have their fun. For it is true that the Poker Gods have a sense of humour. The Poker Gods are all-knowing and all-seeing. Not only do they make a laughing stock of mere on-line mortals, they are present even at the Final table of the World Series of Poker. Consider their behaviour at the 2005 table.
Like many a mortal poker player, they too know that Mike Matusow is a player with a history. “The Mouth” has upset a lot of players with a lack of respect and courtesy so it was with some trepidation that the poker world observed his strong chip position with the final 9 to be decided.
Enter, stage left, The Poker Gods!
A well-chipped player is all in with two glorious red Aces. Matusow has committed over half his very large stack with KK. The flop comes down with a K on board. Oh, how the Poker Gods love to upset the poker world!
The turn is a heart, and that makes three of them on board. One of the opponent’s aces is a heart too. Tension descends and the Poker Gods laugh at the spectacle. They cannot resist it, and they throw out another heart on the river! Matusow feels the full force of their laughter as he buries his head in his hands. The Poker Gods are not finished. Another bad beat finishes Mike Matusow’s WSOP for 2005 for a 9th place finish.
The Poker Gods do indeed have a sense of humour! Next time you swear at them, perhaps you might stop to think whether there is more you can do to make you less interesting to them. Folding poor hands before the flop would be a great start!