Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I admit: I'm a bit of a poker addict. I don't think I'd consider myself a gambling addict, since I rarely really risk any of my own money online and I have a good amount of self control with setting limits and all that. But I love to play poker. The thing about it is, it sometime makes me think about life. (seriously, this is not in any way an attempt to justify my addiction with empty notions of some personal good coming from it - I'm just writing my thoughts, jeez). For instance, I was playing online today, this big 3500 person multitable game for a dollar. And it was really weird. I started off really badly, and after about a round about the table, I was down to 68 chips (from the 1000 I started with). Part of it was bad timing. I had two of a kind on the flop when someone else got a bigger two of a kind on the turn. But that's neither here nor there. I was way down, and I didn't really think I'd have the ability to come back. So some time passes, and some guy made a bluff and I called him with a low pair, and to my relief, I made the right call and doubled up to the 1 hundred's. Still not a great stack, and I waited a long time before going on, still thinking I had hardly any chance. Then I got pocket kings and went all in. I doubled up again and had around 350. That was cool, but that's still a crappy chip stack and I didn't expect much. So eventually I just decided to go all in with a J, 10, suited, and I got lucky against an A, 6. So I'm around 600, and I'm thinking, wow, I'm actually in this game. That's awesome. I could actually pull this off and stay in for a long time. Soon after that I got POCKET ACES. The very best two cards you can have before a flop. To top it off, some other guy went all in with his Q, J. I was excited, smiling at my lukely good fortune. I, of course, went all in, and lost to a straight, 8 to Q, and I'm out of the game at around 2000th place. Terrible, not that I expected much right away. But holy crap.

Okay, so what does all this have to do with anything? I just don't understand. I think I'm going to lose and I win. I think I'm going to win and I lose. The most unlikely things happen over and over, and nothing I think or try to do can in any way affect the outcome of anything. I hesitate to relate life to a game of chance. But really, how many things happen to us that we have no control over. It starts with where we're born. Who our parents are, how much money they have, how good they are as parents, what country they live in. After that, we get good or bad teachers. We get overlooked or noticed. We're good-looking or ugly. We're smart or idiotic. How is this not in some way like "the cards" we've been given? We do what we can to succeed in life, and then life just happens to us. We put in extra hours at work, and then something goes wrong with the car. (yes, it happened to me recently. argh). It's like that song "Ironic."

I'm not really sure that I can afford to look at life that way, but it's hard not to. Things just seem to happen just to prove me wrong when I build up such pride as to think I might know what's going to happen. Opportunities come out of nowhere, when the ones I sought after fall through. It's like life is dicated with the sole purpose of defeating my expectations. I don't actually believe that, nor do I intend to lead my life according to that impression, but it is the way it seems. I just wonder why things happen the way that they do.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Jacob you are a good writer. I think what you said about expectations is exactly right. I guess I always thought that if I worked really hard that I would succeed. Well, now I'm not sure what I am doing. Things like family sickness sure mess plans up. Sometimes I wonder where God fits into this.