July 6th, 2015
“THERE IS NO LUCK!”
About 2 weeks ago I attended the regionals for American Ninja Warrior in Las Vegas at the MGM Fairgrounds. My friend and SendOutCards customer Almas Merimisino was competing. He is also in the show Absinthe at Caesar’s Palace. He has been practicing 4 hours a day, 6 days a week for months! In the third obstacle called the “Warped Wall” he fell. His wife Katia was standing with me and about 15 people from the cast of Absinthe off to the side of the course. To paint a picture, it was at 2am and all the television and film crews were on all sides of us. It’s set to air in August. Now Almas is an accomplished acrobat and gymnast. He has been training all his life. He comes from a line of circus performers including his father. His sister also competes at a high level. His wife is a contortionist from Russia. You get the picture. These are high level VERY disciplined athletes. They train incessantly and leave nothing to chance. So about an hour after Almas fell out of the competition, I was walking with his wife Katia and I made a comment . . . I said, “I guess this wasn’t Almas’s lucky night!” She immediately without hesitation said, “THERE IS NO LUCK!” In a fraction of a second, Katia challenged a long held belief of mine. I always thought there was an element of luck but I saw something in the moment that I had never seen before.
It occurred to me that Almas risks his life 6 days a week in front of crowds of hundreds at Caesar’s Palace. He has no room for error. He works without a net. He does a head stand on a chair balanced many feet above the crowd. The chair is on a wire that is on 2 guys that are also on a wire. He can not depend on luck at any level. His skill needs to be 100% 6 nights a week, 10 times a week. He can’t go up on that wire and say, “I hope I’m lucky tonight!”. So my eyes opened to a whole new perspective. And also, I started looking a little deeper at what it means when I say, “You must be a little lucky . . . “ In some ways, I am implying that a). You don’t have 100% control b). You have an excuse to fail (in other words if you don’t succeed, it means you just weren’t very lucky!)
Now let me give you a little history. As a child, when anything bad would happen in our family, my sister would just chalk it up to “The Adler Curse”! Anything that went wrong was attributed to “The Adler Curse”. She would even say we had a black cloud following us! If someone got ill, it was the Adler curse. If my bicycle was stolen, it was the Adler curse, etc. But then in the mid 80’s I was a draftsman and one afternoon, my boss came over and looked at my work . . . he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You have a star following you!” And I heard, “You have a LUCKY star following you!” From that day on, I was anointed as someone who was lucky! No more “Adler Curse!”! From then on out, I have been lucky!
I received this message in response to the announcement for this call today:
“Much like you, I Am Lucky is one of my affirmations. The saying puts me in a positive mindset, reinforcing the belief that The Universe is a friendly place and I attract good things and happiness. I also believe I must be prepared and paying attention to spot the opportunity when it arises. Preperations could mean studying financial webinars, having the passport ready, a track record of contributing value into relationships, doing personal development activities, etc. Example: wealthy money habit of consistent budgeting and discipline allowed us to pay off our credit cards late last year. Our current goal is to use them and accumulate airline miles and pay them off each month with earned income, not dipping into savings. In the past 3 months we had major repairs on both car and needed to carry a balance. If I had been undisciplined about opening the credit “Important news about your account” administrative letters from the credit card companies (separate from bills) last month, I would have missed two time-sensitive offers: registering for a one-third reduction in one card’s rate, and a 0% for 12 months balance transfer.”
Let’s talk about Poker for a minute. If you were to ask an amateur poker player if they believe it takes luck to win at poker, many might say “of course!” In fact a high percentage of them on a losing night probably said, “Just wasn’t my lucky night!” If you were to ask a winning professional if they believe it takes luck to win at poker, most would say, NO WAY! It’s 100% skill. Think about it . . . any other answer from a professional is an excuse. It’s giving up responsibility to a force that is out of their control! Maybe a professional takes 100% responsibility for his/her mindset and skills . . . NOTHING TO CHANCE. Just like the acrobat risking his or her life in a show! Could it be that by giving some of that possibility to luck, we are setting ourselves up to fail because we are not putting in the necessary work to succeed at a 100% level?
LUCK AS A POKER PLAYER??
There’s a guy who lives in my building in Vegas named Andrew Robl (You can google him). Andrew and his girlfriend, Cristal have been Platinum Partners with Tony Robbins (Costs $60,000 plus travel expenses). They are both their 20’s. Cristal is known as the “Ladies Coach” and Andrew is a professional poker player. I talk to them at least once a week in the reception area of our building. Andrew has made over $3 million playing poker. I’m going to read an article that was written about him recently offering his tips for success in a game that many would attribute to “luck”:
Robl worked his way up the ranks in poker at a young age, and now plays in some of the largest games in the world, whether that be cash games or tournaments. Robl boasts a career live tournament record of nearly $3.5 million earnings, having most recently scored the first major win of his career at the 2013 Aussie Millions where he took down the AU$100,000 Challenge for AU$1,000,000. The second and third largest scores of Robl’s live career came in World Poker Tour events. At the 2012 WPT World Championship, Robl took second place for $822,375. In 2010, he finished runner-up to Antonio Esfandiari in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $549,003.
In this article, Robl took the time to discuss what makes a great poker player, outlining six key characteristics:
First off, I’d like to say that I don’t think I’m a great poker player. I have been outplayed thousands of times, and some of my opponents constantly outplay me. I tilt, play in bad games, gamble too much, drink too much, and make countless other bad decisions, but I am blessed to know some great poker players. Here are traits they all share.
This is by far the most important attribute in becoming a great poker player. It is impossible to become a great poker player without putting in thousands of hours at the table and seeing millions of hands. Due to the nature of online poker, with the ability to play hundreds of hands an hour, it’s possible to get experience faster than ever before. You have to play at least 10,000 hours of poker before you have a shot at becoming a great player. The best way to get started is by downloading an online poker room, and playing small stakes.
At the highest levels, everyone’s experience level and knowledge of the game will be near equal. Whoever can adjust to an opponent faster and out-guess what adjustments the opponents are making will come out on top. This is sometimes referred to as “leveling.”
Desire and Willingness to Learn
No matter how much you play, you will not improve unless you actively think about what your opponents are doing. Beyond this, you also need to seek other poker strategies from players better than you are. This can be done several ways through books, training videos, one-on-one coaching or discussing hands with friends. You may also want to check out the PokerNews strategy pages.
Ability to Control Emotions
In poker, it is always important to have a logical, analytical reason for what you are doing. Our emotions are not equipped to deal with probability and randomness, which are two defining elements of poker. The ability to control your emotions in order to make the correct logical play time after time is one of the hardest things to do in poker.
Social and Networking Skills
Having a strong poker network is key to becoming a great poker player, as referenced above in the desire and willingness to learn. It will allow you to get into the best games and allow you to make friends with the strongest players who can help you further improve. You can begin the process by liking PokerNews on Facebook, and keeping an eye out for tips and tricks.
Having a “Sick” Amount of Gamble
To be a truly great player, you have to have a lot of gamble in you. You have to be willing to take on players better than you at stakes higher than you’re used to. At some point, it is the only way to improve. But be warned, it’s also a good way to go broke.
A MESSAGE FROM ERIC WORRE
I sent a private text message to Eric Worre:
“Do you believe it takes ‘luck’ to be a top poker player?”
“No. Extremely high skill game. Top Players always win”
SO IT’S UP TO YOU!
So my beliefs were challenged and in a matter of seconds, I saw that my philosophy around luck may be limiting my growth potential. How many people are waiting around for their declared luck to “kick in”? In fact, I would venture to guess that some people are using the “I am just unlucky” card as a get out of jail free opportunity rather than taking 100% responsibility for their success or failure. Almas could die or be seriously injured if he depended on luck to get him through each show. It’s almost comical to consider luck as a variable in a life or death situation like this one. Can you see how luck can be a differentiator when it comes to a professional vs an amateur? Amateurs depend on luck. Professionals depend on focus and skill!