As some of the regular readers here know, I play poker every week with friends. While I used to play in games where the stakes were a little higher, this game is very low stakes: 10 cent ante, 10 cent bets without a pair present, twenty cents with a pair or better on the board, limit 3 raises. Even with ten people at the table and maximum raises, the pot can't get over $36.00, and is usually much less.
Some people (even some of the people I play with) think poker is mostly luck. It definitely is not. In fact, whether you are playing traditional five card draw or any of the wild card games we play, winning at poker consistently requires concentration and skill. There's a lot involved, from the psychology and current mental state of the other players and your own self, odds, pot odds, expected value - luck may get you a good hand now and then, but luck alone won't send you home a winner.
I usually go home a winner. Not always, of course, but most of the time I go home with an extra ten or twenty dollars. When I do lose money, it can be partially due to bad luck, but mostly it will be from bad playing.
Poker players hate to admit that. You'll hear them say "I had a run of bad cards". Fair enough, that happens, but a run of bad cards really shouldn't cost you more than your ante. If you play fifty hands a night with a ten cent ante and you really did have a terrible run of bad cards, you shouldn't lose much more than $5.00. Any more than that usually comes from bad play.
Well, there is the "second best" argument. That's when you get "good" cards all night, but they just aren't good enough. You get dealt four kings, the other guy gets four aces. Yeah, that happens, and it can cause even the best players to lose money, but it's extremely rare to have a lot of those hands in a night. After all the excuses, the thing that really causes most losses is bad play.
As I said above, I do lose now and then. Here's the funny thing: I usually know before I even sit down if I'm going to have a losing night. If I'm tired or distracted, I'm likely to lose. If I have at least some of my wits left, I'll play very carefully and conservatively to limit my losses under those conditions, but that's about the best I can do - if my brain isn't functioning well, I play lousy poker.
So what am I getting at here? Business is very much like poker. You have complex decisions to make. Like poker, those decisions are often based on probabilities, statistics and psychology. If you want to win, you have to be a good player, and you can't be a good player if you are tired.
Too many people today don't get enough sleep. Most probably don't think that affects them very much. If they do realize that it does impair them, they probably just try to "limit their losses" much as I do when playing poker. That's fine if you are only tired now and then, but if you are always tired (even if you don't realize it), you will not be a "winner".
Sleep is important. Be a winner - get some rest!
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