Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mr. Lucky

It's poker night and I finally have a good hand after an hour of crap. I bet, my friend Scott calls, and when we turn over our hands he has once again pulled the exact card he needed on the last deal to win the hand.

You might say, “maybe you just suck at poker” and I wouldn’t argue much. Maybe I do. But poker is part skill and part luck. My skills have improved over the years but my luck hasn’t.

So what is luck? I’ve been pondering this for years and cannot come up with a definite answer. Some people say its just random chance and there is no way to quantify or define it. But there are some people who never win at a game of chance while others win repeatedly, so how is that random?

Years ago when I was married we worked for the same company which had a Christmas party every year. During the night they pulled employee names for door prizes. We went to this party 6 years and in 5 out of the 6 her name was pulled for a prize. Me? The 1 year she wasn’t. In percentages that’s 83% to 16%. Does that sound random? We could add in the TV and $50 cash she won in drawings that my name wasn’t pulled either. That puts her at 87% and me at 12.5%. Random? I don’t think so.

So what makes some people lucky and others not? Is there a force in the universe that is attracted to some and repulsed by others? Can you really be “born under a bad sign” as Albert King sang? What about the God factor? Could some people just be more blessed than others without explanation? Certainly that’s possible, but I really can’t see God caring about who wins the majority of 60 hands of poker in a night. So how does Scott end up the big winner 90% of the time?

Some think it’s the power of positive thinking that brings success. While I believe it’s healthier to think positively than negatively, it can’t explain “luck”. By this logic if a million people bought a lottery ticket and they all thought positive thoughts they would all win, which is impossible.

So can we say luck is a combination of random chance, positive thinking, and blessings from a higher power? That doesn’t feel right either. Maybe luck really is unexplainable and that just pisses me off more. There are a lot of things I can handle not understanding, like quantum physics, but not comprehending “luck” bothers me. Much like the career of Charlie Sheen, it feels like you should be able to explain it, but you can’t.

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