Out of the Mouths of Professional Poker Players

I want to tell you about a brief exchange I overheard last night while playing $5-10 no-limit hold’em at the World Series of Poker. The player on my right was chatting with the masseuse who had just finished massaging him.

   MASSEUSE: “How is your session going?”

   PROFESSIONAL PLAYER:

Now, before I tell you what the player said that excited me enough to want to write about it, let me tell you a little about him and his ilk.

I had been playing with him for hours, watching him, and listening to his words. He was, based on my read, a professional poker player, classically trained in the ways of thinking and perceiving of things like time and money in that special way that only poker players do. To that mind, data is just data. To that mind, common concepts such as “winning” and “losing” are pointless judgments. To that mind, there is no profitable reason to think in those terms, so it doesn’t.

When the masseuse asked, “How is your session going?” the professional poker player paused in thought, and then, in a matter-of-fact tone, he replied, “Below average.”