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5 things about life I learned from playing poker

    1. Value and Probability

    In poker, you have to make decisions on every single hand. Most of the time these decisions are very hard. You have to figure out which hands to play (value), and which hands to bet (probability).

    2. Fear and Greed

    If you want to win in poker, you have to do things that scare you (fear) or things that make you feel greedy.

    3. Absurdity is your friend

    In poker, there are many situations where it seems absurd that a player would do what he is doing. And yet, many times these moves prove correct. This happens because people are irrational creatures and they act irrationally even when they are playing cards.

    4. Patience

    You can't win at poker if you don't wait for good hands. If you try to play bad hands then you will lose money quickly.

    5. Don't be attached to outcomes

    You can put all the work in the world into a decision but if the outcome doesn't go your way then it's not worth it. It's just a game so move on and make better decisions next time.

    6. You need good data - use all the information at your disposal - but also know when NOT TO USE IT ALL!

    Some players get obsessed with using statistics from past games played by similar players in similar situations as their current game situation. But sometimes its better just to use your gut instinct instead of being too data driven because there are always outliers in any data set and some situations will never repeat exactly again anyway (see point 5).

    7. The "magic" of compounding interest - or how I made my first million dollars with no real income

    When I was 21, I started playing online poker for real money (I had been playing for fake money since high school). I had about $100k in tournament chips ($10 buy-ins). Over the next few months, I played tournaments only during business hours so I could do research during non-business hours on my computer science homework which was due at 9 am the next day . My goal was simple - make my tournament chips double every month so that after five years i'd have more than a million dollars even though I wasn't making any money off of tournaments during those five years . Every month my tournament chips doubled and after five years I had $1M plus change despite not really having much income during those five years other than tournament buy-ins . This is called compounding interest and is one of the most powerful forces in our economy .
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