Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | April 18, 2010

Perhaps My Luck is Changing…

…for the better.

I played poker tonight, and just got home about an hour ago. Some neighbors of ours organize a monthly tournament, and I’ve been playing for a few years. Penny actually played there once or twice, as well (and finished in the money), but there’s been an odd vibe coming from Mrs. Hostess regarding our kids, and a rift has definitely formed between Mrs. Hostess and Penny.

As a result, I’ve often felt a little weird going over there lately. However, I have many good friends there, including some who are helping me in my job search, and this has been as much a good networking opportunity as a time to relax and play cards. Mr. Host has always made me feel welcome, and I still can’t figure out what is going on with Mrs. Hostess and her issues with our kids (and/or Penny).

For the first time in about a year, I finished in the money tonight (er… last night? Saturday night.) In a tournament, you buy in with $20, and when you run out of chips, you’re done for the night. The last few people remaining in the game split the pool of cash; the more people in the tournament, the more money in the pool, and the more potential winners. Tonight, the last five seats finished in the money (this is an unusually large turn-out — twenty-eight players, total).

Not only did I finish in the money… for the first time ever at this tournament, I was the last man standing. Big prize pay out. It’s always fun to play, but as I’m sure you can imagine, it’s even more fun when you win.

I was focused. I kept my eyes on the prize.

A good friend of mine (who is a professional poker player) once told me that you can’t win a tournament in the first hour… but you can lose it. So, the name of the game at first is just to hang on. But as you get further in, the game changes. You need to be willing to take more risks, because it’s not enough to outlast your opponents — sometimes, you have to knock them out. The game becomes more volatile, and you can be put all in against your wishes, and you have to know how to navigate rapid turns.

Skill is a factor. Keeping your wits is a factor. And so is luck. I’ve actually played better this year, in general, than my first year at the tournament, but even though the odds have favored my current style of play, I’ve busted out “on the bubble” (ie, just before getting to the winners circle) several times due to simple luck of the draw.

But luck, as you’ve heard before, favors the prepared. I held on many times and luck didn’t go my way. Tonight, luck did go my way. So much so that my winnings tonight more than pay off my entry fees for the entire year. Now I get a chance to enjoy it for a day or two, and keep the cash tucked away for a rainy day. All well and good.

I didn’t intend tonight to tell you about a poker game, however. That’s not what’s on my mind.

What’s on my mind is this: I think I’m starting to pull myself together. I think I’m ever-so-slowly but surely starting to ready myself for better things. To welcome better things in my life. And, well… landing a decent temporary job and keeping Penny’s and my negotiations for divorce amicable feel like good steps in the right direction. I have something to look forward to, as well, in the form of an upcoming trip to my college reunion and my hometown, where I have friends whom I’m looking forward to seeing (and who seem to be genuinely anticipating seeing me, as well.)

I know that the divorce and starting my new life isn’t in the proverbial bag. There’s still a lot of work to do. There’s still a lot of upset and fear and disappointment and unhappiness to work through. I know this. But.

But. But. But.

I’ve been unlucky in cards and unlucky in love for so long now, yet I haven’t given up. In fact, I’ve become re-dedicated to changing my luck. To get better. And I’m getting better. Tonight, at least, I have reason to believe that my hope is well founded. I can be lucky in cards.

Maybe, before too long, I can be lucky in love, as well.



  1. You WILL get there, my friend. Sometimes it takes longer than we think or would want, but if we persevere and do what whe need to do, it will get better.

  2. As I was reading about the poker I was thinking how much like the early stages of dating that really is. How if you’ve got the wrong attitude you can fall at the first hurdle. How the first 3 months or so are just about hanging in there – seeing if you like each other at all. And then comes the hard part, where you have to navigate lots of twists and turns, and no matter how well you play the game, you can never account for luck. But sometimes everything just plays in your favour (which is what we all hope for, of course!). That made me feel really excited to get back in the game, so thanks for the inspiration! And yes, I believe it – you will be lucky in love one day soon!

  3. That “turn around” moment catches you kind of by surprise, doesn’t it? It’s a good feeling. Here’s to getting that feeling more often.

    And I like what capclassique said, about dating being like poker. I’m going to keep that in mind, and try looking at it from that point of view.

  4. God works in mysterious ways – such as your winnings last night at poker. Very cool. It’s slowing turning and will keep turning for you, and you seem to have the patience and your head on straight to keep the turning going. Keep it up my friend!

  5. I think “lucky in love” is the last thing you will ever need to worry about. Men like you are rare, and smart women will be drawn to you. All you have to do is be yourself; no luck required.

    As for the “but, but, but”….Try changing that to “and, and, and”… It’s a different mindset, as I’m sure you know.

    I agree with jolene1079, that God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes people show up in your life, exactly when you need them, not a moment too soon or too late, and instantly, your faith in yourself is renewed and restored! Yeah…it happens.

    Question: do any of these poker friends know that you and Penny are working on a divorce?

  6. That’s great. Sometimes it feels good to win one, doesn’t it? Poker is a great metaphor for life, because it’s a skill game but also a lot of luck is involved. You work the percentages.

    When I play tennis, I tell myself: put yourself in a position to get lucky. It sounds like that’s exactly what you did in your tournament. Congrats!

  7. Good to hear that things are going well. It is a nice feeling to have “hope” and a sense of moving forward.

  8. You’ve been unlucky in love because you were playing the same hand. Once you’re “available” again, you won’t be unlucky anymore. You’re a good catch and don’t let Penny’s obliviousness to that convince you otherwise. Dating is hard but it is absolutely like poker. Or real estate shopping, as I discovered last week.

    As for Mrs Host, it’s likely that Mr Host is telling her your side of the story. But don’t let it concern you too much. Women have all kinds of insane reasons for animosity towards each other and there is little you can do to influence that. She probably didn’t like Penny to begin with and now she can justify her feelings.

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