The Art of Poker… (Whilt 8)

Poker is more than a game. Poker is the style of life, in fact poker is probably one of the most adequate metaphors of life in general, and the contemporary life in particular. It’s quick,  mystifying, it takes a lot  of  courage and sophisticated intelligence, and it’s a chase of Fortune (think: money, think: the Fate)  much  more than the noble chess has ever been.  In this  sense poker  is the modern dice – God plays poker, and the cards have been thrown

Beginning as a typically casino game played (by all sorts of gangsters and crooks) in a dim light and in a midst of cigars smoke in America,  it quickly spread to the ‘intelligentsia’ nightclubs and cafes of Europe. From 1997 poker began to be available online rocketing to a hugely popular entertainment and a way of making living. It’s  becoming, right before  our eyes  –  the symbol- game of the new,  21st century… The game of maths graduates/students and logicians, the game of the rebellious, brilliant kids, the game of strong-minded ladies  and girls, the game of middle-age crisis, the game for  everyone, virtually (yet, tough sort of intelligence is necessary – feeble, neurotic, small-minded individuals got eaten first)… Yesterday, checking only one of the more popular online ‘house’-pages one could see around 20,000 tables with  not less than 200,000 players from around the world competing in hundreds of various tournaments. And these numbers tend to be rising….

Art of poker is the art of gambling  with the invisible  and unpredictable; it’s the art of making it to work for you. And the most fascinating aspect of it is, what the best players have constantly on minds – in poker you don’t play cards, you play people, you play their minds, their personalities, their weaknesses and talents… If you are a winning player, you consider others first… what they may have on their hands, what they are likely to do with that; decisions (usually flash-like) what your particular hand (cards) is worth comes only after that recognition.

Art of poker lays also in your ability to change your strategies, your ‘poker faces’ many times during one ‘table’ (one game) – turning quickly and believably from the ‘aggressive’ to ‘quiet’ player, from the ‘bluffer’ to the ‘rock’ (a kind of a steady, timid one) … to become predictable and readable for others is to commit poker-suicide. Poker is a protean, liminal game and it works best for the protean personalities, for the modern ‘coyotes’ and all sorts of ‘tricksters’ who adopt this fascinating ancient role to perform little and big miracles of making the struck of fortune (bad and good) to submit to their intelligence, playfulness and bravery. Perhaps not by an accident Hermes – the ancient ‘trickster’ and a messenger of gods  – “of many shifts (polytropos), blandly cunning, a robber, a cattle driver, a bringer of dreams, a watcher by night, a thief at the gates, one who was soon to show forth wonderful deeds among the deathless gods.” (Homer) was also the poets and artists’ mentor… Art game is the one of poker – a bringer of dreams and a thief at the gates – it’s a continuous, skillful balancing between and bridging of many possible worlds – the one of possibility/dream and the one of actually existing/reality, of logic and pure chance, of the highest nobility and sophistication and the smart cunningness, the self versus the others…

And now…let me play…

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About kasia

Born in Poland. Lives in Ireland, Cork. Visual artist. View all posts by kasia

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