(15 May 2009)
I tend to overplay my hand.
I'm used to losing, you see, or at least being the underdog in any given situation. Of course, that's more related to my personality than any actual game being played, but that's really beside the point when perception is your reality. So when I am inadvertently dealt a decent card or two, I blow it.
It's not that I lack a poker face. I'm no pro, to be sure, but I know enough about body language and panic reactions to keep a cool head when I need to. My downfall is my confidence: I just don't know how to play my bets.
When I think I can win, I start strong. Compared to my normal demeanor, this creates suspicion. I rush the game, and by the time the river comes around my effort to draw a high pot has only resulted in everyone but the real players folding. Then underdog kicks in again: I doubt my abilities face with the prospect of 'true' talent, and either fold myself or brace for the inevitable double slap of luck and odds.
So it is in personal situations, too. I learned early that humility is a virtue, and though I had my days of experimenting with that notion (turns out Dad was right) I mostly keep my ideas and words to myself. Though not technically related, this personality trait is tied to my confidence.
The whole sour stew puts me at an automatic disadvantage when compared to others with more confidence, and less humility. Even when I have an answer or solution, the loudest person in the room is usually heard first, and when their idea inevitably fails, and my time has come around, I am criticized for holding my tongue too long. So it goes, but I've learned to live with it.
So when I find myself holding an ace, I'm set at unease. Unused to having any advantage, an awkward confidence sets in. The thing teeters like an amateur tightrope walker, and by the time I've figured out how to play my advantage, it's fallen and my opportunity to win is gone. I step before I know where I'm headed, and rush right into a hole.
But not this time.