The statement above certainly applies to both poker and life. I will explain further, but remember things go in your favor only if you prepare yourself properly. In poker tournaments you need to still be in it to have a chance to win it. In a cash game you need to avoid going broke in order to make a profit. In life it is usually the people that work the hardest that are the ones most likely to "get lucky." To be successful there is one more ingredient in both poker and life. You need to work hard and you need to use a lot of common sense. This means you must work smart, not just hard.
Let's give you an example from a poker tournament. In tournaments the blind and ante structure keeps getting raised at regular intervals. It might happen as little as every 15 or 20 minutes or, in the case of the World Series of Poker main event, it might be two hours. Most tournaments fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. If you risk all of your chips too early when the limits are smaller, as are the size of the pots, it could be your downfall. If you wait too long when the blinds and ante's are very high, you might be forced to play a weak hand and go broke as a result. You need to look for the right opportunity before either of these things can happen. That is where playing smart and using good judgment comes into play. That is the skill part of the game. There is also a luck factor, so sometimes you get no cards, or lose with good cards. You just can't seem to find the right opportunity. If that is the case, you need to take a chance at some point in order to survive. If you survive you have a chance to get a good run of cards --- that is when you can have a chance to get lucky--because you are still in it. I have never cruised to victory in any tournament I ever played in. I always came back from a short stack at some point, when it looked almost hopeless. I never gave up and stayed as patient as I could for as long as I could.
In life, people that build a successful business almost never start out successful. They make mistakes, they learn from them, and move on. They look for the right product to sell and the right people to hire. You are always going to need help from others to move forward. Nobody succeeds all by themselves. It is getting the right help when you need it from the right source that makes the difference. Your success or failure depends on these factors. Sometimes you need to be a little lucky to come up with the best idea, or the best person to help you.
In the end it is proper preparation and the willingness to risk failure and keep trying to succeed that make the difference. Look at Thomas Edison. He failed thousands of times to make the light bulb work. Mr. Edison eventually succeeded because he did not give up, or quit trying because of a failure. Neither should you in both life and poker.
- Tom McEvoy Poker Samadhi Guru, Four-Time World Series of Poker Champion, Poker Hall of Fame Member