Norman Chad: What I’ve learned from poker

From the challenges facing poker to why you should always listen to cynical hacks, he leaves squadoosh behind. Over to you, Norm.

…The two biggest things I’ve learned from poker are discipline at the tables and a strength of character. You have to learn how to win and lose with grace. If you don’t act differently, then you’ve got a lot of character.
…I know dozens of good winners, but the guys I like, such as a Phil Hellmuth or Mike Matusow, when they’re losing at the table they’re not pleasant people. You’d think they hadn’t played poker more than a week ago. You have to learn that once in a while the fi sh swallows the fi sherman.
…Poker players are an odd animal. They don’t have healthcare plans, they don’t have pensions – they’re not the smartest when it comes to money. But the ones that are really good are very smart. The late Chip Reese was a great manager of his money, and he had great discipline and character at the table.
…Beside the skill of maths and instincts in poker it’s good to be a people person, to get along with other people and to study them. You have to understand that the game comes in cycles and you need to keep an even keel.
…The best advice I’ve ever been given has nothing to do with poker. I was working on a newspaper, laying out the next day’s page. The guy who wrote the outdoors column came up to me one day when I was holding a ruler and a picture wheel and said, ‘If you show them that you can use tools, they will never let you do anything else. Put those down and get out of here.’ He was right. I wouldn’t be here without him.
…Poker always had a stain. In the past, you were just a ‘gambler’. But I know people on Wall Street who are gambling with families’ lives. Poker is a multi-skill game like chess. People shouldn’t thumb their noses at it. It’ll take more than just a generation for the stain to get removed.
…If I’d become a poker pro, my father would have hung me upside down by my ankles. When I told my parents I talk about poker on TV they said, ‘Thank God we didn’t send you to Harvard or Yale. You have a college degree and you make a living by talking, who’s going to watch that?’ I don’t know who’s going to watch it dad, but they’re paying me!
…You need to be well-rounded to survive in poker. You can hone your skills and grind online every day. But if you don’t have a life, it’s going to hurt you in the long-run. You should have an education, a family and other aspirations. People say poker is a tough way to make an easy living. Not anymore. It’s a tough way to make a hard living. Have a back-up plan.
…Before the poker boom, cards were my favourite form of recreation. Now I dip a toe in every now and again. Too much and something’s wrong, you have a skewed view of the world. I’m glad I got into poker, but I’m glad I keep it at a safe distance.
…I used to claim that Soviet troops could roll into Chicago in the middle of the World Series, but as long as it doesn’t affect the big blind, players will move on.
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