Beginners Luck- What it Really means


Beginner’s luck is often a mystifying phenomenon. Is it a cosmic apostle motivating us in the direction of our destiny? Is it an unfamiliarity that forces us to channelize all our cognitive faculties towards a super-optimal performance? Or is something else?

While the existence of the seemingly unnatural phenomenon cannot be confirmed, in the game of Poker is it almost markedly pronounced. I recollect an instance of my fellow colleague at work and his rendezvous with an oft-experienced pattern at the Bellagio Casino at Las Vegas.

Like most Poker Players he considers himself smarter than the average human. And hopes and believes that his opponents on the table are represenattive of the regular demography of this human population. He does not always take his chances at the Roulette tables and the likes. A firm believer of skill, he tries his hand at the small buy-in poker table at the casino. Within an hour, he is sitting on 20 times his buy-in. ‘Woah! The Average American is dumber than the Average human’!   I could hazard a bigger table just tonight. His buy-in multiples again. And so on the repertoire plays like music in his ringing pocket for the next two nights till he gets washed out of both his earnings and investment on the third.

Was it beginners’ luck at play on the first two nights? Did the casino owners orchestrate his winnings enticing him to the bigger tables till the sharks could eat him? Did he get too greedy? Was Gambler’s fallacy at play when he became too careless with his winnings? What really was it?

The explanation is often simpler than these cosmic imaginations and conspiracies. The answer simply lies in unfamiliarity. The regulars at the casino were not acquainted with his style of play. It took them two days and some minimal winnings to figure that out. And as they did, he became vulnerable to their strokes because he hadn’t worried about figuring the dumb americans out.

Poker is often about understanding the person at the other side of the table as much as it is about understanding your own probabilities and chances. It all boils down to catching the other person’s bluff. And with a new player it is often difficult to catch his tells. And hence, many times, he can be LUCKY.

– Madame PB


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