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Comfort Levels

Plan to advance, but do so thoughtfully

by John Vorhaus |  Published: Feb 19, 2010

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People play poker for the money. It’s more than a way of keeping score. It’s the thing that gives the game meaning. The trouble is, we build up a tolerance to money. Around the kitchen table of our youth, we could lose 65¢ in a poker game and feel like the world had come to an end. Now, we can endure swings of hundreds of dollars or more without flinching. We’ve become more comfortable, over time, with playing for higher stakes. There’s a problem with this, of course: If we become too comfortable with the level of the stakes we’re playing, we stop caring. What does it matter how much we drop in a game if the stakes are so low as to be insignificant? And if there’s no monetary incentive to play well … well, we probably won’t. The trick, then, is finding the right money level for your ...


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