One of my all-time favorite movies is Rounders, starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton.
In the movie, Norton plays a professional poker player named “Worm” (that’s his nickname). Damon’s character, “Mike” is also a professional poker player who is friends with Worm.
Worm’s problem is, basically, that he’s a cheater and uses various “card mechanics” to stack the deck and cheat at poker. This is fine in “home games” but these dudes are playing for real money… some of their opponents are in the Russian mafia, so… not people you want to eff with.
Mike plays things “straight up” and is an exceptional poker player who doesn’t need to use tricks or gimmicks to win. He’s just plain good at what he does.
Worm is… not as good. He cheats, makes a lot of high risk moves, but… he doesn’t see what he does as risky. Mike does. There’s a point in the movie where Mike is, in a sense, lecturing his friend Worm about his card mechanic tricks… telling him that one day it’s going to catch up with him.
Worm, of course, refuses to listen and keeps on keeping on.
It’s not that Worm doesn’t win hands or entire games. He does. He wins a lot of money, but he also takes exceptional risks in the process. Occasionally, he gets caught, and it completely wipes him out. But… he refuses to learn any kind of lesson from his failures or the risks he takes. He could be a great “straight up” player, but he choses not to be.
I won’t ruin the ending or the plot (which is fabulous by the way), but I will say this: that movie contains numerous examples of how to think about and judge the risks you take in life.
For example, one theme in the movie is “always leave yourself an out.”
Anyway, something to ponder or… ignore, like Worm.
It’s up to you.
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