Shirley Rosario
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Michael Jordan on "Playing Poker"

by Shirley Rosario

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Poker QuotesMichael Jordan is perhaps the best person to ever play the game of basketball. His career highlights are so great I could devote a whole website to them. He won three consecutive championships, retired, came back to the game and won another three consecutive championships. He was the NBA's Most Valuable Player five times, the NBA's Finals MVP six times and he was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history.

Only Michael Jordan can fully understand how he transformed himself into the player he is, but we can understand a little by observing, listening and reading about him. When searching the web for information on Michael, I thought I might be able to apply some of the traits he used in basketball to my poker game. I have listed a handful below. Maybe you will find them as useful as I do...

"I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win."

"I've always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don't do things half-heartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results."

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

"If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."

"My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength."

"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen."

"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them."

"I realized that if I was going to achieve anything in life I had to be aggressive. I had to get out there and go for it... I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it's an illusion to me."

"If it turns out that my best wasn't good enough, at least I won't look back and say that I was afraid to try; failure makes me work even harder."

"It doesn't matter if you win as long as you give everything in your heart."

"There is only one person who can define success in your life -- and that's you."

"Heart is what separates the good from the great."

"When I step onto the court, I'm ready to play. If you're going up against me, you'd better be ready. If you're not going to compete, I will dominate you."

The last one is my favorite. Every time Michael stepped onto the basketball court, he gave 100%. He was willing to do the work before he got to the game and was willing to do the work once he got there. If he needed to adjust his strategy halfway through the game, he did so. If he needed to step his game up to win, he did this too. He loved the game of basketball and played to win. There was no settling for second best.

There is so much information available to us about the game of poker. We can read poker books, attend seminars, and/or scour the web for articles or websites of great players. We can also look at players who succeed in other competitive games and apply it to our own game. If we do the latter, who better to listen to than the best?