James Cameron's 3-D epic Avatar has stormed the box offices around the globe, generating over $1 billion in ticket sales in several weeks since its release. One reason for the movie's success is the well-written script, which offers plenty of nuggets of wisdom that are especially applicable to poker players.
The quote shown below takes place during the head bad guy's (Col. Quartrich) pep talk to soldiers arriving on Pandora (home of the good guys). Played convincingly by Stephen Lang, Quartrich vehemently lets the incoming soldiers know they are heading into a battle zone and that they need to be prepared to fight for their lives against the unknown. This is similar to the battle poker players face with every unknown new hand.
"You are not in Kansas anymore. You are on Pandora, ladies and gentleman." - Col. Quartrich
Expect the Unexpected
Thanks to the element of variance or luck, as some say, poker can be an unpredictable beast that can have you swinging from the top of the chip counts to doing the walk of shame after busting in a matter of moments.
In other words, you never know what is going to happen until the final card is dealt, so all you can do is play the cards you are dealt and hope things go your way. This is the nature of gambling and you have to understand this concept if you want to be successful over the long run.
Be Prepared for Battle
Although players may come to the table with equal stacks, those who have a game plan usually finish high atop the chip counts. This doesn't mean you have to script every hand, but it does mean you have to come prepared to focus on every given situation, so you can pick off weaker players who are less familiar with the strategic concepts of the game such as playing "Small Ball" early so you that you can hit a wider variety of hands and build your stack without risking too many chips. In other words, like all good generals, you need to have a plan of attack that will send your opponents to the rail.
Play One Hand at a Time
It is easy to get caught up with emotions during a tournament, but to be a successful player, one has to learn how to keep from falling victim to their egos. Although nasty things can happen, like having aces cracked, that doesn't mean you should tilt off your remaining chips out of frustration. Winning players take these hits in stride and rebound at the next available opportunity, unlike less experienced players who can't handle the swings of the game. As long as you have a chip and a chair, you are still in the hunt, so don't shoot yourself in the foot by letting your emotions control your play.