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From the Big Screen to the Final Table: Dazed and Confused

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Modern cinema is a great tool for teaching players how to learn the game because it crosses cultural barriers in a way that few teaching elements can. All one needs to do is listen to the advice that can be found in the lines of a variety of films and then remember their relationship to playing poker. Now, this doesn’t mean you can repeatedly use a line from Goodfellas in conversation while playing, but it does mean you should keep in mind the concepts that go with the line.

The film Dazed and Confused offers a number of pearls of wisdom thanks to writer-director Richard Linklater's witty and insightful dialogue, but few stand out like this quote shown below from the pot smoking, former high school football hero Wooderson, played brilliantly by Matthew McConaughey. While talking to the movie's main character, Randall Floyd, played by (Jason London), Wooderson gives the young buck the heads-up on how society can keep people from pursuing their dreams. For many budding poker players that are coming of age, this quote typfies the fight they face as people try to understand why they would want to pursue a poker career.

"Man, it's the same bullshit they tried to pull in my day. If it ain't that piece of paper, there's some other choice they're gonna try and make for you. You gotta do what Randall Pink Floyd wants to do man. Let me tell you this, the older you do get, the more rules they're gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N."

If it is your dream, then go for it.

Although the odds are not in everyone's favor, today's younger generation of players are capable of becoming winning players thanks to the wealth of poker information available and their ability to see ridiculous numbers of hands. In other words, players learn tactics and skills that used to take years of play to master and because of this, they can adapt to the game better than players of the past. This doesn't mean that every poker player is going to be the next superstar, but there is certainly enough information out there so that players can figure out what it takes to turn a tidy profit. In the end, only you will know if you have what it takes to be a winner, so if you have the skills, have faith that you are doing the right thing.

Sometimes you have to trust yourself despite what others may think.

Being a professional poker player has plenty of negative stereotypes attached to it, but most are untrue. Many successful players fall far from the degenerate image, leading lives steeped in discipline and self-respect. Although those around you may have misconceptions about your future career, you should be confident that playing poker for a living is exactly that. You are working a job like everyone else and it has nothing to do with your moral fiber. Try not to be concerned with what haters have to say because most of the time they have no clue what they are talking about. Some of the most kind and respectful people in the world are poker players.

The proof is in the pudding.

In the end, poker players are a specific breed of competitors who are cunning, ruthless and merciless when it comes to stealing an opponent's stack, however for the majority of industry professionals, this persona does not transcend to their personal lives. Sure there are negative stories out there because not everyone is a nice person, but professional poker players have proven to be a generous lot, so it really is up to you how you choose to act. If you are a good person, this more than likely means that you won't become a jerk because you play poker for a living as long as you stay grounded in things such as friends and family. Keep your priorities straight and your head screwed on right and you will be okay.

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