Patience, A Forgotten Virtue

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The tale of Cheteshwar Pujara’s formidable run that helped India beat Australia in the four match series.

Instant gratification is the drug of the generation. Hungry? Instant junk meals at your doorstep; gaining weight? Go on a convenient fad diet; new clothes? Fast fashion; test cricket? haha bring in IPL. This fad has the modern world wired!

Indian international cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara, however, proved resistant to such fads. His knock in the first innings of the India Australia test series was a gentle reminder that patience is rewarding. In an era where cricket players are under the limelight for the fastest 50, it was Pujara, the batsman with no IPL contract who placed the highest price on his wicket!

Pujara was in no hurry to entertain the viewers with fast is the new cool. He stuck his ground and faced the Australian bowlers in the scorching heat. He wasn’t tempted to drive every ball that came his way; he waited for balls to come to his preferred areas before engaging. Pujara went onto to score the first century for the series and added a much need 123 runs to crumbling Indian lineup earning himself the man of the match. Unfortunately his innings was brought to an end by a run out from Pat Cummins.

Pujara’s journey into the test cricket team wasn’t an easy one. He was dropped for the first test in England after a poor spell in South Africa but regained his place after one game. Patience and perseverance is Pujara’s claim to success.

Patience goes a long way in any sport and poker is no exception to it. It is a virtue that affects every aspect of your game in the most discreet manner and yet one wonders what was responsible for their loss. Ranging from the choice of the starting hands played to even the basic decision of whether to play or not, the inability to wait is sabotaging most poker players dreams.

Similar to cricket, poker has its share of variants in the fastrack lane from multi-tabling to turbo tournaments to the latest, Rush Poker. Well, these are just quick fixes to keep a player engaged and take their mind off the inevitable boredom that comes with playing a selective game.

Poker sessions can turn into a monotonous monster of folding, wading through the average cards, missed flops and poor positions to hit the opportune moment of victory. Despite being aware of this cardinal rule why do players find it hard to wait?

At the core of the skilled poker play is the ability to say NO.  Similar to Pujara’s knock of not playing every ball and being able to resist the temptation of playing all balls. A winning poker player must get out of ‘I just want to see a flop call’ or playing when tired or on tilt. The ability to say NO is a powerful skill in any sport.

Temptation to play too many hands seems the most obvious impatience to dilute one’s game. However, impatience has other forms of manifestation; including playing when one shouldn’t be going anywhere near a poker table due to fatigue, mental stress because of a tilt or just being sick. But we go ahead and play anyway, for no other reason than we don’t want to wait. The need of the hour is to play now than to play well

The other great factor is the infamous ‘gut instinct’. Poker players prefer going with their first impulse rather than doing all the mental homework. When making these borderline decisions on the table, it helps to be patient and take a moment before committing to an action. While there are success stories of great poker players who earned their fame by trusting their gut instinct, it’s also true that only a few can even begin to aspire to play that level of poker.

Well it’s no wonder tales like the hare and the tortoise were made an inevitable part of our childhood.  Moral of this story: You’d rather play well than play now.

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