Poker as Microcosm of Life

By editor on February 20, 2018 — 1 min read

It is a microcosm of life. You get a starting hand, sometimes it’s fantastic, and sometimes it’s not so fantastic. You have to make adjustments along the way, at some point you have to take some fundamental risk, and you either win or you lose.

For me, that is an outlet for just reminding myself how lucky I’ve been.

I really did end up on the right side of the ledger. Despite some turbulence in how I grew up, I got exceptionally lucky and now some things turned out for me. I could have gone to some other company. Instead, I went to work for Facebook, as an example.

Poker is just a very good clarifying function for just how probabilistic life is, and sometimes you can be on the right side or the wrong side. That’s the first thing.

Second thing is, you will think that you have the absolute best of it and you will lose. And sometimes you can lose a small amount of money and, at this point, the way that I play poker, you can lose large amounts of money. And why is that important? Well for me it just basically divorces an emotional relationship that I had early on with money because I grew up so poor. And that allows me to just have a very practical view about what money is, which is just an instrument of change. It’s a lubricant; it allows me to accelerate my worldview. I can make it, I can lose it, and I’m functionally the same person, and my values don’t change.

So that’s why I play poker. (1:55)

Posted in: Poker

Editor's Note

These are Chamath Palihapitiya's words. They are probably some of the best thoughts on VC, business, and life, but were scattered around the Internet. They live now in this archive.