Creative Work Is a Poker Game

Photo by Marin Tulard on Unsplash

Pursuing creative work is a bit like buying in to a game of poker.

You don’t need to bet on a single hand to still slowly have your chips eaten away at as hand after hand you pay the minimum ante to stay in the game.

You can spend the whole game playing it safe, waiting for the perfect timing for your perfect hand only to have the opportunity fail to materialize.

Or, maybe it does…

You go all in, play the hand perfectly, and yet against all odds another player happens to have something even better.

You leave the game dejected, with the knowledge that even your best wasn’t enough to win.

Great creators, like great poker players, understand that sometimes you have to bluff your way through when it feels like you don’t have much to work with.

Sometimes you get caught out and are forced to admit that you were in over your head.

But sometimes you get away with it, and are emboldened to move forward with more confidence.

Great players know how to read the table, to sense weakness, and move to take what they can get. To see confidence and distinguish strength from bravado. To swim in the currents of emotion and timing and chance and opportunity.

They know that the game is about so much more than simply the cards you’re dealt.

They know that it’s hard to win without ever taking a risk or pushing your luck.

And that even when your luck eventually runs out (and it will), it’s not the end of the world.

You can always buy in again after all.

And unlike poker, the cost of buying back in to your next creative endeavour is measured not in money but in curiosity, hope, and an idea worth exploring.

Founder of podcast production and content amplification agency Counterweight Creative. Believer in the power of kindness and generosity.

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