The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman
Release date: 30th November, 2004
Publisher: Arrow Books
Our Price: £5.59
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The Luck Factor
By Richard Wiseman
Professor Richard Wiseman, who gained his doctorate in psychology from the University of Edinburgh, is perhaps the only man in the country paid to research the effects of luck and deception. They're two fascinating subjects, especially for poker players, so it's little wonder that his book, The Luck Factor, an obscure academic title when first published in 2004, has suddenly become the hottest publication of the year for students of the game.
In it, Prof Wiseman explores the minds of lucky and unlucky people and concludes that there are several principles involved with turning bad luck into good, a topic close to the hearts of any poker player who has ever experienced a bad beat.
Before The Luck Factor, Professor Wiseman wrote a paper regarding the psychology of luck in which he explored chance opportunities.
Lucky people, he declared, consistently encountered such opportunities, whereas unlucky people did not and he illustrated this by describing a simple experiment he conducted to establish whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities.
Wiseman gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper and asked them to browse through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky group took about two minutes to count the photographs, while the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message "Stop counting - There are 43 photographs in this newspaper." This message took up half a page and was written in letters over two inches high. It stared everyone in the face, but the unlucky group tended to miss it, whereas the lucky ones tended to spot it.
Following this revelation, Wiseman concluded that unlucky people are likely to be more tense and anxious, supporting additional research which showed that anxiety disrupts an individual's ability to notice the unexpected. The implications of this for even casual poker players are potentially enormous.
So how do you get lucky? It's nothing to do with calling an insurance company for a quote on your car and without spoiling his book for would-be readers (see below for details), Professor Wiseman suggested there are several factors that differentiate the lucky from the unlucky.
First, lucky types are convinced that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling and help them continue in the face of failure. If you imagine the board contains the cards you need, it is quite amazing how frequently it does.
Second, lucky people are more skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, not least by being relaxed before taking action. Chances are that if you're laid back, your decision making at the poker table will be better than if you're tense.
Luckier types also make effective decisions by going with their gut feelings. Furthermore, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by clearing their mind of other thoughts. Finally, lucky people employ techniques to cope with and often thrive upon, any ill fortune that comes their way. They imagine how things could have been worse and tend not to dwell on bad luck. In short, they think lucky, a clever thought for anyone sitting down at a poker table to have.
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