Genuine tough guys stand out from the crowd.
You know the ones. They're not about the façade of acting like they're more than they are. Genuine tough guys are the real deal.
Paying Your Dues
The guys who can back up their image have paid their dues. They've put in the hours at the gym; their hands can make the speed bag sing and the heavy bag groan.
Their eyes say, "Don't mess with me." It's a confidence built on sweat and drive.
Gangster Style endeavors also require competence. This means training and persistence. Playing the game as someone's foil is no fun. It's demeaning. You want to be a "player."
Respect isn't free. You must pay your dues.
Whatever your game, you need a training plan, and not some milk toast plan either. A worthy plan will ensure you study the basics until they're second nature. It will include practice against real opponents opponents tough enough to shake the nonsense out of your game.
Sound tough? It is. You need to pay your dues.
Will you make mistakes? Of course. Will you skip a poker technique that turns out to be critical? It happens.
Correcting errors means being honest with yourself. If you're weak in an area, fess up and fix it.
Any prolonged losing streak points to your ability. Be honest. It's not about the cards, a bad luck streak, or the jockey's mistakes. If you're losing, it's about you.
Knowledge is Power
It's not about luck; it's about knowledge.
The more knowledgeable player will always win in chess. Even in a dice game like backgammon, the better prepared player usually wins.
That's the beauty of these games. They're not about politics, or staying on the boss' good side. It's about understanding the game better than your opponent.
Time is Power
Here comes the retirement edge.
Time is the backbone of knowledge. With free time you can gain the necessary knowledge. Without time to study, your understanding is doomed to the superficial. An hour or two might get you playing, but learning the subtleties takes time.
That is retirement's gift to you the time to learn.
Once you start understanding the finer points, you will begin winning more. Winning stirs a very primitive pleasure, especially when you've earned it. You'll begin to see the hours with flash cards and game analysis bearing fruit.
In fact, the old gangster swagger comes not from your suede shoes, or the ostrich feather in your hat, but from the knowledge that you can win.
It's a swagger that you can feel, and it shows.
A Treasure Hunt
Gangster Style adventures are about getting out of the house, meeting people, and enjoying the games. It's about extending yourself into the art world, mystery writing, and feeling good on the dance floor.
As your competence increases, you'll pick up the swagger, and the Gangster Style will become a part of you.
With all that, I hesitate to add another element.
Here it is anyway money.
Once you get good at the games, and I mean really good, there is money to be made. I hesitate to say that because it's not easy money, and it will not come quickly. You will have to pay your dues.
The money may not come for a couple of years, or more. For that reason, it's better to focus on the immediate benefits and enjoy your new friends, the road trips, and the buffets.
With that said, it's only fair to let you know that you now have part of a treasure map. If you continue with the journey, overcome your mistakes, and learn to stay balanced, the games will reward you.
The racetrack offers thousands in its "pick-six" promotions; the World Series of Poker hands out millions every month; and a hot mystery novel conveys celebrity status. Those are very real pots of gold.
That's right, you're on a treasure hunt.
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