A Conversation at a Poker Game
Michael and Anthony are very good friends and enjoy their Friday night no-limit Texas Hold’em poker game each week. Michael plays with a tight, aggressive style meaning he plays only the best hands and understands the math behind the game. On the other hand, Anthony tends to be fairly loose in the hands he plays and the bets he calls; meaning that he plays weak starting hands and makes mathematically incorrect plays.
While Michael wins on most nights, Anthony typically loses most nights but he does have that occasional good night when he plays incorrectly but gets lucky. That’s what keeps Anthony coming back for more even though he is a big loser for the year.
The cards are dealt.
Michael: “Hey Anthony, did you see that doctor about the pain you have been having?”
Anthony lights another cigarette: “Yes, he says I have cancer and need to be treated immediately and the treatment is going to be somewhat unpleasant.”
Michael: “Wow! I am so sorry that you have cancer. Is there anything I can do to help?”
Anthony: “Don’t worry, I am sure I do not have cancer.”
Michael: “How come you don’t think you have cancer?”
Anthony: “I was checking the Web and I saw a site by a doctor who claimed that everything nowadays is diagnosed to be cancer so that these doctors can get research money and expensive equipment. These guys are getting rich off diagnosing folks like me.”
Michael: “But isn’t your doctor considered the best oncologist at the best cancer research hospital?”
Anthony: “Yes. He even referred me to several other oncologists and they all said the same thing. I have cancer and need to be treated. Imagine that, they are all in on this scam!”
Michael: “That doctor whose Website you saw, what were his qualifications?”
Anthony: “He is a family doctor who has been practicing medicine for over 30 years so he knows his stuff.”
Michael: “But does he do cancer research or treat cancer patients? Has he published studies about cancer in the top medical journals?”
Anthony: “Nope. He said on his site that all of these doctors publishing are just engaged in group think so that they can get funding from the major pharmaceutical companies. He says to just ‘follow the money and it becomes obvious.’ Think about it. Everything nowadays causes cancer. How convenient for these doctors. What a racket!”
Michael: “Are you seriously suggesting that a general doctor who does no cancer research nor treats cancer patients knows more than the top cancer doctors in the top cancer hospitals?”
Anthony: “If you read his Website you would be convinced. Go to http://www.cancerisahoax.com and see for yourself. I have a good feeling about this.”
Michael: “But you are a chain smoker and everybody knows that smoking is linked to many types of cancer. Don’t you think that maybe your smoking caused the cancer you have?”
Anthony: “I know plenty of smokers that don’t have cancer. I even read in Reader’s Digest that there was a guy in Russia that smoked three packs a day and lived to be 105. Smoking does not mean I have cancer – it just means I like to smoke. That doctor’s Website I have been telling you about said something about that. I think he said ‘correlation does not equal causation’ or something like that.”
Michael is dealt pocket AA, the best starting hand in poker while Anthony is dealt 7-2 off suit which is the worst starting hand in poker. Michael’s hand will win 87% of the time heads up and he knows this.
Michael opens the betting with a $10 raise. Everybody folds except Anthony who goes all-in for $200.
Michael calls instantly and shows the AA. Anthony flips over the 7-2 and says,
“I have a good feeling about this!”
(Note: I chose the cancer metaphor because it will be well understood by all. I do not take cancer lightly because my family has quite a history with this disease.)