Standard cash game scenario. You have A,K suited in late position and a middle position player bets. You naturally three bet them to isolate and they call. The flop comes 10,6,3 with two of your suit. The middle position player leads out. You re-raise and it's likely the money is going all in on the flop if they have an overpair to the board. You clearly don't have the best hand presently, but you are making your decision to play the hand so strongly on the flop because you likely have 15 outs to improve, making you the favorite by the river to win the hand. Whether you hit one of your outs or not, you are making your play based on your equity advantage.
I've always been a firm believer that having success in poker and in life is about making good decisions. It's not realistic to expect perfect decisions, but certainly more good ones than bad ones. Just as in poker, the results are often out of your control. There are factors you don't have much affect over. You can only do your part and hope for the best. When I started playing poker, a made hand had more value to me than a drawing hand. One was ahead, while one wasn't. Every hand that beat me when I was previously ahead hurt me. I only focused on the results.
As I got further into poker, I learned that I should really focus on was making +EV decisions at the table. It didn't matter whether you won or lost the actual hand, as long as you made the right decision, which long term statistics prove are correct. Determining what the best +EV decision is what matters. But that isn't how most of the world sees it. It's all about the win. Results are what count to most people. Win and you are a hero, lose and you are forgotten. It is the case in poker, business, politics and especially sports.
Recently, my 11 year old son joined his first classic soccer team. This is a stepped up level from recreational soccer which requires a tryout. Unfortunately his team is saddled with some poor players and limited athletes with little classic experience, so they are struggling. Every game, as they come home losers, I try to focus his mind on playing up to his potential. He isn't interested in hearing that. He doesn't want advice or criticism. He wants wins. They all do; the parents, coaches and players. I see this as a learning experience where he is stepping up his game to a new level. I am happy if the team plays up to their potential and plays well, which they clearly haven't so far. They don't control the level of competition. He doesn't control the other players on his team's athletic ability or skill level. All he controls is how he plays on the field.
I asked him point blank yesterday, after their latest loss, if he would be happy if they played badly but won? Without a doubt, he said he would be satisfied. All mistakes or bad play get swept away by a win. I don't see it that way, but I seem to be in the minority. Winning consumes people. If you win, no one criticizes or questions you. You may or may not even deserve the win due to your action, but it doesn't matter to most people.
I sometimes wonder if I'm not really getting it. Should I care more about the win? Is a factor of rationalizing the losses as a parent? Is it easy for me to not mind the losing because I'm not the one actually playing? I wonder if my +EV perspective will ever win over most people.