Whatever one calls it, those viewed as lucky possess certain commonalities: They excel at creating and seizing opportunities; have positive expectations that become self-fulfilling prophecies; and possess an adaptable outlook which can turn bad luck into good.

Watch this video to gain more insight into how you can cultivate these traits and become a more fortunate individual.

How does it work?

Conventional wisdom holds that luck is something uncontrollable and random. But Richard Wiseman, a British psychology professor who has conducted extensive research on luck over eight years, contends otherwise: self-proclaimed lucky people create their own good fortune through skillful methods: creating and recognizing opportunity spots, listening to intuition in making decisions that produce lucky outcomes, adopting positive beliefs about themselves and adopting resilient attitudes that transform bad luck into good.

Rosenthal has focused his research in this area on poker because it provides one of the few truly isolated systems to gauge how luck impacts outcomes of poker games. Together with his students, they have created an analysis tool which measures just how much luck influences each outcome of poker tournaments.

This allows one to measure how much luck plays into a player’s success or failure and thus determine whether they possess any real skill; but it also raises questions of what constitutes luck and skill in other aspects of life.

How do you harness it?

One of the key skills for poker players to develop is an ability to harness luck. This involves staying patient when things don’t seem to go your way and remaining focused on the long term goal.

Rosenthal’s work provides an effective framework for exploring the nature and distinctions between luck and skill, in particular through poker’s dynamic of requiring players to make decisions with limited information while receiving instantaneous feedback on whether those decisions led to money gained or lost.

Poker also helps teach self-control. As most lucky people instinctively know or learn through experience, good runs of luck seldom last as long as we’d hope them to. Therefore, patience and knowing when to cut losses short are important components of being a successful gambler; successful gamblers utilize “outcome fielding” techniques that remove bias from decision-making processes.

What are the benefits?

Poker is one of the few gambling games where skill trumps chance over time. While other forms of gambling games rely heavily on chance for winners and losers, poker can be studied, learned, and mastered to such an extent that many would consider it an art form – enabling players to make informed decisions, reduce variance and maximize winnings over time.

Rosenthal and his team have conducted various experiments to investigate the luck-vs-skill debate, such as golfing, motor dexterity exercises, memory tests and anagram games. According to them, luck refers to each player’s relative equity in any particular hand.

They argue that with enough hands played, player equity gained from luck will converge to zero and be equalized by bad luck losses, as long as bankroll management and losses can be kept within acceptable levels. Thus, supporting the notion that poker is predominantly a game of skill.

What are the drawbacks?

The science of luck has long been a central topic of conversation in poker circles, prompting numerous studies to investigate just how much skill and how little luck are involved when winning or losing at poker. Unfortunately, results vary considerably; some studies indicate it takes many hands before skill overtakes chance.

Other research, however, has suggested that luck is more of a psychological than physical attribute. Psychologists have defined luck as the explanation we use to make sense of events; an attribute or trait within ourselves; or our capacity for recovering after failure.

These definitions of luck make it hard to differentiate skill from chance, leading some players to attribute their losses more directly to bad luck than poor decisions on their part. Yet research indicates that luck can be harnessed with the proper mental framework.

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