Poker Lessons From Napoleon Hill: Lesson #1 Desire

TAGs: Napoleon Hill

Lee Davy dissects the classic Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and considers how its lessons have lived through the life of a poker player.

What is the starting point of all achievement?

I have a friend who is a professional poker player. His pattern is familiar. He fell in love with the game, played it incessantly, mastered it, found riches, backed a ton of players, squandered riches, his luck turned, and then he was broke.

In any other walk of life this pattern would have broken someone in half like a broomstick carrying a witch that had eaten too much pumpkin pie. Poker can be an addiction caused by pain. This man should have experienced the glory of suffering. But he didn’t. He was saved because he knew the answer to the question. He had lived through its conception. It was deep inside of him; scratching; determined to emerge.

Poker Lessons From Napoleon Hill: Lesson #1 DesireWhy do we see so few people leave the game?

The game is getting tougher. Why aren’t more people getting hooked on the shiny lures, blood leaking over frosted lips?

It’s desire.

It’s definitiveness.

Poker players don’t desire poker. They desire freedom and happiness. Poker happened to come along at the right time. It rolled out the red carpet, you pulled up your leg warmers, slipped on those dancing shoes and walked into the poker room like a dirty little swine.

For some people it was the mere thought of playing a game for a living. When were the most beautiful and fulfilled moments in your life? Think. Think. I know. You can’t remember. It’s like a jet-black cloak has covered your thoughts. You were a child. That’s when you had the most fun. The time before you were told that one-day you would have to go to work and earn some money. Up until that point your only job was to play games.



Street Fighter.


Super Mario Brothers.


Football Manager.


Desire is all about choosing a goal and putting everything into making that goal a reality. Everything else is soot and cigarette burns. You will even burn snowflakes. Pretty little snowflakes.

Poker players may seem lazy, but when it comes to their art they are anything but. They have re-written the 10,000-hour rule. They have excelled in mastery. In the beginning nothing else mattered except poker. They played poker, they watched poker and they talked about poker. Poker. Poker. Poker.


A dominating obsession.

It starts with a need to avoid the dreaded JOB. Then there is money. Poker players have a deep-seated belief that they will be successful. It’s a question of when and not if. This is why they ignored the cries of their parents to go back to school. They poured napalm on those dreams. They weren’t theirs. They were someone else’s.

The poker player was backed into a corner. It was through will. They willingly walked there. They knew that the other alternative was to get a JOB. That could not happen. That would not happen. The desire intensified. It burned rainbows and turned them into dirty black coat hangers hanging in the sky.

They live the life. The rich ones, the average ones, and the poor ones – they all live the life. If Tiny Tim was a poker player he would have eaten turkey all day, every day. They eat in the best restaurants, they dance in the best clubs, and they fuck the hottest looking whores. They play in $10k buy-in events and yet they don’t have money to tip the valet.

This is poker.

Desire created it.

You don’t need money in poker to live the life of a rock star. Just ask JRB. He has his name on a license plate. Someone even stuck it on a Bentley. The fact that poker players exist in this oligarchy despite being $100,000 in make up also fuels the desire. They feel it. They experience it. Therefore they are it.





All poker players have experienced these things. All poker players have enduring faith. There have been false starts, heartbreak, struggles and downswings, but there was never a point when they believed it wasn’t possible.

They never fell from the faith.


What is the starting point of all achievement?



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