After eight attempts the X-Men franchise has finally put out a film that won’t let you down.
Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds, is a riot from start to finish. It’s playing at cinemas worldwide and you should get yourself a ticket.
The action scenes are great, the one-liners will crack ribs, and if that doesn’t get your juices flowing then how about a distressed Morena Baccarin in stockings and suspenders?
It occurred to me while laughing my ass off that Deadpool was handing out a few poker tips in between the slice and dice. So, like any good poker writer, I got my mobile phone out and started taking careful notes.
Here are five poker tips from “The Merc with the Mouth.”
1. Every Bullet Counts
The movie plunges your heart into the screen from the get go. Deadpool is heading for a fight with a bunch of villains when he forgets his bag full of weapons.
A quick check of weaponry reveals a pair of sharp-as-you-like katanas and a gun with only 12 bullets. Stranded in an overturned car with mercs closing in from every direction, our hero is in a spot.
It takes him less than 10 minutes and exactly 12 bullets to clear house, including a triple-barrel blast that shoots three people in the head and leaves him standing in the middle of the road, snorting cordite and declaring that he’s going to touch himself later that night.
Point being? Make every bullet count. Be deliberate. Be concise. Have a plan ahead of time. Don’t just go gung-ho hoping for the best.
Make sure you end up at the river inhaling the sweet stench of cordite and looking forward to some alone time.
2. Must Capture Francis
Former special forces hard man, Wade Winston Wilson, is transformed into Deadpool after a mercenary known as Ajax (played in the movie by Ed Skrien) tortures him until his hidden mutant gene emerges.
During the torture Wilson is placed in a chamber that does something nasty to him and leaves him with a face that ‘looks like a testicle with teeth.’
Wilson establishes that the real name of Ajax is Francis Freeman and once he frees himself from his chamber he only has one goal in his mind – capture Francis to reverse his condition.
Everything from that moment on focuses on that goal. If an action is not part of the goal then it doesn’t get done. The only thing that matters is Francis.
When starting out in poker you need that same laser-like focus. You need to select a goal and channel every effort into making it a success.
That goal could be big or small; it depends on your personal preference. However, I would make sure it’s challenging and stretches your capability.
Now go and get Francis.
3. Use Comedy to Control Tilt
What sets this movie apart from the rest of the dribble that came before it is its humor. Writing duo Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick line them up and Reynolds knocks each and every one of them out of the park.
As previously explained, Wilson is tortured for what seems like weeks, or even months, by Ajax and his partner in crime Angel Dust. During each scene Reynolds prevents himself from falling apart by acting like the comedy genius he is.
His view is a simple one. If they can’t break his humor, they can’t break him. There is also the bonus that his behavior gets deep under the skin of Ajax in particular.
Deadpool never lost control. Perhaps we can use humor to create the same effect at the poker table; after all, isn’t it anger and frustration that creates tilt in the first place?
Imagine, if we were able to keep the corners of our mouth facing north, how difficult it would be to lose control and how annoying that would that be for the player trying unsuccessfully to get a reaction from us?
Laugh. Smile. Tell jokes. It’s tough to lose it that way.
4. Comedy = Creativity = Confidence
After watching the movie I felt more creative than normal. I wanted to sing, to write and to paint. I felt in the zone. I felt the flow.
James Altucher is a great believer in the connection between comedy and creativity. He tells everyone who wants to listen that he watches an hour of stand-up comedy before he writes, speaks on stage, or pursues any other form of creativity.
“I have a lot of inhibitions when I meet people,” he explained on Quora. “I’m scared and somewhat introverted.
Stand-up comedians are the best public speakers in the world, and I think they are the most astute social commentators on the human condition.”
Watching Deadpool performing for 1h 48m is the same as watching a stand-up comedian, such is the pace of his rapier-like wit. I believe that something changes in you when you watch something like this.
You feel creative. You seem extroverted. Two bonuses when you settle down for a game of poker.
5. Love Your Cracks
There is a scene where Deadpool receives a tip that his girlfriend, Vanessa, is in danger. He has not seen her since being disfigured by Ajax.
He walks into the strip joint where she works so he can warn her of her impending doom. As he gets close to her, he bails out at the last minute and ducks into the men’s room.
Deadpool removes his hood, splashes cold water on his face, and heads back into the strip joint. Vanessa is gone. Ajax and Angel Dust have taken her.
He has blown it because of his ego. He didn’t want her to see his ugly face, judge him and leave him.
There are two points here relating to poker. The first is the presence of ego. If you care what other people think of you and your game, then your game will be adversely affected by it.
Stay focused. Have belief in yourself. Understand the power of wabi-sabi, the Japanese view of acceptance of transience and imperfection. Love your cracks, dents and leaks.
Secondly, go with your gut. Don’t second guess yourself. If you take too much time figuring out the perfect play, the girl may be gone.