Poker Face: Interpersonal Comparisons in Medical School

interpersonal comparison

Poker, one may reasonably argue, is a game of sheer luck; he (or she) who happens upon the most desirable combination of cards will likely win the round of bets. However, as seasoned players know, the art of poker lies in its psychology. The ability of the player to keep an emotionless persona not just when dealt an appealing hand but especially when dealt a bad one—the poker face—is how competitors can trick each other to win in high stakes situations regardless of their cards.
I find at times medical school to be like a big poker game, with its players the medical students. The stakes are plentiful: a “bet” of a couple hundred thousand dollars that a medical degree will be obtained, a desired specialty (though I am in awe how some of us have already chosen or eliminated fields within months of donning the white coat), a coveted residency program, a preferred lifestyle, and more. With our futures on the line, it is thus natural that we all play our cards to the best of our abilities.

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