We see it in football. Sometimes the better team loses on penalties. When they don't follow the rules they are penalized to the point that touchdowns may be called back, first downs may be negated, or any of hundreds of other scenarios in which skillful play is defeated by minor infractions.
Today we are seeing the necessity of both skillful execution and knowledge of arcane rules as Senator Ted Cruz works to defeat ObamaCare. On the surface, his move to block a bill that would defund the legislation yet fund government is the opposite of that goal. It is not. There is an obscure, but sometimes used rule called Cloture that is in play.
Cloture is a motion to stop debate on a bill. It is used typically to prevent filibuster. The article linked here is a good treatise on how it is used. (The quotes below are from the article.)
This is where it gets tricky. Once cloture has been invoked, all amendments to a bill are subject to ruling by the Presiding Officer on their germaneness. Any language in a bill that has been added as amendment can be stripped by the Presiding Officer.