Today’s word, “win,” relates to poker in ways that aren’t clearly understood by many players. In fact, what the word means to them is dangerous, so dangerous that it actually keeps some wouldbe professionals from winning. Confused?
Well, when we’ve finished with this selfinterview, you won’t be. This stuff is important, so I’d consider it a personal favor if you zoomed in and focused on what I’m about to share.
Question 1: I don’t get it. How can players be confused about winning?
When you win, you win, right? Maybe you’re the one who’s confused. You aren’t exactly making yourself endearing as an interviewer. What’s your question?
Question 2: I thought my question was clear. Winning is winning, so why are you telling me that it isn’t?
There are different kinds of winning in poker. Some of them cost you money.
You should never enter a poker game feeling like an old west gunslinger and getting your ego involved. If you do that, you’ll fire away at opponents with a barrage of raises. You’ll win their attention and, for at least a short time, you’ll be intimidating.
But then what? Then you’ll realize that you can’t win money in the long term, only attention, because each raise needs to be profitable. Deciding when to raise and why to raise is the topic of today’s self-interview.
Question 1: You said that a raise needs to be profitable. How do you know when that is?
I heard from a friend of forty years, Art Sathmary, last year (2012). He phoned me unexpectedly to touch bases. Art, with his famous “ASQ” waiting-board initials, remains one of the true legends of Gardena poker.
Gardena? You had to be there to understand. That small Los Angeles suburb was poker central in America for decades. In fact, it billed itself as the “Poker Capital of the World.” This self-interview is about that and about a small event involving Art and me that changed my way of thinking about poker.
Question 1: Before you explain why today’s word is “quarter,” tell us about Gardena. What was it like?
I was discussing President Barack Obama’s reelection the other day, not from a political standpoint, but from a strategic one. And it related to poker in a big way. How come? It’s because you have to understand that not one thing makes the difference between winning and losing. A large number of things determine your fate. But each factor can sway the result all by itself. And that’s the topic of today’s self-interview.
Question 1: How does the Obama vs. Romney race tie into today’s word, “Difference”?
A number of factors made the difference in the 2012 presidential race. Some favored Romney. The biggest ones toward the end favored Obama. Weighed together, they provided Obama with a victory.
It’s the same in poker— competing factors. The right ones lead to eventual profit, if they aren’t overwhelmed by the wrong ones.
Question 2: Just curious— what factors are you talking about regarding the presidential race?
There are things you don’t do if you want to maximize poker profit. In fact, what you don’t do often builds and protects bankrolls more powerfully than what you do.
Since that might sound confusing, I’ll explain it in today’s self-interview. And I’ll provide a selection of high-profit advice from poker’s “don’t” list. So, let’s get started.
Question 1: How am I supposed to ask you questions about poker strategy you don’t do?
It’s easy to ask for your advice about what to do, but how should I ask about what not to do? Can you give me some guidance, so I can conduct a better interview? Sure. Just ask me if there’s anything I recommend that players don’t do regarding a specific poker topic of your choice.
Question 2: Okay. So, what would you recommend that players don’t do regarding bluffing?
Success in life is about the quality of your choices. The same is true in poker. We’re not going to discuss the broad spectrum of choices involving poker tactics, psychology, or motivation. Not now. Instead, we’ll focus on just one category of choice. What is it? It’s choosing your opponents. In fact, that turns out to be among the most important paths to profit. So, let’s talk about it in today’s selfinterview.
Question 1: What do you mean by choose your opponents? How do you do that?
Sometimes you can’t choose the opponents who will be competing at your table. If you’re assigned a seat in a poker tournament, for instance, you have to accept the group you’re given. In a home game, you usually have one table filled with predetermined foes.
And if there’s just one game close to the limits you want to wager and of the type you want to play (hold ’em, stud, draw, high-low, etc.), then you don’t have much of a choice.
Question 2: You said that “you don’t have much choice,” but you mean you don’t have any choice, right?
Many things about poker are temporary. Not everything. But transition governs the biggest aspects of poker that affect us emotionally. This self-interview is about dealing with transition, with change, and with the word “temporary.”
You see, all poker games are temporary. All streaks, good ones and bad ones, are temporary. Life is temporary. That’s important to understand. It’s important for reasons that beckon beyond philosophical or theoretical. It’s important because your bankroll depends on your grasp of temporary.
Question 1: You just said that not everything in poker is temporary. What could possibly be permanent?
Weather isn’t only rain and snow, thunder and sunshine. Weather is a concept that I teach students of poker and life. And we’ll explore it in today’s self-interview.
Question 1: What do you mean by saying weather is a concept?
Well, I use it conceptually when explaining an important attitude that builds poker bankrolls and makes life itself easier to manage. Sure, weather is still storms and droughts. I’m not arguing about that. But the concept surrounding this reality is that weather is something you can’t influence. It comes. It goes. You can react to it in meaningful ways. But you can’t choose what weather you want.
Question 2: Big deal. So what?
In this self-interview, I’ve instructed the interviewer to ask questions about poker that can be responded to briefly. So, we’re focusing on short answers and more questions today.
Question 1: How do you personally prepare to win before you enter a poker game?
I don’t. I expect to win, but I don’t prepare. My preparation is in all the research and analysis I’ve done in previous years. For most players, it would be a good idea to take a few minutes to remind themselves of their goals and to consider what they know about the opponents they’re about to face. Personally, I don’t do that, but maybe I should.
Question 2: Name the biggest destroyer of poker bankrolls?
Poker tactics can be complex. But usually, they don’t need to be. I’ll tell you why in today’s self-interview.
Question 1: You’ve talked a lot about tricking opponents in poker? Can you do that using simple tactics?
Sure. Whenever you bet strong hands and opponents doubt that you really hold them, they call. The deception is in the doubt.
If opponents always called, then there would be no reason to trick them. You wouldn’t bluff, and you’d always bet your big hands the maximum amount. Poker would be easy. Sadly, it’s not. But the better you can maneuver your poker opponents into acting in predictable ways, the more money you’ll earn.