In my last column, I discussed the benefits of what Mike terms "a wild image."
His image at the poker table borders on a fun, but friendly form of insanity. It's an image that he has perfected so well that it comes naturally and smoothly to him.
Imagine you're sitting in the middle of the back seat of a VW Beetle on a long drive from Tulsa to Amarillo. You're wedged between two other passengers. Got the picture? Now, let me ask you: Are you feeling comfortable? Oh, you're right - it might depend on who the two people are. But, let's not go there. Usually, you'll probably agree that being cramped in the middle like this is no fun. Well, it's the same with poker on the last betting round. Being in the middle is no fun.
Dear Poker Counselor,
I lost my entire bankroll while playing angry and tilting. I've seen all the of books saying to never play too long, never play with personal problems to sort out, etc. I always figured I'd never let that stuff get to me. Well, I was wrong. I guess failure is the best way to learn, but how can I make sure this doesn't happen to me again?
-Colin in Boston
What," I ask, "does Vendetta! mean?"
"Revenge!" says Jake angrily.
"We must revenge Gyp's death. You and I will work together. You will find Gyp's murderer. I will kill him."
I tell him, "I want nothing to do with any vendetta! My answer is no."
"No!" he screams raising the shotgun.
"Jaco, Jake, Jackal! Wait! I..." Again he screams, "No!" aiming the shotgun.
I stare straight down the O of the shotgun's barrel.
He says two words and fires. The two words are Get down!
Many years ago, as I was advancing in my engineering and business career, a friend recommended I read a book entitled The Art of War by an ancient Chinese general named Sun Tzu. Indeed, I found his teachings very useful during my career. (So too was Dale Carnegies' book on How to Win Friends and Influence People.) Recently, while reading about a fierce high-school class election competition, I was reminded of Sun Tzu's teachings on how to win a war.
How bad is the short buy-in? Consider this scenario. A guy buys in to a $6-12 game for $60. On his first hand he picks up pocket aces. He knows he should raise to isolate, but he's afraid to commit too much money to the pot, in case the hand doesn't go his way. From the outset he's playing defensively. Or maybe he's thinking he can get a big parlay out of his small stack by taking his aces into a five- or six-way field. In any case, he lets a lot of small holdings limp into the pot, and while he's a favorite over each of them, he's an underdog to all of them.
California has had a rich history of gambling and poker from the first wave of people to come rushing into the state in search of gold after the discovery at Sutter's Mill in 1848. As the "49ers" moved into the state in their quest for gold, saloons and gambling followed right on their heels and never really left, despite all the attempts to stop poker and gaming elsewhere in the United States in the past 150 years.
With so many new faces being attracted to poker - the editor has asked me to do a series of articles for complete beginners. As we progress over the next few weeks, I will try and guide you from learning the basics, to having the confidence to play in real tournaments. We will then move on from that and focus a little more on how to keep improving your game. So here goes...