by David “The Maven” Chicotsky
At a town hall meeting for the Poker Players Alliance at this year’s WSOP, I heard a speech from Congressman Joe Barton (from Texas), one of the most public and outspoken advocates for legalized online poker in America. After addressing the crowd, he was asked about, “timing,” as it relates to presenting a Congressional bill and pushing it through the House of Representatives and United States Senate. He explained that there is no perfect formula for timing the introduction of a bill to increase the odds of passing both chambers of Congress. However, there are many indicators among political chatter and national occurrences signaling a ripe time for writing new law.
The probability of a piece of legislation making it to the President’s desk to be signed and written into law is just math.
A simple majority is needed to pass a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. After 28 years in Congress, it’s safe to assume that Joe Barton has enough of a sample size relating to legislative activity to predict whether a bill will pass or fail.
Just like in poker, with enough experience under your belt, math serves as support, while intuition powers your actions. It’s not just a strict reading of the math that prompts movement at the tables, it’s also a combination of factors such as reference knowledge and inherent ability. Oftentimes, it’s a matter of, “feeling,” and, “timing,” that separates profitable players from others. Or, in Congressman Barton’s case, it’s what separates successful legislators in The Beltway.
On the felt, we run into situations where we have a marginal holding like Q9, but decide to re-raise an opponent on our right who’s been out of line. There is no specific playbook move that’s being employed against the opponent to the right, but making plays based on intuition and careful study rather than your cards is profitable.
This intuitive sense enables success, long-term focus, and the feeling of awareness by drawing on extraordinary reference knowledge. If you’ve studied your opponent enough, you’ll have an idea about how they will react in these situations. The ability to gauge your opponents’ responses will help you more efficiently come up with a plan of attack. In the long run, you’ll recognize patterns, be able to deduce information more quickly, and have better general table awareness.
As you advance your game, you’ll be more able to predict the actions of your opponents. Let’s hope, for the sake of poker, that congressmen like Joe Barton can use their years of in-depth experience to help our case in advocating for poker players’ rights.
David “The Maven” Chicotsky is the 2008 Online Player of the Year and a former #1 ranked online tournament poker player. He is also a well-respected poker coach and can be reached at TheMavenTraining.com. David is currently the Marketing Director for PokeroomUSA and a regular player on PPN Poker.