Even in brutal warfare where waves are atomized in a single lance of pale fire and the churned world is rendered lunar, there’s planning behind the frenzy. Master of warfare Sun Tzu understood the importance of the strategic deployment of resources and, most applicable to poker, he never underestimated the strength of an opponent.
All such lessons can be applied to poker. Even at the lower levels when the moon is right, anyone can lose to anyone. Like the Roman holiday Saturnalia, there comes a day when that which it is no longer.
Poker is all about the cunning asset deployment, spinning bluffs and pressing perceived advantages.
In order to squeeze long-lasting wisdom from lessons hard-learned or otherwise, study sessions are your friends. A quick glance over the stats after every session helps the day’s lessons to germinate and eventually bloom into lovely dollar buds. It’s a hackneyed statement with more assumed wisdom than it’s due, but fail to prepare and prepare to fail.
In bygone days of dragonslayer knights, it was fine to have just one strategy. Before all the knowledge of the known world was available at a nod, it seemed perfectly acceptable to learn the same sword swings and strokes your father knew, and his before him, as had served since time immemorial.
Now, not so much. Modern players hoping for a run at the top must have both the ability to change up their style on the fly and a strong selection of strategies chambered, ready to deploy as and when.
There’s numerous ways to get to grips with general strategies. You can put your own spin on the classics once the baseline knowledge is absorbed. Any of the following avenues would serve usefully for newbies:
- Online coaching – whether it’s Skype or private Twitch sessions, many streamers offer this auxiliary service to patrons to supplicate income
- Books, books and more books
- Actually playing. Nothing helps like experience. If you’re an online-exclusive nervous about the live atmosphere of an upcoming tournament, hit up your local games and acclimate to the changes
Without getting too much into the nitty-gritty, I’ll provide a brief overview of some applicable strategies/useful advices:
Decision-making: always make good decisions. Even the best players have losing sessions. Your goal should not be winning every time, or leaving the micros ahead of schedule, but to improve every session.
The maths: gut is one way to do it, but the most definable way to increase your winning percentage is to learn the maths. Above all things, this most human of games is a maths challenge. If you know your figures and percentages, use them to your advantage.
Avoiding tilt: Might seem obvious, but you don’t make better decisions when you’re frothing over the keyboard, cursing your felt-friends to kingdom come. Keep emotion out of it. Remember Data from Star Trek whooping everyone at cards? Why do you think that was? Three words; Emotions Chip removal.
Sensible bluffs: Bluffing is great. Pulling the wool over people’s eyes, convincing them of your considered half-truths, there’s no greater feeling. Each time I successfully bluff, I imagine myself as a red devil dancing atop the trinkets I relieved those poor souls of. Don’t get addicted to it though, your bluffs have to make sense to be successful. When you bluff, you’re trying to get the opponent with the best hand to fold. When you get dealt a stinker, bluffing also gives you a second way to win, not reliant on the luck of the draw.
You’re a ShenPoker player – damn right you’ve got it. Take the lessons learned here today and decorate yourself with wealth.
Knowledge is key,
Mike at ShenPoker