Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Find Your Own Truth

The first piece of advice may well be the most important. I can't claim credit ; the words are attributed to the Buddha, some 2500 years ago. Simply : "Doubt everything. Find your own truth". Following any poker advice by rote without thinking about the context and reasoning behind it is not very helpful at best ; at worst it's downright dangerous. For example, I wonder how many terrible laydowns have been made in small tournaments by people who took to heart TJ Cloutier's advice that "Aces are the only hand big enough to go broke with in the early stages of a tournament". They might well be the only hand TJ should go broke with in the tournaments he plays in, for various reasons, but almost certainly not you or me. Then again I might be wrong. What do I know ? Think about it for yourself and understand why the author or adviser says what he says. Then work out for yourself how it applies to your games, in your experience. The best players (whoever they are, but that's another matter) are not always the best teachers, in fact probably not even usually the best teachers. Take any advice you receive on its own merits, and work it out for yourself.

As I imply above, that applies to any advice that I give. Double. I've made a conscious decision not to clutter this up with constant "normally" and "usually" and "with exceptions" just for clarity but that's what I mean. Poker is a game where you think on your feet, and always make adjustments for what's going on around you. I can't tell you what to do in every situation. No one can. Which is great. If it was easy, everyone would do it, and then how would we make any money ?


I have read TJ's book and a couple of other's to boot, and tend to find, as you say, elements of info that I can use in my own armoury. What is quite interesting, is that you come across various types of playing styles that may have read the same books, but adapted it slightly differently.
Even some that try and play exactly the way the book suggests. This in itself can be used to your advantage. This mainly applies to Tournament poker, even though I have seen players playing exactly the same way in cash games, usually to disastrous effect.
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