The Art Of War In Poker


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Applying the ancient concepts on warfare by the Chinese general Sun Tzu to the modern game of poker.

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  • Example Gus Hansen, Doyle Brunsen
  • Weak means strong…
  • Example Scotty Nguyen
  • Example Phil Helmuth or Mike the mouth
  • The Art Of War In Poker

    1. 1. THE ART OF WAR IN POKER Using the ancient concepts of Sun Tzu in the modern poker game
    2. 2. 7 Principles Selected <ul><li>Strategy of war </li></ul><ul><li>Use of resources </li></ul><ul><li>Attack by stratagem </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligence or Information </li></ul><ul><li>Terrain </li></ul><ul><li>Deception </li></ul><ul><li>5 Dangerous faults in a General </li></ul>
    3. 3. 5 Fundamentals of Strategy Those who understand these fundamentals will win. Those who don’t, will be defeated Sun Tzu         
    4. 4. 5 Fundamental Strategies Sun Tzu <ul><li>Moral Cause Inspire people to share the same ideas and expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>Nature (Heaven) Changes in climatic conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Situation (Earth) Distant or immediate, obstructed or easy, and conditions for the chances of life or death. </li></ul><ul><li>Commander Wisdom, humanity, credibility, courage,  intelligence and firmness. </li></ul><ul><li>Discipline Officials views employ moral cause, reward, </li></ul><ul><li>punishment, logistics and flexible system. </li></ul>
    5. 5. 5 winning Strategies for Poker <ul><li>Will to Win (Moral cause) Are you prepared, do you have the vision and the skills to win. Did you come expecting to win </li></ul><ul><li>Elements (Nature) Is your Luck running hot or cold. As well as understanding your own Nature </li></ul><ul><li>Situation (Situation) Early or late position at the table, opponents. chipstack, opponents chipstacks and blind Levels. </li></ul><ul><li>Commander’s Abilities and Skills Knowledge of the game, Knowing your odds and outs observation skills </li></ul><ul><li>Discipline Self Discipline, hand discipline, positional discipline, Observation discipline </li></ul>
    6. 6. Strategy To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself - Sun Tzu In Poker most of your gains will be as a result of a mistake by your opponent and not your brilliant play
    7. 7. Strategy Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.
    8. 8. Strategy . Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy But does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him - Sun Tzu In poker this is fundamentally the difference between a call and a raise
    9. 9. Strategy Entice opponent with bait of small gains. Be vigilant when opponent is alert. Retreat temporarily when opponent is strong - Sun Tzu In Poker, Fold to strength. Bluff to weakness
    10. 10. He who wishes to fight must first count the cost Sun Tzu Poker is about risk vs reward Use of Resources
    11. 11. Reward must outweigh Risk Risk Reward
    12. 12. Poker vs Gambling Gamblers place bets when the odds are against them A poker player will bet when the odds are in his favour
    13. 13. Use of Resources One unit of opponent supplies: Is worth 20 units of your own Sun Tzu Consider the value of your chips in front of YOU, rather than added to an opponents chipstack
    14. 14. Attack By Stratagem Those who are skilled in executing strategy, ensure victory without fighting. The best plan is to win by strategy. Sun Tzu         
    15. 15. The 5 Winning ways <ul><li>He will win who knows when to fight and </li></ul><ul><li>when not to fight </li></ul><ul><li>Sun Tzu </li></ul><ul><li>In Poker as in Battle, timing is everything. </li></ul>
    16. 16. The 5 Winning ways 2. He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces - Sun Tzu Knowing how and when to play the suited connectors or laying down a big hand like AK.
    17. 17. The 5 Winning ways 3. He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks Sun Tzu This translates to motivation. A poker Player must be at the table 100%. Motivated and observant for the entire time
    18. 18. The 5 Winning ways 4. He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared Sun Tzu Poker is all about deception and guile.
    19. 19. The 5 Winning ways 5. He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign Sun Tzu The poker player too, has interference, not from a sovereign but by emotions. Don’t let the heart interfere with the head
    20. 20. Attack By Stratagem <ul><li>In respect of military method, we have, </li></ul><ul><li>Measurement </li></ul><ul><li>Estimation of quantity </li></ul><ul><li>Calculation </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing of chances </li></ul><ul><li>Victory. </li></ul><ul><li>Sun Tzu </li></ul>
    21. 21. Attack By Stratagem <ul><li>In respect of poker method, we have, </li></ul><ul><li>Measurement – Hand value </li></ul><ul><li>Estimation of quantity – players still in the pot </li></ul><ul><li>Calculation – Cost of entry into the pot </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing of chances – cost vs % chance </li></ul><ul><li>Victory. </li></ul><ul><li>Sun Tzu </li></ul>
    22. 22. Intelligence - Information The work of intelligence cannot succeed without subtlety and ingenuity. Therefore, subtly, very subtly, the use of intelligence must not be neglected. Sun Tzu In poker too subtelty and ingenuity applies in the use of gathering and using intelligence (information)
    23. 23. Intelligence - Information Only a wise ruler and brilliant leaders who are able to conduct intelligence with superiority and cleverness, are certain to achieve great results. Sun Tzu
    24. 24. Intelligence - Information A commander who does not want to buy information is not a good leader. Hence, can never win in battles. Sun Tzu     Sometimes, in poker, you have to bet to get the information you need     
    25. 25. Using Intelligence in Poker <ul><li>You must be smart enough to correlate data. </li></ul><ul><li>You must be open and unbiased to evaluate it. </li></ul><ul><li>If you aren’t sensitive to subtleties, you won’t find the truth in information. </li></ul><ul><li>You must pay close attention to small details. </li></ul><ul><li>Information is helpful in every aspect of the game. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes you have to pay for information by betting. </li></ul>
    26. 26. Terrain Terrain can help put one's army in an advantageous position. But it is superior commanders that puts the advantage to good use by calculating the distance or proximity of dangers and obstructions – Sun Tzu
    27. 27. The Poker Battlefield Understanding the nuances of terrain in poker
    28. 28. Terrain Six type of position terrain Must be studied carefully and understood well by all commanders Sun Tzu In Poker we reduce this to four
    29. 29. Terrain - <ul><li>1. Easy terrain : </li></ul><ul><li>- Late position - Dealer and Cut Off Accessible to both yourself and enemy and those who occupies higher ground on this terrain has an edge over the opponent. </li></ul><ul><li>In Poker he who has position has the higher ground. </li></ul>
    30. 30. Terrain <ul><li>2. Difficult terrain : - Blinds - Small and Big Blinds </li></ul><ul><li>Areas which are easy to enter but difficult to withdraw later. If opponent is unprepared, those who move first will win. </li></ul><ul><li>Sun Tzu </li></ul><ul><li>It is easy to be drawn into battle from blind position. Use caution. Blind vs Blind normally the first to bet will win. </li></ul>
    31. 31. Terrain <ul><li>3. Neutral terrain </li></ul><ul><li>- Middle Position </li></ul><ul><li>Areas where both you and your enemy find difficulty to launch an offensive. Despite any advantage, do not move first. </li></ul><ul><li>Sun Tzu </li></ul><ul><li>Middle position in Poker requires caution and more attention to hand values </li></ul>
    32. 32. Terrain <ul><li>4. Distant Terrain - Early Position </li></ul><ul><li>Areas where both forces are equal and difficult to provoke a challenge. A challenge will not be advantageous. </li></ul><ul><li>Sun tzu </li></ul><ul><li>Fold all but the top ten starting hands. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    33. 33. Poker and Position <ul><li>In Poker and in war position matters </li></ul><ul><li>Later Positions have more information </li></ul><ul><li>More Information means informed decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid engagements from inferior position. </li></ul>
    34. 34. Deception All warfare is based on deception. Sun Tzu
    35. 35. Paradox of Strategies <ul><li>The capable: Must pretend to be incapable . </li></ul><ul><li>When able: Appear unable . </li></ul><ul><li>When active: appear inactive . </li></ul><ul><li>When close: Appear distant . </li></ul><ul><li>When distant: Appear close . </li></ul><ul><li>When complete: Appear to prepare . </li></ul><ul><li>When angry: Appear to submit . </li></ul><ul><li>When comfortable: Appear to toil </li></ul>
    36. 36. Reading Deception <ul><li>Simulated disorder postulates - perfect discipline, </li></ul><ul><li>Simulated fear postulates - courage </li></ul><ul><li>Simulated weakness – postulates strength. </li></ul><ul><li>Sun Tzu </li></ul>
    37. 37. Sun Tzu identified 5 dangerous faults which could lead to a generals downfall. It is as applicable to a Poker player 5 Dangerous Faults
    38. 38. <ul><li>Recklessness, which leads to destruction </li></ul><ul><li>Poker has a way of humbling </li></ul><ul><li>those who get overconfident </li></ul>5 Dangerous Faults
    39. 39. 2. Cowardice, which leads to capture In poker parlance - losing your nerve or fear of betting 5 Dangerous Faults
    40. 40. 3. A hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults In poker parlance – Prone to steaming or going on tilt. Letting the actions of others “Get” to you 5 Dangerous Faults
    41. 41. 4. A delicacy of honour which is sensitive to shame There is a moral code in poker but it bears no relevance to morality in society. Lies and deceit are tools of the trade for a poker player 5 Dangerous Faults
    42. 42. 5. Over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble In Poker our men are our chips. You have to send them out to do battle. 5 Dangerous Faults
    43. 43. Foretelling Triumph Those who will win, compute a great number of factors before a challenge. Those who are defeated, compute a small number of factors before a challenge. Sun Tzu
    44. 44. In Poker Foretelling Triumph Each hand is a challenge. Take into account all the factors before deciding to enter the hand. Enter only the challenges that favour you. In the longer term you should be victorious over those who do not compute all the factors
    45. 45. A final thought (apply to you and poker) The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected. Sun Tzu