Wednesday, January 18, 2006

In Principle

There's only one hard and fast rule in poker: it depends.

Rules of thumb are situational. Nothing applies against everyone.

Fish are fishy by nature, but that doesn't mean they're fishy in the same ways. Trying to use the same formulas against different kinds of players seems like trying to use the same pickup line over and over again.

Against those 100 percent true believer maniacs last night, I could have made a lot more money had I paid closer attention. Instead, I committed to a single-minded commandment: thou shalt not fold after seeing the flop heads-up against these fools. Now, I don't think it was a bad idea to never fold to players who would bet and raise with any two cards; I do think it was silly to rigidly adhere to my principles without thinking them through depending on the situation at hand.

I'm beginning to think that the reason so many people are losing players in the long run is that they fail to adjust. Perhaps many players find a winning strategy and stick to it. Then when they start to lose, they have a hard time understanding why. Worse still, maybe their adherence to the lessons they've learned through tens of thousands of hands is exactly the reason they keep losing. I don't know if that's what happens. It's juts a theory. It's probably more likely that players simply suck at poker.

The point is that knowing is only half the battle. The other half is execution. Play well.

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