Poker: You Can Quote Me on That
new (October, 2001) quotes:
looking for a poetic quality to poker it might be this. A
competition among finely tuned senses pursuing, gathering,
and applying information that's honed into knowledge and comes
to fruition as know-how at the poker table. And it's all accomplished
poker writer worth his salt has made the observation that
the lessons of poker are the lessons of life
is true too. The very skills that make some people so successful
in life can be applied to poker just as easily. After all,
the vast majority of players have a life away form the poker
table, and if better poker skills make you a better performer
in the real world, so much the better.
the basics are clear for all to see, poker excellence can
be elusive, and much more an art than a science at it's highest
article originally appeared in Card
column marks a milestone for me: my 200th article for Card
Player. There's no celebration planned - at least none
that I know of. After all, no one else would have realized
I've written that many columns. I probably would have overlooked
it too, but I noticed it while backing up my computer files.
Card Player's May 17, 1992 issue was only 82 pages, and
printed on newspaper stock, but it had a glossy cover with
a photograph of Kenny Rogers playing poker. June Field,
who founded the magazine, was the publisher back then and
Maryanne Guberman was in charge of production.
the nucleus of Card Player's writing team was in place,
and it included: Mike Caro, Nelson Rose, Michael Wiesenberg,
Roy West, Bob Ciaffone, Arnold Snyder, Susie Isaacs, Lawrence
Hill, and Mike Cappelletti. Any writer on board since Volume
1, Number 1 who hasn't missed a beat would have passed the
300-column mark sometime last autumn and ought to be planning
a celebration too.
200 columns is a lot of typing. At an average of 1,250 words
per piece, that's a quarter of a million words - quite a
lot by anyone's standards.
It began unceremoniously enough - the first of a three-part
series called "The Dynamics of Strategy" appeared on page
20 of Volume 5, Number 8. When I decided I wanted to write
for Card Player, I prepared seven articles and submitted
them along with a cover letter expressing my goals for the
column. I also requested an in-person meeting to review
my work. When I came away from the meeting knowing that
I'd be in print within the month, I wondered whether I'd
bitten off more than I could chew. "Could I," I pondered,
"be able to continue to turn out a column every two weeks
- or had I already written all I had to say about poker?"
like the saying goes, "Ninety percent of success is just
showing up," and I continued to show up each issue for the
past eight years. The more I wrote, the more I had to say,
and the result has been a quarter of a million words, as
well as a book in 1995, my second book in 1997, and my third
book, Poker For Dummies, in 2000.
My personal celebration involved perusing each of my 200
columns and pulling my favorite poker quotes to share with
you. I don't know if any of these will make it to Bartlett's
Familiar Quotations, but if someone ever complies a
book of quotable poker quotes, I hope to see a few of mine
Poker and the American Dream
Poker is a microcosm of all we admire and disdain about capitalism
and democracy. It can be rough-hewn or polished, warm or cold,
charitable and caring, or hard and impersonal, fickle and
elusive, but ultimately it is fair, and right, and just.
There's opportunity in poker…If Horace Greeley were alive
today, his advice wouldn't be "Go West, young man, and grow
up with the country." Instead, he'd point to that deck of
cards on table and say, "Shuffle up and deal."
Not only is poker good for you, it's the American way -
where winners play fair, have the right stuff, and nothing
else matters - except, perhaps, a bit of luck every now
I believe in poker the way I believe in the American Dream.
Poker is good for you. It enriches the soul, sharpens the
intellect, heals the spirit, and - when played well, nourishes
Poker and Gambling
I'm a poker player. Some might call me a gambler, but I
draw a distinction. A gambler plays when the odds are immutable
and against him. I don't. That's why there is a large coterie
of professional poker players, but not a single, solitary,
professional roulette or craps player. In poker, good players
win and poor players lose.
Commitment, Dedication and Self-Deception
Some 250 years ago, Jonathan Swift said, "Satire is a
sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's
face but their own." The analogy also holds true for
losing poker players. They see flaws in everyone's play
but their own.
You will succumb to all your flaws as a poker player during
the period you are struggling, growing, and reaching for
a higher level of skill. Just because you've read all the
books by all the experts, don't deceive yourself into believing
that you're going to play as well as they do. The best poker
books will teach you how to talk the talk. You'll have to
learn to walk the walk on your own!
without discipline is wasted, and talent without knowledge
is merely unrealized potential.
Learn from better players. Model their behavior. Learn their
secrets and determine how they keep from going on tilt.
If the shoe fits, steal it!
key to excellence is making a commitment. Wishing is not
enough. Neither is mere involvement. There's a difference
between involvement and commitment. It's like ham and eggs.
The chicken is involved; the ham is committed!
have it in your power to turn a bad-beat around simply by
realizing this simple truth: The more bad beats you encounter,
the luckier you are. It's a sign that you are playing
against opponents who continually take the worst of it,
and if you can't beat someone who always takes the worst
of it, you can't beat anyone.
Bankrolls and Money
Stop loss limits, and quitting once you've won a predetermined
amount of money, will neither stop your losses if you are
a losing player nor protect your profits if you're ahead.
If you are not a winning player, your bankroll will never
be large enough. To completely eliminate the possibilities
of ever going broke, losing players need a big enough bankroll
to outlast their life expectancy.
A professional poker player should realize that every dollar
he wins will not be added to his bankroll. After all, he
has to pay rent and buy groceries just like anyone else.
Reducing one's bankroll converts capital into income - and
the distinction is an important one. Change too much capital
into income and you've eaten your seed corn.
Limit poker is like a job. As long as you're a winning player,
the more hours you put in, the more money you'll earn.
Forget about money management. Forget about quitting when
you're ahead or quitting once you've lost some predetermined
amount of money. If the game is good and you're ahead, why
not keep playing? Chances are you'll win even more money.
If you're losing, but haven't let your losses get the better
of your emotions and you're still making good decisions
at the table, there is absolutely no reason to quit. On
the other hand, if the game is bad you should quit or look
for a softer game regardless of whether you're winning or
On Tips For Winning
of the money you'll win at poker comes not from the brilliance
of your own play, but from the ineptitude of your opponents.
In poker, position means power. It is always advantageous
to act after you've had the benefit of seeing what your
I believe the single most important decision in any form
of poker is game selection; determining which cards to enter
a hand with runs a close second.
Whenever you're inclined to call a bet, ask yourself this:
Instead of calling, is it better to raise, or would folding
be the best decision? Many players look for reasons
to call. While calling can be almost automatic in certain
situations, raising or folding is frequently a better choice.
When the cards have evened out in the long run, the true
measure of any player's skill is the quality of decisions
he made. Make better decisions and you'll win money...It's
Hold'em - like life itself - has its defining moment. It's
the flop. When you see the flop, you're looking a 71 percent
of your hand, and the cost is only a single round of betting.
The first rule of analysis at the table is to gather as
much information as you can when you're not involved in
a hand. During the play of a hand you simply don't have
time for complex analysis. But if you have a substantial
amount of game experience you won't run into many situations
that are entirely new. That's why there is no substitute
for real game experience coupled with theoretical knowledge,
and molded into practical know-how.
By avoiding marginal confrontations on the green felt battlefield
that require you to put additional money into the pot when
it's a close decision, you can play on a shorter bankroll.
If you're a winning player, you'll eventually win just as
much money. It will just take more hours of play to reach
Keep flopping aces.
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