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Art of Poker

All warfare is based on deception

Many stop at taking steps to deceive the enemy thinking this is enough. But to take this statement fully into account, you also must learn how the enemy is deceiving you.

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Where We Intend To Fight Must Not Be Made Known

The spot where we intend to fight must not be made known; for then the enemy will have to prepare against a possible attack at several different points.

Choosing Your Battlefield

The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.

Setting Up An Ambush

By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.

You Can't Lose

Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.

The Five Faults

There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general. When an army is overthrown and its leader slain, the cause will surely be found among these five dangerous faults.

Using Direct and Indirect Methods

To ensure that your whole host may withstand the brunt of the enemy's attack and remain unshaken - this is effected by maneuvers direct and indirect.

Know The Enemy and Know Yourself

Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Compare Your Opponents Style With Your Own

Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient.

Before you go about choosing a battlefield, deceiving your enemy, or choosing a player that you would like to try to take out, you should first carefully watch the way your opponents play. Usually, you will have a chance to watch a few hands, unless your one of those players that likes to play every hand.

One big thing to watch is how they play good and bad hands. You'll notice in most hands that one player tends to bet aggressively while the other(s) simply call. When their cards come up you have the opportunity to learn a lot. As discussed in All Warfare Is Based On Deception, you should try to focus most of your energy on players who can take you out of the game, or who you think you can easily defeat.

Watch carefully whether the players who were betting, or the ones who are calling are the ones who won. If a player who only calls (even if they bet the river) wins, then they should be watched carefully for slow betting or check-raising (where they check early then bet hard). If a player wins while aggressively betting then also watch their bets in hands where they don't have a great hand. Novice players have large gaps between their betting styles when they do have a hand and when they don't.

Always keep in mind potential bluffs. If a player wins a hand without having to show their cards, they've potentially bluffed the hand. While you'll never know, you should always watch for players who win an unordinary amount of pots this way. You will have to face them at some point, and having a good idea as to the signs they display when they end up winning hands this way is a must. If it happens frequently then you'll have a good idea what type of hand you'll need when they show the signs you've come to recognize as a bluff.

Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.

First you must find weak points in your opponents game. Weak points can be found by watching the amounts your opponent bets on given hands, how often they win without showing their hand, whether they like to raise early in the hand or later in the hand, how they play in situations where there are potential straights or flushes, how they play pocket pairs, how liberal or conservative they are with their chips. The second thing you must do to shape your victory in relation to your opponent is to listen to what they have while you are betting against them. If the flop comes up A(H) K(S) 4(S) and you have a king in early position (where you must bet before your opponents do), then you have to find a way to determine what they have without influencing how they bet. If you bet hard you will have no idea what they are calling with, if you check they may only bet because you did, so you need to bet an amount that gives nothing away in your hand so that their bet will be the same as it would be if they had early position. You still have two betting rounds to extract chips, so always hide what you have on the flop and listen closely to what the other players are giving away about their hands.

How victory may be produced for them out of the enemy's own tactics--that is what the multitude cannot comprehend.

If a weakness cannot be found, then make one. The enemies tactics will reveal either a weakness or a strength that you can leverage into a weakness. Knowing your opponent strengths gives you a serious advantage. You gain the advantage of being able to avoid that strength. When you see the signs you've noticed of that strength you will be able to neutralize it. Never attack a source of strength, instead allow them to use that source of strength until you can use it to your favor (like when you have the best possible hand). Watch for players to get cocky when a tactic is successful several times. They will overextend themselves at some point.

While you listen, remember that you have few chances to inflict real damage on your opponent. Once you've beaten them in a significant hand, they will reconsider their strategy. Expect the signs to change, and relearn your opponent each time you inflict damage upon them. Minor hands are unimportant, but if you've taken over a third of their chips then they are going to be making adjustments. Most likely the source of strength that you have used to extract chips from your opponent will be neutralized and using similar tactics in a similar situation later in the game would be a mistake.

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