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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.

Deceiving Your Enemy

For should the enemy strengthen his van, he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his van; If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Deceiving the enemy is not possible, on a consistent basis, unless you know both the enemy and yourself. This article will examine the elements of knowing yourself and knowing your enemy that are necessary for deceiving your opponent and winning at poker.

While you will never know what cards your opponent happens to be holding you should have a good idea of the signs they are providing to you. The following questions should help you to judge what type of hand they have in a given situation:

  • What type of bets do they make with inferior hands?
  • What type of bets do they make with dominating hands?
  • Does the time it takes them to make a decision differ between good hands and bad hands?
  • How risk averse is your opponent?
  • Has your opponent shown signs that they are comfortable with bluffing?
  • Does your opponent have any perceptions of your playing style?
  • Has your opponent won an unordinary number of hands without having to show their cards?
  • Does your opponent win small amounts with good hands?

There are several reasons you have to know yourself. The most important of all is to stop yourself from doing something stupid. Too many players know that there will be a better opportunity to engage their opponent, yet they call a large raise on a hand that they shouldn't. Either they think the opponent is bluffing, or they are simply trapped because they have overextended themselves. While you play, keep track of how often you disregard your judgment.

If you know that you get trapped easily, don't play hands you wouldn't go all-in on. If you think your opponent is bluffing, but you will lose if you are wrong, let them have the hand and they will provide you with another opportunity to find out. If a certain tactic works it will generally be used again. Do not overextend yourself until you know your opponent. In hands where you don't know your opponent you may receive one or two indicators of your opponents hand strength at most (maybe none). However, once you understand your enemy you will receive at least five, and probably more, every single hand you play with them. Wait for a hand to come where you know what your dealing with before you take your big risks, because you will then be making educated risks which will drastically increase your chances for victory.

The second reason to know yourself is so that you can know what signs you are giving your opponent. We all give signs with the way we bet, and all of the questions discussed above that you should be asking about your enemy you should reverse and ask about yourself:

  • Has the enemy seen how I bet with inferior hands?
  • Has the enemy seen how I bet with dominating hands?
  • Does the time it takes me to make a decision differ between good hands and bad hands?
  • How risk averse does the enemy see me as?
  • Has my opponent seen any indications that I am comfortable with bluffing?
  • Have I given my opponent the chance to make any judgements about how I bet?
  • Have I recently won an unordinary number of hands without having to show my cards?
  • Has the enemy seen me bet less than I could have with a good hand?

Knowing yourself means knowing where you are weak and where you are strong. But that is only half of knowing yourself. To completely know yourself you need to know what the enemy sees when they look at you. That is what they base their decisions on, and if you know what they are basing their decisions on you have a much better idea of whether you should advance or retreat.

Tiger Gaming

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