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Gaming Guru

 

Tournament Poker and The Art of War -- Sun-Tzu's Strategies

4 March 2005

More than 2,000 years ago a Chinese general named Sun-tzu authored a book about warfare. The text has inspired military experts, businessmen and athletes to find an edge ever since.

Can the same principles be applied to the game of poker--particularly tournament poker?

Author David Apostolico says yes, and in his Tournament Poker and the Art of War (151 pages, paperbound, $12.95) he teaches players how to "adopt a warrior's mindset in order to gain a psychological edge" and succeed in tournament poker.

This is a book about understanding yourself as a player while understanding who you have to face in battle and learning to survive--a key element in no-limit poker tournament play.

Risk, deception, exploiting a situation to your own benefit, waiting for the right time to eliminate an opponent, and adjusting your play accordingly are all factors to understand and master.

Sun-tzu courtesy of Apostolico's interpretation and application to the game of poker makes sense. Often it's common sense, other times like learning to eliminate mistakes through self-evaluation.

"There is no better situation in all of poker than to be all-in with at least one caller when you have the nuts," the author says. But learning how to get your opponent to bet all-in to you when you have the nuts requires that you project weakness.

Smartly offering a specific example like the time Johnny Chan flopped a nut straight against Erik Seidel in the 1988 World Series of Poker, the author re-creates the hand, explaining how Chan maximized his profit by lulling his opponent into a false expectation of exploitation.

The book examines position, the chip stack, gaining control of the table, and providing your opponent an opportunity to make a mistake.

Testing you opponents, the power of keen observation, project a strong table image--these areas have been discussed in other books, but rarely with such keen examples, in short powerful bursts of advice.

This is a sharp, smart, right-to-the-bone book for every level player. Priced right and written with a feeling for the game, it's a helpful tutorial to shore up weak points and to bolster the confidence of those who need a helping hand to improve their game.

For those poker players who truly want to examine how well or poorly they've played, there's an interesting new publication titled The Original Poker Diary (Write. Study. Play. Win is the subtitle) and it was created by Jonas Barrish. This 361-page paperbound, which sells for $14.95, is designed to be an improvement workbook. Here, you'll keep notes on your previous session, the game you played, the amount you began with, what you eventually walked away with, and how many hours you played.

Memorable hands, bad beats, tells noted, notes on other players, whether the game was live or online--you'll have ample room to record notes--to help you do a mental replay of the previous day's or night's session. If you can isolate your mistakes, recall certain tells you picked up from opponents you may face again--all these are helpful, for the dedicated player seeking improvement and direction.

The book will fit easily into a car's glove compartment or an attaché case--it's a little chunky for a sport jacket pocket.

It might also be used to convince the IRS you kept careful records of your wins and losses should you ever be audited.

Tournament Poker and The Art of War -- Sun-Tzu's Strategies is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com