Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Poker Decisions & Tommy Angelo 

There is something to be learned here for many of us. I mean, I love discussing hands with my poker buddies as much as the next guy, but there's something to be said from taking assumptions of 'right or wrong' too far.

In Tommy Angelo's poker book, he makes this assertion, which I fully agree with.


In the land of the closest poker decisions - we can easily expect disagreement over which decisions are best. We can expect intelligent, elaborate debates with both sides insisting theirs is the right side. We can also expect to debate with ourselves and to second guess ourselves. "Did I get it right this time?"

And that's why I say: The decisions that trouble us most are the ones that matter least.

Let's say you face a close betting decision, and afterwards, you want a definite answer. You want to know, one way or the other, if your play was right or wrong.


That's a mistake. Just by thinking like that, about right and wrong, you are making a mistake. If you play a hand, and you face a close decision, and then you write about it or talk it, I think that's great - seriously. Or if you talk about hands other people played, same thing. All good.

But be careful. Don't fall into the gray area trap.

Don't burn up valuable energy and waste precious sanity. Don't assume that just because you have an answer, and just because someone else has a different answer, that one of you is right and the other is wrong.

Let's say I have the button and everyone folds around to me. Depending on ym cards, and my opponents, and other variables, it might be obvious to me what my best choice is, or it might not be obvious at all. Should I assume that there is always a right answer? And even in there is a right answer, should I assume that I can always know what that answer is? I believe the answers to these questions are no and no.

I believe it is correct to believe in unknowableness. Analyze, evaluate, ponder, and then let it be. Resist the gray area's mind-snaring entrapments. When you examine a betting decision, yours or someone else's, at the table or away, on your own or with others, remind yourself that debates point to close decisions, and that close decisions matter least, and that the answer is sometimes unknowable.


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