The Foundations of Poker

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Chapter 9: Final Thoughts

Poker is truly a game for all people to enjoy, though for some to maximally enjoy it they will play less than others. Everyone should always be looking to improve the same way anyone who plays billiards or chess always looks to improve. One should never ask another player they do not know about how to play hands as that person has a conflict of interest. One should play in a way such that one can be profitable without regard for the profits of the other players at the table. The only opinions of others relevant to one’s ability to play the best game of cards one can is how the opponents will perceive one’s range, likeliness to bluff, and one’s tells. One should always strive to throw the opponents off their expectations. I sincerely hope that everyone who reads this book can learn what I have learned over years of playing poker and implement it in their own games. A player needs to master standard play before they can make deviations and come up with unique solutions to making money in poker. Beyond standard poker, everyone has to develop their own strategies based on how the table perceives them, and thus what works well for me may not work well for others. The more chips a player invest in a hand, the more glued they should be to their hand. If a player has a great starting hand and is not heavily invested, for instance on a dangerous board such as 9TJ of all hearts, a player should not go wild with AJ of spades and should instead wait for a better opportunity to stack off. One should always be adjusting strategies to the players at a game, noting that younger players tend to be much for aggressive than older players and one should adjust ranges accordingly. As strategies are not in a vacuum, once one implements a strategy for long enough, it becomes important to reinvent one’s strategy to maintain a strategy that comes close to GTO, which changes all the time. In 2016, in high stakes poker, the two biggest trends were very small river bets and overbetting the pot. While these techniques may work for some professionals, they will not work for everyone and when the poker community catches on to trends, those trends become part of standard poker and GTO changes. The higher the level of play, the more necessary it is for one to find unique solutions that work for them to play close to GTO. One should never move up in stakes until he or she can beat the stakes at which he or she is currently playing. When one moves to higher stakes, one must allow for an adjustment period to profit at the new stakes. If one ever feels the urge to do something other than poker, unless in the middle of a tournament, one should leave a game as one will not be playing to the best of one’s ability. Whenever one is playing poker, one should implement the strategies discussed in this book starting with standard and then moving on to approaching GTO, give the game 100% of their focus, trust one’s gut it difficult situations, and most importantly enjoy the beauty of the game. My final message to help a player is to focus on good decision making rather than the results of that decision, sometimes someone will have aces against kings and lose with aces, but because they win much for often than they lose, in the long run, they will find profits. Poker is a game of skill that attracts mediocre players due to its luck-induced variance, but in the long run, skilled players will always be profitable and thus one should focus on making exceptional decisions, and the money will follow in doing so.

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