Do You Know Your Opponent’s Poker IQ?

I have a friend who’s like my younger brother. We’ll call him Joey. Joey was a nobody before the fateful day in 1999 when he won $1 million at the WSOP. I first heard about Joey back in the casino. I was working the cage shift and heard about how he got lucky and won. I asked myself “Why did he win? What did he do to win?”

Simple. He had a good game plan.

Any game plan will make you successful if you execute it to perfection. The problem with Joey is that he didn’t execute his plan to perfection. Because of that, he lost every penny he ever won.

Make sure your opponent doesn’t have a good game plan. And, execute his plan to perfection. It’s that simple. You don’t have to be a genius to succeed in poker. All you have to do is be willing to learn the right strategy and do what it takes to make it work for you.

And, just like the good old poker story, “Joey the Irish Pint” was also a poker story worthy of being a chapter in my book.

One day in Vegas, Joey was playing in a crowded casino. There were only a handful of players at his table, but Joey could do no wrong. That night he won big. $1, irn his head. $1 million!

Then he went to the casino and lost it all again.

This time there was $ individually written out as a bet on the Turn and River. Joey scanned the cards, frowning, figuring out how much he would bet. When he lost, again, he began to panic. He lost $20 over and over and tried to lose it again. One hand at a time. $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $200, and Joey was still losing. April, May, June, July and August. August felt like forever. Only Joey was missing.

Finally, around Thanksgiving, Joey cracked. He came to and said, “Hey, I have it! I have the stone! I’m no longerambling!”

As he turned away, the casino supervisor approached him and implored, “No, no, no! Don’t do it. Don’t do it!”

But Joey, however determined, pushed his chip into the middle and stood up, his courage deserted by fear. The supervisor backed away, pale as he turned.

Joey fell to his knees and prayed for the strength to breakeven no matter what the odds were. With both hands perp walkers, two players walked away from the table $5,000 richer.

As I read in the newspaper the next day, Joey’s gamblers were few and far between. Most gamblers either go for the thrill of the game or for the action. For most of us, the thrill of the game is having a bet placed on a football game. At least you can do that in Las Vegas.

There are simply too many people in the world who lack the discipline to use self-discipline for gambling.

Where do you draw the line? Where does gambling morally begin and end?

Gambling is simply a game of luck. Is there any skill in picking which numbers will appear next? There can be no skill. There is no way to predict when you will be struck by lightning. There are no rainbow signs above saying “Dewavegas!” Though there can be reasons why one number has remained on the board longer than another. We leave the matter of skill in the hands of Lady Luck.

But there is something more. Just as there are Lady Luck and weather reports, there is a different method of handicapping a football game. And that is by team fundamentals.

Most people say the same thing every time: Don’t pick the home team. The home-field advantage has proved itself decisive throughout the centuries. Even in defeat its presenceorns the most favorite team to win. How can you explain this?

Simply, it’s prediction of things that have yet to happen. Such trends are more or less visible both in theory and in practice. They are called “systems” and they are very attractive. Some systems are sound and can make you a lot of money. But a sound system is just a dream. One that doesn’t make you broke also, is a valuable pick.

In Britain, the betting public seems to have had had no better idea. During the 1970s and 80s, the home-field advantage was clear. In the National League, home teams were 20-1. There was no away advantage, as there could be no away teams. In the old First Division, home teams were 15-1; there was no away advantage either.

Why then did the best team lose?

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