People say chess has a lot of similarities to war. I’d say poker has more of them. A war is a conflict fought with imperfect information. Nothing is hidden in chess; however, there’s a lot of imperfect information in poker. If you view poker as a battle, the similarities are astounding.
The blinds are what you’re fighting over, whether they’re for monetary, political, or religious gain. The button signifies who will have more strategic information in the conflict. The stacks are the armies and the hole cards are the routes to battle.
The flop is the battlefield. The turn and river signify outside forces like drought, famine, and disease. The bets and raises signify how troops are dispersed. The rake is the stress that war will put on your empire. Your bankroll is your empire and you are its leader.
A great general feigns weakness when strong and exudes strength when weak — just as a great poker player conceals the strength of his hand. A great leader creates a powerful image and uses it to influence the masses — just as a great poker player is keenly aware of how he’s perceived.
Everything you say and do can be to your advantage or to your detriment. Every question you ask is a spy you sent to gather information about the opposition. Every tactic you implement should seek to sabotage your opponent and demoralize his army.
Tilt leads to irrational decision-making. You can’t take things personally — you’re the general. All is fair in love and war. You have to be rational. Gather as much intel as possible. Seek wisdom.
Give your opponents plenty of misinformation with a hint of truth here and there. Allow them to feel safe and secure. Let them think they know it all. Wait for the opportune moment and mercilessly destroy them all. Poker is not a gambling game.
Poker is war.
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