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Mind Over Poker - A State of Mind

by David Apostolico |  Published: Jan 07, 2011


I’m often asked my opinion as to the most important skill that one needs to succeed in poker. My one-word answer typically surprises the questioner: empathy. While this is the short answer, a much longer and more detailed explanation is necessary, so here goes. You are probably familiar with time-honored maxims in poker along the lines of: “What counts is not the cards that you hold, but the cards that your opponent holds.” In my opinion, that is only partially true. To completely understand your opponent’s position, you must know how he views his cards. That’s why inexperienced players are so tough to figure out. It’s hard to judge the worth of their holdings when they don’t know. Furthermore, we all have a tendency to project our own frame of reference on others. We may not put an opponent on pocket jacks because we would never play them that way. ...

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