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Why I Write

by Gavin Griffin |  Published: Oct 16, 2013


Gavin GriffinFor a very long time, I was opposed to giving away my strategies and ideas about poker because I held them precious. I thought that doling out my strategies would have too big of an impact on my bottom line. This was an insanely arrogant viewpoint and one I’ve obviously since ditched. I remember the point in my career when I decided that I would be OK with teaching. I was talking to Gavin Smith at some tournament or other. He told me he was heading to a WPT Boot Camp the next week. I gave him my view of the idea of teaching and he said something to me that has stuck with me. He said, “you can teach some people day and night and they’ll never learn anything from you because they’re too stubborn or won’t pay attention. Others will learn quickly and pick things up right away. Those people would have learned one way or another, so I might as well get paid for it.” This is such a simple idea and yet so true. Here’s how I know it to be true. I have taught at seminars and written these articles for a few years now and every time I teach at a seminar, I see people take the information we just gave them about different tournament situations and ignore it when they’re actually playing. Others will ask me about an article I wrote and I’ll explain a little more to them and they’ll pick it up right away, and the next time I’m playing with them they are applying that information to the game. It had become clear to me that there really is a difference between those who actually want to learn and therefore can’t be stopped from learning and those who clearly don’t.

That’s not the only reason I write and teach. I also find that it helps me to focus on my game a little bit better. I think that I’m playing the best poker of my life these days and that’s due in no small part to the fact that I’m writing an article for this magazine every other week. It forces me to pay more attention to how I’m playing both in an effort to be successful as a player to gain credibility and to find more situations that are good for teaching. It’s true, not every hand is interesting enough to make an 800-1000 word article, but they come up. In fact, the other day I was playing Day 1 of the Legends of Poker at the Bike and a hand came up that I wasn’t sure if I should write about or not. It was an interesting hand, but the lesson behind it was kind of nebulous and difficult to put down on paper. It boiled down to my opponent’s story not making much sense and the change of plans I had during the hand. I’m still deciding whether I could write up the hand as an article by itself, but one of the other players at my table came up to me a couple of days later to ask about the hand. I described how I felt about the hand and what my thought process was, something I don’t necessarily do that often with people I don’t know, and he told me that he thinks I should write it up in an article. It was a nice gesture and that brings me to the last reason that I write.

I continue to write because I enjoy hearing about the people whom it helps. It’s nice to hear from people on a regular basis that they enjoy my articles and that I’ve helped to make them better. I get that quite often, and, at the risk of inflating my ego too much, continue to enjoy hearing it. Where I used to loathe giving away any information, I’m a little freer with it now. I think I have some things in my game that I couldn’t ever translate well enough for people to understand, and I gain some value from my ability to read people physically, but other than that I don’t have many secrets left.

Some ask me if it makes it harder for me to play with people reading my articles and I’m not quite sure how to answer that. Most of the time, no it doesn’t, because my guess is that the vast majority of players fall into the category of being too stubborn to learn from the things they are taught. I think that my game is also continually evolving, making it tough to pin me down to one specific style, making the edges of my strategies a little harder to deal with while the core remains the same.

Since I receive thanks quite often for the articles that I write, let me take the time here and now to thank each and every one of my readers. You guys are very thoughtful in your praise or criticism of my articles and I enjoy talking to you guys about the articles. Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to do so. ♠

Gavin Griffin was the first poker player to capture a World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour title and has amassed nearly $5 million in lifetime tournament winnings. Griffin is sponsored by You can follow him on Twitter @NHGG