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by Greg Raymer |  Published: Jan 27, 2021


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Greg Raymer Please let me encourage you to reach out to me with article ideas and questions for future columns. You can tweet to me at @FossilMan, or send me a message at

Often enough, we get lost in a hand, and are very unsure what to do. When facing a decision for a lot of chips, emotions can start to kick in and hinder us in making the smartest decision. In those moments, one thing I recommend for my students is a technique to take themselves out of the equation for a moment, and thereby help themselves make the best decision.

We’re all familiar with the common term ‘WWJD,’ or ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ It is a technique used by some Christians to help themselves make life decisions with significant moral implications. Instead of figuring out what you should do, you try to figure out what this other person, whom you trust, would do if they were in your position.

This technique can frequently work very well to remove your emotions from the decision. I discuss this technique in Chapter 32 of my book, FossilMan’s Winning Tournament Strategies. The title of this chapter is ‘Emotional Concerns,’ and this is just one of the things I discuss. However, for many students, this is the best method for avoiding emotional mistakes.

Although it may sound a little silly to ask yourself “What Would FossilMan Do?,” that is what I recommend to my students. Facing a tough decision, they should step back, and imagine they were talking to me about this hand. Maybe it is during a private lesson, or maybe they’ve just read my book. But they step back, pretend they have told me about the situation, and now imagine what I would tell them to do.

Then, just do it!

Of course, it need not be WWFD, as you can replace me with anybody whom you trust to give you good poker advice. If you have a friend with whom you talk strategy regularly, put them in your mind instead. Or, what might work better, is to instead imagine that your poker buddy has come to you for advice. Imagine they have described this situation they were in, and are asking you for help. Now, just follow your own advice.

I think many of you will be surprised at how well this technique can work. Instead of thinking about what you want to do now, which includes the entire emotional situation you are in, you are instead thinking about the advice you might receive from me, or advice you might give to a friend. Next time you face a big decision, are having doubts about what to do, and are feeling emotional about the decision, give this technique a trial run, and see how it goes. I can’t guarantee you will make the best decision, but I can promise you this will increase the chances of your making the smartest decision possible.

Have fun, and play smart! ♠

Greg Raymer is the 2004 World Series of Poker main event champion, winner of numerous major titles, and has more than $7 million in earnings. He recently authored FossilMan’s Winning Tournament Strategies, available from D&B Publishing, Amazon, and other retailers. He is sponsored by Blue Shark Optics, YouStake, and ShareMyPair. To contact Greg please tweet @FossilMan or visit his website.