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DOYLEISM OF THE DAY: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

by Doyle Brunson |  Published: Feb 19, '10

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I’ve never sat around the house doing nothing constructive. Since the 1st of the year, I sit at my desk all day with no plans for travel or even looking for cash games. I work on projects that I’ve been postponing for years, play online at DoylesRoom.com, read, watch TV and DVD’s. I read blogs, go to twitter several times a day, and spend a lot of time reflecting on past and future events. It is a pretty boring life but you do pick up new insights about lots of things. For example, I guess I never really understood that people regard me as one of the ancient and old-time players. Really! I don’t do a lot of time studying spreadsheets and trying to figure out my opponents patterns, etc. That stuff may work online against players you are unfamiliar with but I still believe poker is a “people game”. If you can look a player in the eye, you can learn more in a fraction of a second than a month’s worth of analyzing his play on paper. I’m not saying the paperwork has no value, but for Pete’s sake, don’t these genius youngsters understand the changing gears concept of poker? I may have certain trends in my play that can be monitored but I challenge anyone to figure out what I’m going to do in a poker game. How can they when I don’t know myself what I’m going to do until I do it? I’m always aware of certain things I do while playing a pot and I try to vary different things. That is an “old fashioned” thing called tells. Speaking of tells, all the top poker players develop what we call mini-tells on every we play with. How? By the way a newcomer handles his chips, his table talk, plus physical tells that almost everyone has. The older pros are aware of this and try to change several times in each session how they bet, etc. Even the great players sometimes are unaware of some things. For example, Stu Ungar did something that was 100% accurate. When we were playing lowball draw, it is common to pretend to look and then bet out. Stu would sometimes look at his card and bluff knowing for sure what he had. He would always make a point of being sure I saw him looking back so it would eliminate my thinking it was a “dark semi bluff”. That was golden and over the years I’ve picked up things like that on almost all the players I’ve played with. The tells have to be in the right situation always, but my point is, how do you learn things like that online? I feel I’m rambling quite a bit now but when you are doing nothing day after day, your mind gets active. Anyway, I’ve never pretended to be a bonafide online poker player so I might not know or understand some of the more complex problems. When I hear people talking about tracking devices, statkeeping software, etc. I just think WTF. So maybe it is a different world when you play online and perhaps I’m a dinosaur and don’t understand the ins and outs. But poker to me is a group of players sitting down and trying to figure out how to get the opponent’s chips. I might as well keep rambling while I’m at it. After I read blogs, forums and different poker discussions, I see where I’m perceived to be a “nit” at the poker table now. Old style, new style, doesn’t make any difference. The object of the game is to win your opponent’s chips. It’s not to make “star” plays and try to entertain an audience. I thought I was doing ok when I won 15 straight times in the TV cash games. But that doesn’t please the poker critics who want to watch spectacular plays, big pots, etc. If you want to watch poker on TV objectively, you have to realize that the way the other players play dictate the way you should play. So yes, I sit back and wait for the young guys to make mistakes. And they always do. Call me crazy, but I only see 5 or 6 players that I can think are fundamentally sound. You can get away with it sometimes but if you don’t observe some simple fundamentals, they are going to bite you in the ass. There must really be a big difference in the online play because most of the youngsters from the internet don’t have a clue. One of these days I might just twist off and show these kids how Doyle Brunson used to play. Actually, that would be stupid because right now, it’s hard to lose when these young guys are trying to make their star plays. Being an ex-basketball player, I think a good analogy is basketball at every level. Today against yesterday. The players are certainly different, but in a physical sense. Today’s players are bigger, stronger and can do things no player in my era could do. But the object of the game is the same. You try to score and keep the other team from scoring. Bottom line, you try to win. Poker isn’t a physical thing and the main thing is to win more chips than you lose. So it’s pretty difficult for me to say today’s players are better than the old-time players. You can only judge the quality by who wins and who has the staying power. Lots of room for debate here. -DB

Doyle "Tex Dolly" Brunson is a 10-time WSOP bracelet winner, best-selling author, and is known worldwide as the father of modern poker. His list of poker accomplishments and awards are endless.

 
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of CardPlayer.com.
 

Comments

michawat
almost 9 years ago

Huzzah! Doyle has comments now! I'll suck up now and say I enjoy all your blogs and books, and hope to enjoy even .01 of your success some day. Be well, sir.

 
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stopit5
almost 9 years ago

Doyle,
No need to respond to any "critics". None of them are close to you in terms of success, celebrity, or skill. The internet is filled with losers with nothing better to do than attack people whose lives they wish they could trade places with. Most of these are kids not even old enough to play in a casino let alone ever dream of playing at your level or at your stakes. It's natural for people to go at the best, or top dog, so all of these worthless attacks should really be taken as a compliment. Don't even entertain these trolls, you are and always will be a legend of near-mythic proportions.
Reference the rap song "Hi hater" by Maino

 
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mewich
almost 9 years ago

So, when is their going to be an "old school" vs "new school" challenge?

 
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abbiggs
almost 9 years ago

Doyle is right (as usual). The point is to win. If you can win consistently, then it doesn't matter which method you use.

Like in the NFL, great offenses win championships (this year's Saints, the 80's San Fran teams) and great defenses win championships (2000 Ravens, '85 Bears). Each team had a different formula that worked.

 
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TXMaxx
almost 9 years ago

AS usual Doyle is right, lets see the staying power and win loss record after 10-20 years of play.

Love your Blogs Doyle, hell man I love you too, thanks for staying in touch and hope you are feeling better!

 
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chickendinner
almost 9 years ago

I believe stats and percentages can have some advantages in certain situations. But, the biggest advantage to all the stat tracking software is that it makes tens of thousands of cocky idiots think they know what they're doing.

So pipe down a little, Doyle ;) You're killin' my action :)

 
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texasroadgambler
almost 9 years ago

Sic 'em Big Boy. When the bear's on the road the kids have to take to the bar ditch. I wonder how many of these kids from the internet could have faded the challenges of the white line? Not many, I think.

 
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gofyrslf
almost 9 years ago

I love nothing more than to hear an old-timer rant. Can't believe Doyle dropped a WTF!

 
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merc130
almost 9 years ago

Great blog as usual Doyle, get well for a deep main event run this year.

 
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SevenKidsPoppy
almost 9 years ago

I saw Nolan Ryan hit 102 when he was 23, and I saw him hit 99 when he was 44; both times gave me chills.

Doyle today is the Ryan Express at 44. You just can't get around on him, and he's wtf smarter than you.

Brilliant post.

 
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snaggs
almost 9 years ago

ask and ye shall receive on comments, huh?

Doyle is one of my heroes, but to be fair, some of the stuff he is referring to was specifically ABOUT online poker.

Now I'm not saying Doyle couldn't cut up online cash with effort, but it DOES negate the big advantage that he possesses, namely all those years of "looking a player in the eye."

However if you want to move the online guys to his table at the Bellagio I'm taking Doyle without even thinking hard.

 
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R.J. Stuffnpuff
almost 9 years ago

Doyle, it's tough to tell if you're a good poker player with such a small hand sample. I'm gonna have have to see if you're still around in another 40-50 years.
I'm glad to see you have the comments open again. I always look forward to your posts.

 
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pappyjackTX
almost 9 years ago

I would pay to see some of the "whiz kids" from the internet come to Vegas with a large satchel of cash to play Doyle.On their way home on the Greyhound you can just hear them saying,"WTF happened?"
Keep plugging Doyle.

 
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chaby
almost 9 years ago

Doyle is right in a way but i think that Doyle isn't exposed to the internet poker enough.

I think the biggest difference is Multi-tabling, thats the main reason why people use tracking software .. playing 6+ tables at once the software does alot of information gathering whereas if your playing 1 table .. i dont think the software would help very much at all.

Of course Doyle is a legend in poker and one of the best live cash game players .. but i believe that he would get crushed online by the regulars.

 
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texasroadgambler
almost 9 years ago

chaby:

Give us your opinion of what the great majority of the online players will do if the federal government finally succeeds in making it illegal?

I'll give you mine first: The great majority of them would have to peck shit with the chickens for a living.

And Doyle? Doyle would go on beating the live high stakes cash games just as he always has.

 
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fetonzio
almost 9 years ago

doyle, u rule. reading ur biography, it rules too

 
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fetonzio
almost 9 years ago

and lol R.J. Stuffnpuff, great comment.

yeah, obviously doyle would be crushed by most online regulars... NOT.

come on, how many players do u think doyle has felted? sure, some were nits, but don't u think he's seen every single trick from hundreds of maniac players too? sure, u 5-bet on a bluff and sometimes it works, and u call it a revolution in the game. but when it's doyle accross, the table, rest assured, the man is onto u. it is that simple. and watch how u handle ur chips!

 
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seamarfan269
almost 9 years ago

I'm glad Cardplayer took off your kid-gloves Doyle and let you have your "audience" back. Love your blog and loved your BIO!! Here's to a SEQUEL!! ps. Question: Did "that guy" (not Andy...that internet guy") ever get his money back??? "my 2 cents".

 
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samcan
almost 9 years ago

Doyle will always be one of the best, not just because I'm from San Antonio...it is funny to hear him rant about the online geeks who pretty much have software tell them when they need to take a dump when he has his own room.

Online players(poker for dummies) all use software. I play "live". I'd rather let my dog loose in traffic then have to play online poker. I can't believe all the software tools they use...I curiously read posts on 2+2 and it just makes me sick.

How can you really get a feel for how someones playing online and not being able to follow your instinct. Betting patterns...beat it GEEK...just watch the nosebleeds on FT and they ship it all or 3 bet pre-flop with 10,8s, 6,3 off in PLO...we'll see who's still around if it gets regulated and they no longer can be a breathing bot!

Long Live Doyle!!!!

 
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Dendra
almost 9 years ago

Interesting topic you've tangled up with there, perhaps more than usual for me this time because it obviously got me to post a comment (laziness is man's greatest enemy, but desire to make a point can often overcome it).

I'm not a fan of yours nor a hater, I'm not here to flame you nor praise you. I'm here to state my mind on the things you brought up in your blog and seeing how you like to think about life and all sorts of things in general, I hope you won't mind if some of my words seem "harsh", as expressing one's thoughts can be hard if you try to sugar-coat it all the time.

So, anyway, not to rush things, I'll begin from the back of my thoughts. Regarding your TV appearances, indeed it seemed poor compared to aggressive online players because it's entertaining to watch them play any two cards and play the opponents instead of sitting around and waiting for a premium hand just because they found themselves at a table with an aggressive player.

However, I haven't really looked at it the way you put it now, you did find a way to win money every time and that's the whole point. It's not about entertaining the audience, it's not about proving you can bluff people with any cards, you're here to make money and that's it - ok, having a good laugh along the way doesn't hurt either.

Now that I think about it, when I said "poor" above, it was a rude word. I'm not trying to get into your head, but the first logical thing that comes to people's mind is that you nearly fall asleep during the show because you're old. However, is it not also possible that you simply won't show everything you can do on TV?

If my eyes serve me well, Farha stated he wouldn't appear on High Stakes Poker because it hurts his live game. So basically, it just might be that you're there to do the show, not to show the world you're "the greatest player of all time" or simply someone who can make a stand against anyone in cash games.

At the same time, you are highly competitive (from what I read in your blogs), so it makes it less likely that you went on a show to play casually, because you have a desire to win and I doubt you've lost that desire even now - sorry but you are indeed a long time around here and my point is that even after all these years.

Sorry to throw in a random comment but my coach taught me there are two kinds of athletes, winners and champions. And in poker, you are a champion. The difference here is that winners chase the victory but don't have the class nor heart to hold it, chase it over and over again, only the greatest can stay at the top and do it with class.

So, to summarize this whole TV show topic - as I said above, I think some of the players either come there to prove they can play against the best or to prove that they can beat them. You are there to play poker, how you'll play is entirely up to you, your mood and what not, it doesn't matter if audience is going to think bad of you or not. If they think you play bad, they can drop by in Vegas - if I'm correct you've said that yourself multiple times and even now you challenge people to figure out your next move :)

Just to add something on that topic - poker is not just about reading other people but also misleading their reads on you. So in order to be able to read your next move, one has to guide you in a certain direction to increase chances of you making the decisions he or she wants you to. Easier said than done, I'm not saying I can do it now, just that it is doable :)

As for your thoughts on live and online poker...

My father played the "old poker" in the army and kind of has a hard time accepting this "new game" of NLHE, saying "this ain't poker", "you've got half of your hand revealed, gimme 5cards and you read me and I read you and I bust you!"

Ok, he didn't put it that way precisely but that was his point - that this Texas Hold'em thing lost the old "poker touch". However, you do have to agree that there is still a lot of poker played there.

Something similar can be said about live poker versus online. When I started playing online, I had the exact same thoughts - this ain't poker, if I can't look people in their eyes how can I know if they're bluffing me? How can I make them believe I'm bluffing? Poker is not just about cards, so if I can't use some sort of psychological war, this ain't poker!

I'm still a rookie of online poker with 1 year of fooling around, but years never obstruct gaining new experiences if one is open minded. So, what I've come to realize is that in online poker you can read people a lot and bluff them a lot. And it's not just reckless play, it's based on tells.

People have betting patterns and you don't need a sheet for that, in fact, now that you've brought up this subject, I have to say it's a lot like live poker. You sit down at a table, watch how your opponents play, make notes in your head or use software to do it for you. You can also "know" when someone is playing on scared money, when someone is reckless, this is just some of the things you can pick on players online.

The bottom line is that live poker has more "poker" to it, but that doesn't mean you can't read people in online poker. It is difficult to say if poker has lost anything with its transgression to online world. How can you be the judge of it? Is it not hard to play six tables heads-up against the world's best?

While most of it turns into grinding mode, sheet+stats+what not = winning combination, I still have to say there are players who actually play poker there, so it's hard to judge online poker based on average player - that would be like judging live poker based on average player and half of the players there don't even know the rules!

The best way for you to find answers here is to look for them yourself, I can tell you one thing, another rookie something else, you can talk to pros and they'll tell you their side of the story but to fully satisfy your curiosity, you will simply have to sit down and see for yourself.

It might seem weird in the beginning and you might feel like you're missing an important part of your arsenal in a poker game, but once you adapt, you will see that some of the things you used in live poker have now been replaced with their online versions, so to say. It is indeed a topic worth discussing and one blog or one post I think are not nearly enough to cover it.

Take care and have fun at the poker tables.

 
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Dendra
almost 9 years ago

*just to edit a missing piece "...even after all these years...you've still got the desire in you."

 
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samcan
almost 9 years ago

re:@ dendra So, what I've come to realize is that in online poker you can read people a lot and bluff them a lot. And it's not just reckless play, it's based on tells.

...tell me then why is it to the avg consumer online..why do I consistenly get sucked out being a major favorite online on the RIVER? I'm always over 85% favorite...variance=bullshit...I dont play enough for those factors to vary into my statistacal amount of play hands played(played to the river). It always happens. F*&$ variance and mathematical probabilities, it ALWAYS happens. Is everybody or every BOT just really freakin lucky(rhetorical)!?! I'm about to go play a stupid 1/2 game in town since there's no legal games here since our prolific camera hog gov says NO to poker in Tx. I guess, what I'm saying is, I'd rather pay a stupid $7 rake on a 1/2 vs consistently put all my money in over a 80% favorite online and get sucked out due to "variance"! I'm no reg 1/2...I've played the 5/10 @ Ceasars which is comparable to a 10/20 @ beloved Bellagio.

 
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seamarfan269
almost 9 years ago

I love when ppl say ALWAYS in poker, as in "I always get my money in as 85% fav online and get sucked out on everytime". lol. "my 2 cents".

 
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Dendra
almost 9 years ago

In online poker you do play more tables, so you can go through the same amount of bad beats a live player goes through...let's say a decade.

While the lower limits may require "abc poker" alone, as you progress, people actually start to think and constantly adapt to your play. you can easily play on 4-6 or more tables and follow action on every one of them, not becoming a robot who plays by the sheet :)

Obviously if you're better than players on x limit, you'll just need to play it as a routine, stick to your "abc" poker, without any need to push yourself to limits.

In general, I think at the highest level online and live poker get pretty close, to explain:

Tells in live poker are very useful to the pros, as the fish give them so much information. On the higher levels pros can use "tells" against each other, but how much information will you extract from Phil Ivey or Tom Dwan?

D.B. can obviously comment on that from first-hand experience (on TV it never seemed like he knew what Dwan had, instead more like waiting for a nice hand to catch Dwan on the wrong foot).

The point is, if I'm correct, live poker comes down to how much you bet, do you just call, do you fire in the dark, etc., you've got all sorts of different lines here and another important thing is to figure out how your opponent will perceive your actions, and these mind games then go on for as many levels as players like them to.

Just to point out, obviously you can always pick on something and read people in live play, my point is that with likes of Ivey and Dwan, the game turns more to opponent's possible thoughts, bet&pot size, stack size, cards on the board, etc., because you're not exactly gonna get Ivey scratch his ear and reveal to you he is bluffing :D

As for online poker, it has a different game of tells. Just like in live poker, rookies are easy to read, their betting patterns, hands they like to play, etc. On the highest levels, these advantages of finding tells in other people's play become less frequent, much like live poker, the game turns towards pot size, bet size, etc. - I'm just listing these things for the sake of an example.

What I'm trying to say here is that both forms of poker eventually narrow down to something very much alike. In their core they are one and the same, however, the exterior is a bit different, one has online tells, other has live tells :)

If you look at Phil Hellmuth, he is great at reading people but it's pretty hard for him to get just one proper read on Dwan or Ivey, he can stare at them all day long, but it won't help him much.

It's a lot easier for them to get a read on him simply based on his play, typical stuff you'd do in online poker. Most of the time they just need to bet and Hellmuth will reveal his hand to them. When let's say Ivey bets with a weird hand, or Dwan calls with one of his 52o, it's for different reasons than when Hellmuth does it - who probably thinks, "hey I can play like that too, watch me win this pot with this lovely 83o hand..."

Hellmuth is great at reading people, but no matter how good he is at finding tells, he can't get a read on his opponents every time. Basically, live poker eventually doesn't come down to looking people in the eye and knowing what they have, as you can't count on tells, what you can count is knowledge :)

"Knowledge" seems to be a bit dry word to use here, as it's a wide array of skills poker player has at disposal. I'm just separating reading people in live poker from those other "skills".

So basically, reading people in live poker gives an extra charm to it, but so does playing multiple tables or simply faster play give an extra charm to online poker. It is hard to judge new generations for finding online poker more or less attractive, more or less fun than live poker.

It must've been a huge change to switch from that poker we watched in western movies to Texas Hold'em and all that fancy stuff, but still I think you'll agree it hasn't lost that "poker" touch in it.

Same is for online poker, sure it's not quite the same as live poker, but there is still a lot of "poker" to it :)

 
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KingaDimuns
almost 9 years ago

dendra

you ramble without much of a point. its a comment, not your own freakin blog

 
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Dendra
almost 9 years ago

The blog was worth commenting on and it's hard to choose in how many words you will say something if you want to speak your mind, it comes as it comes, be it ramble or not. As I said, you can't discuss such topics in one blog or one post.

What you can do is give some starting thoughts to open up the discussion or give a look from your perspective - disregarding of how much experience you have, etc. because that doesn't diminish the possible value of your opinion.

 
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texasroadgambler
almost 9 years ago

From Dendra's writing style, I would bet that Dendra is a female. Regardless of any merit, her style is much to "windy" to be the writings of a male, unless of course the male has "overordered" at the local watering hole.

 
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Dendra
almost 9 years ago

Then better don't bet because you'd lose :) Anyway, this is already diverting away from the blog's topic(s) too much, so just gonna drop the discussion, unless you bring up something interesting related to it :)

 
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yolkypalky
almost 9 years ago

Apparenty Doyle's comment section has been hijacked by the Dendra Manifesto....learn to edit Dendra, it makes it so much more interesting for the reader.

 
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seamarfan269
almost 9 years ago

@bmpek, are you saying that if a female EVER wins the wsop M.E. than "texasroadgambler" would 'slit his throat'??? good thing that didn't include the wsope...see Annette Oberstad. "my 2 cents".

 
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KingaDimuns
almost 9 years ago

yeah, i just assumed it was a woman too, without even really thinking about it.

 
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