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High IQ dosen't help much in poker, confirmed.

by Lee Watkinson |  Published: Apr 07, '11

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I have been reading, or actually listening to while I play on Full Tilt, a book called the Social Animal. It has some very important information to poker players, pretty much the same info that was in another book I read almost exactly 2 years ago called How We Decide. Both have a lot of filler and How We Decide had some confirmed BS, at least in the section where it profiles Michael Binger, even though I would say it is the more entertaining read of the two.

The good news is I can give you the most important info right here. The subconscious brain is thousands of times more powerful than the part that we think consciously with. This confirms what I have always felt/known about poker play and why my reads were usually right even though I never actually picked up a specific tell, accept for once at the very beginning of my career. This is why the great poker theorists are usually mediocre players. It is also why players “on a roll” who just start playing by their instincts do well and once they suffer some bad results and start trying to rethink their game go into a slump.

One poker related thing that I got from The Social Animal that wasn’t mentioned in How We Decide is that this doesn’t mean snap decisions are good, the subconscious still works best when given some time to decide. So even though you don’t know what you are thinking about it is good to take a little time on a tough and important decision. I very often have almost decided on one course only to change my mind after a a little time, for no reason, and am usually right in doing so.

Also what I got from both books is that, after a certain level, IQ isn’t that relevant to good decision making, thank god. That is to say a reasonably intelligent person is just about as likely to be a good poker player as a super genius.

This is not to say you shouldn’t read these books if you have the time. There are lots of interesting facts and anecdotes in there. Its just unfortunate they have to add so much boring filler to make it a “book”. Something I will try to avoid here.


Please come to the page Full Tilt set up for me on facebook and join me in a little freeroll tournament they set up for my friends on that page.


http://www.facebook.com/Lee.Watkinson.FullTilt

Lee Watkinson has accumulated nearly $4 million in tournament winnings over his career. His accomplishments include a World Series bracelet in the 2006 $10,000 pot-limit Omaha event and an eighth-place finish in the 2007 WSOP main event. Lee is a Full Tilt Pro and uses his poker winnings to help a chimpanzee rescue charity. Learn more about Lee at his website, www.leewatkinson.com.

 
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

JaxFull
almost 10 years ago

Telepathy's important, too.

 
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trentbridge
almost 10 years ago

Wikipedia : Unconscious Mind

"For example, an extensive line of research conducted by Hasher and Zacks[40] has demonstrated that automatically (i.e., outside of conscious awareness and without engaging conscious information processing resources), individuals register information about the frequency of events. Moreover, that research demonstrates that perceivers do so unintentionally, truly "automatically", regardless of the instructions they receive, and regardless of the information processing goals they have. Interestingly, their ability to unconsciously, and relatively accurately tally the frequency of events appears to have little or no relation to the individual's age, education, intelligence, or personality, thus it may represent one of the fundamental building blocks of human orientation in the environment and possibly the acquisition of procedural knowledge and experience, in general.

 
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rowanboatman
almost 10 years ago

How iconic is this blog?

 
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notCIA
almost 10 years ago

I give up. How iconic is it?

 
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LeeW
almost 10 years ago

I also give up. What's the meaning of iconic in this context?

 
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aneel
almost 10 years ago

"This confirms what I have always felt/known about poker play and why my reads were usually right even though I never actually picked up a specific tell, accept for once at the very beginning of my career."
'Accept' for once? Jesus, you should be glad that IQ had no bearing on the ability of a poker player...

 
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chem_prof
almost 10 years ago

I would disagree with you Lee. I would bet that on the standard IQ test, most poker players score quite well. You are not going to find mathematically challenged players doing well at your table. They will make mistakes and lose over the long haul. Critically thinking through your hands, your opponents actions, accessing previous information against that opponent are all things that require higher level thinking skills. While your or my ability to "read" people may not show up on an IQ test (and I do think it is an important part of the game), I doubt you will find substandard intellects winning over the long term.

 
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LeeW
almost 10 years ago

I think this depends alot on the game, I should have specified No-limit & Pot-limit.
I am mathematiaally challeneged when compared to guys like Sklansky or Caro but certainly wouldn't consider them to be better NoLimit players than myself.
I did say at certain IQ level. Thats not to say an idiot can play poker well, but a slightly above average IQ isn't a great handicap.

 
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chem_prof
almost 10 years ago

If NL or PL games were purely math, the math guys would always win. The psychological, sociological, and game theoretical aspects will always be huge. The question is, do you recognize patterns in yourself and in your opponents - recognizing these takes critical thinking skills, and you may be doing it without obviously thinking about it. Personally, I want players at the table who will not do that critical analysis or are incapable of it. While these abilities may not be "scored" on an IQ test, they are a level of intellectual capability that are not average. I might suggest a potential study to my psychologist friends to examine the relationship between profitability and various intellectual measures...

 
 

rowanboatman
almost 10 years ago

Maybe you should re-read this blog and see how ICONIC it is.

Rowan thinks 3 levels above you fish.

 
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