in Lessons Learned

Over 1000 Hands of Poker : Lessons Learned

Playing online poker better than a large majority is elegantly simple I’ve come to find. But if you’re new to “simple” don’t let the concept fool you. Just as Zen appears to be nothing, and it is, it takes a concerted effort to do nothing. It takes effort to be simple.

I chose Poker because it emulates the business world well. There are metaphors for how to live life in Poker too.

My simple repeatable strategy that took me from $20k to $1.5 M in two days play Texas Holdem. For clarity it was virtual money.

1st principles:

  • Don’t play unless you’re willing to lose money.
  • There is risk when you play.
    • Minimize risk.
    • Bet big when you are on solid ground.
    • Mask your moves to get others to play into your solid bet.
  • Stick to your system. Stick to your system. Stick to your system
  • Emotion has no place in strategic games unless it is used to unbalance and confuse opponents.
  • Sit. Play. Get in. Get out. Set no goals. Play the best hand you can in the moment.

Basics Mechanics:

  • First cards are the most important.
    • In business and in life, stick with your simple principles.
    • Folding before the buy in will save you time, money, and energy.
    • You can’t chance every opportunity in life or business.

Buy in if:

  • You have two of the same consecutive suit.
  • Both of your cards are a 10 or face cards.
  • You have a pair.

When to bet:

  • Remember, checking is free.
    • If you can, check until you have something solid to bet on.
    • Even if you don’t have a solid bet, sometimes you can get to the final round with a pair by just checking.
      Do not bet heavy before the flop.

      • You could have a pair of aces, bet heavy, and then the rest of the cards are crap. Now you’re stuck with a pair.
      • Bet light to medium after the flop if you have something better than a pair.

Do not bet heavy, you will scare others off. Less money in the end.

How to bet:

Light bet:

  • Pair

Medium bet:

  • Bet medium to heavy on three of a kind.
  • Do not bet more than medium with a two pair.
  • I’ve noticed a pattern of when you have a two pair, most people have something better 65% of the time. Too much risk.

    Heavy bet:

Strights, flushes, and royal flushes, four of a kind are hard to make. Bet light or check until you’re certain you have it.
When you’re certain you have something stong bet heavy.

Fold / Check / Call:

  • In that order.
    • Fold. Saves you money & risk.
    • Check. Saves you money.
  • Calling is betting. I’ll repeat that. Calling is betting.
    • Never bet medium or heavy before the river. Too much risk & uncertainty.


  • This is an area I’m still working on. I prefer not to bluff because it is risky.
  • Let others take the risk, and lure them in with light betting.
  • When other players bet risky and win, encourage it. Encourage their pair of 6s victory. They will be more confident in taking foolish risks in the future.

Managing downtime:

  • Observe other players.
  • When do they bet heavy?
  • When do they bluff?
  • What hands are they willing to bet on?
  • How often do they fold?
  • When do they fold?

To be continued…