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Why Play Poker
The object of poker is to win money, but that is not the only reason for the game. Often, winning money isn't even the most important reason for the game. In Alan N. Schoonmaker's book, The Psychology of Poker, he explains that we are kidding ourselves if we think poker is only about money. For all but a few professionals, poker is a game, not a job.
People play games for many reasons: competition, socializing, entertainment, mental challenge, etc. Money is rarely the primary motive. In fact, compared to the expense of some games, such as golf or yacht racing, a person could 10se money consistently in low limit poker games, have a good time, and still be better off financially. Some people have this view of poker-that they are paying for entertainment.
To formulate a correct strategy, you need to examine the underlying reasons for the game in which you choose to play. Two reasons must be considered in the most detail.
- Money is a meaningful component to a poker game. It is how the game is scored, but the relative importance of money to the players must be weighed. In many situations, no one cares that much about the money.
- Just as important as money is the social question-are people playing for friendly entertainment or for hard-nosed competition?
Imagine a two-dimensional grid where on the horizontal scale, the importance of money is plotted, and on the vertical scale is the degree of competitiveness. The next below figure illustrates the grid.
As games increase in competitiveness, their character changes from passive to aggressive. As money increases in importance, the game changes from loose to tight. The four corners of the grid are the extremes. The four poker situations that best exemplify the four extremes and the appropriate strategy for each case are discussed. Each quadrant of the grid represents games that are closest to one of the extremes. A different one of the five decision factors becomes most critical as the nature of the game moves to different quadrants. The critical factor is the one you need to weigh the most when making decisions on your hands.
The nature of the game often means that safe assumptions can be made on the other decision factors. The recommended strategy will incorporate the safe assumptions and give careful consideration to the critical factor. Also described are the common frustrations and mistakes associated with each extreme.
THE STRATEGIC GRID
Increasing Importance of Money ►
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