Sun Tzu's Art of War Applied to Poker

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One of the books that has had much influence on how I play poker is, believe it or not, Sun Tzu's "Art of War"

So I figured I'd post an excerpt from the book each day and see if people can come up with ways in which the excerpt applies to poker strategy
 
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Excerpt #1

The Art of War is of vital importance...It is a matter of life and death, a road to either safety or to ruin. Hence, it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

In poker, a strategy for your session is of vital importance: how you plan to tackle a tournament or a cash game on a particular day will lead you to either success or failure. Never go into a tournament or cash game without a plan of attack.
 
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take a position here!


how poker players applies the general theory from this book.
PS: that is a great theory of art book which could be applied into many fields like business, military affairs, politics, management, etc.

but the problem is not what , but how.

Good luck and great post in advance.
PS: I read the original version of the book, and Japanese version and English and spanish version as well, think the english translation is not accurate enough... based on the language skills I have learned :D

BTW: if the writer of this book play poker with me today online, I am 90% beat him , because ....he is unable to use PC...LOL
 
okeedokalee

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Ok here is one.
" Sometimes the best way to win is not to fight at all"
This guy took on an army of 1000,000 with 10,000 and won!
His fighting philosophies were adapted by the Viet Cong and guess what...
 
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Excerpt #2

The Art of War is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field

1. the Moral Law
2. Heaven
3. Earth
4. The Commander
5. Method and Discipline

1. The Moral law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler so that they will follow him regardless of their lives undismayed by any danger.

2. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.

3. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death

4. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness

5. By Method and Discipline are to be understood the marshalling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which suppliers may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.

These five factors should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.
 
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The Art of War is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field

1. the Moral Law
2. Heaven
3. Earth
4. The Commander
5. Method and Discipline

1. The Moral law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler so that they will follow him regardless of their lives undismayed by any danger.

2. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.

3. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death

4. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness

5. By Method and Discipline are to be understood the marshalling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which suppliers may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.

These five factors should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.

1. Moral Law: you must be obedient to your strategy: do not change because you are on tilt or for any other reason not related to securing the best outcome. Have a plan, stick to it for better (win) or worse (bust out).

2. Heaven: these are the conditions which are there but which you can not change or control. For example, you can not change or control what cards you are dealt: you can only decide how you will play them.

3. Earth: the consequences of the decisions you make. A single bad decision can cost you the game. A few correct decisions can secure your win. In the real-world, a single bad decision can take your life, many good decisions can preserve it.

4. Commander: to be supreme in your poker conquests you must possess virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness. You must be wise in your decision making, sincere in your persistence, benevolent in humbly taking wins and losses , courageous in pushing all your chips in when necessary, and strict in staying the course and keeping to your strategic plan.

5. Method & Discipline: in poker you must cater to your strengths when devising a strategy and do a lot of off the table preparation like reading books and constantly thinking about the hands you've played poorly in the past and how you will play them differently in the future. In poker, you are your own one-man army. You must be able to switch gears from tight to aggressive on a whim so as to assume the various positions required at the various times during warfare. There are times during war when you engage the enemy and times when you lay in wait. There are times when you pursue the enemy and times when you allow the enemy to pursue you so as to draw him into a trap. Preparation and the ability to switch gears is of vital importance.
 
DonV73

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I don't have any answers but I really like the idea of this post. I read the book too some years ago on the advice of Vanessa Rousso. She said that you can learn about Game Theory when just replacing the word War with the word Poker. I still don't understand so I really curious about the answers you will get :)

Here is a link to the intervieuw btw. She talks about the Art of War at 2:23
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrtRZk-T71M
 
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I don't have any answers but I really like the idea of this post. I read the book too some years ago on the advice of Vanessa Rousso. She said that you can learn about Game Theory when just replacing the word War with the word Poker. I still don't understand so I really curious about the answers you will get :)

Here is a link to the intervieuw btw. She talks about the Art of War at 2:23
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrtRZk-T71M

Wow. I thought I was the only whackjob applying this military handbook to poker...LOL. that is a pretty cool find thanks.

Actually, I apply the tenets of this work to trading financial markets, to poker, and tp practically everything I do in life that involves competing.
 
GotabigSet

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1. Moral Law: you must be obedient to your strategy: do not change because you are on tilt or for any other reason not related to securing the best outcome. Have a plan, stick to it for better (win) or worse (bust out).

2. Heaven: these are the conditions which are there but which you can not change or control. For example, you can not change or control what cards you are dealt: you can only decide how you will play them.

3. Earth: the consequences of the decisions you make. A single bad decision can cost you the game. A few correct decisions can secure your win. In the real-world, a single bad decision can take your life, many good decisions can preserve it.

4. Commander: to be supreme in your poker conquests you must possess virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness. You must be wise in your decision making, sincere in your persistence, benevolent in humbly taking wins and losses , courageous in pushing all your chips in when necessary, and strict in staying the course and keeping to your strategic plan.

5. Method & Discipline: in poker you must cater to your strengths when devising a strategy and do a lot of off the table preparation like reading books and constantly thinking about the hands you've played poorly in the past and how you will play them differently in the future. In poker, you are your own one-man army. You must be able to switch gears from tight to aggressive on a whim so as to assume the various positions required at the various times during warfare. There are times during war when you engage the enemy and times when you lay in wait. There are times when you pursue the enemy and times when you allow the enemy to pursue you so as to draw him into a trap. Preparation and the ability to switch gears is of vital importance.

This thread has inspired me to read the book (obv I should have already lol) I love the thread itself but this comment puts poker on a level with life, death and the gray in between. Keep u the good work I look frward to reading more from you and this thread.

I love poker analogies as I play mostly freerolls I liken it to swimming the ocean and avoiding sharks and other obstacles along the way (baited hooks, traps, and of course just bad luck). Like Dori frm Finding Nemo....Just keep Swimming....
 
REALITYPOKER

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Wow. I thought I was the only whackjob applying this military handbook to poker...LOL. that is a pretty cool find thanks.

Actually, I apply the tenets of this work to trading financial markets, to poker, and tp practically everything I do in life that involves competing.

Lol you are not the only whack job out there!! I love this book and I am the same way about using it real world life situations, especially competing.

Great job to the POST STARTER and looking for many more to come.
 
mange1234

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The Art of War is of vital importance...It is a matter of life and death, a road to either safety or to ruin. Hence, it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

In poker, a strategy for your session is of vital importance: how you plan to tackle a tournament or a cash game on a particular day will lead you to either success or failure. Never go into a tournament or cash game without a plan of attack.


Amen Brother,

Had Robert E. Lee applied the teaching of Sun Tzu, the US of A would look a bit different than it does now. Not that is what I would want.


Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

Sun Tzu
 
mange1234

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That sounds great

One of the books that has had much influence on how I play poker is, believe it or not, Sun Tzu's "Art of War"

So I figured I'd post an excerpt from the book each day and see if people can come up with ways in which the excerpt applies to poker strategy

That sounds great. If you have the intelligence to realize thee wisdom of Sun TZU, you should be successful in the poker World.

Good luck to you and keep them coming.

mike
 
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Does this book have pictures or a coloring section? If so I may have to go read it - If not I don't know if I'm capable of reading it.
 
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bluejay2220

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What a great idea! This is a great book, never thought to apply it in poker. Thanks and look forward to your posts.
 
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Lol you are not the only whack job out there!! I love this book and I am the same way about using it real world life situations, especially competing.

Great job to the POST STARTER and looking for many more to come.

Funny how certain people can write something that will probably last throughout the rest of human history. Sun Tzu, Plato, Aesop.....greats immortalized by their wisom
 
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Amen Brother,

Had Robert E. Lee applied the teaching of Sun Tzu, the US of A would look a bit different than it does now. Not that is what I would want.


Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

Sun Tzu

Let us just thank GOD the British didn't apply the tenets of this book to their occupation of the states pre-USA....LOL
 
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That sounds great. If you have the intelligence to realize thee wisdom of Sun TZU, you should be successful in the poker World.

Good luck to you and keep them coming.

mike

I believe everyone has the intelligence to get something out of Sun Tzu....how much you get out of it though may have a lot to do on just what kind of thinker you are.

I can say the sky is blue and you can either ponder "the sky is blue yes it is" or you can ponder "yes it is blue and not red because blue has a shorter wavelength than red and thus scatters more efficiently by the molecules in the atmosphere"

This is just to say, what you get out of something, anything, really depends on you! I think all types of thinkers can get something out of Sun Tzu's "Art of War"
 
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Excerpt #3

Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made on the basis of a comparison, in this wise:

(1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral Law?
(2) Which of the two generals has the most ability?
(3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?
(4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
(5) Which Army is Stronger?
(6) On which side are the officers and men more highly trained?
(7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?

By means of these seven consideration, one can forecast victory or defeat.
 
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Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made on the basis of a comparison, in this wise:

(1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral Law?
Who, among your opponents, is more susceptible to letting a bad run muck their strategic plan? Who holds grudges against particular players for losing and will deviate from his strategy for revenge? Who will be faithful to his plan no matter what transpires in a hand?

(2) Which of the two generals has the most ability?
Who, among your opponents, is the best player? Who has, time and time again, dominated the top of the leaderboards? Who seems to always make the right decisions and always makes the final table?

(3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?
Who, among your opponents, is running well (i.e. getting good cards) this session? Who is running poorly? Whose good decisions are paying off for him? Whose good decisions are not paying off for him (suckouts)? Whose bad decisions are paying off for him (suckouts)? Whose bad decisions are not paying off for him?

(4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
Who, among your opponents, is a strict disciplinarian when it comes to how he or she plays poker? Who is unaffected by emotion? Who engages in strict money management principles? Who throws his chips around like they mean nothing to him?

(5) Which Army is Stronger?
The strength of a player can be measured taking into consideration many factors. Stack size, propensity for risk, ability to read others, ability to switch gears on a moment's notice. Considering all these things, who is the strongest player at the table? Who is the weakest?

(6) On which side are the officers and men more highly trained?
Who, among your opponents, is playing casually? Who is playing as if his/her life depended upon it? Who teeters on the brink of life and death with no qualms (the loose aggressor)? Who has clearly practiced and played many hands and so is not nervous in his play but persistent and confident? Who, on the other hand, is nervous about nearly every decision to be made?

(7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?
Whose good decisions are consistently paid off? Whose bad decisions consistently fail them? Who seems to be the least affected by variance?

By means of these seven consideration, one can forecast victory or defeat.
 
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Is anyone familiar with The book of 5 rings, Miyamoto Musashi?

"there is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.” - Miyamoto Musashi

“What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.” Sun Tzu
 
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Excerpt #4

According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans.
 
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According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans.

A plan you write out before a tournament may be too abstract for a real tournament. Only when engaging in a real tournament with the real circumstances of a tournament can you know truly what the plan will be. Therefore, if you devise a plan before a tournament it will necessarily have to change once you actually sit for the tournament.

This may seem to contradict the "stick to your plan" tenet but it is not the plan you devised before the tournament that you should stick to unwaveringly: it is the plan you devised at the very beginning of the tournament. Otherwise, you will be following rules which are more book-theoric than practical in an actual tournament.
 
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This is one of my favorite books and philosophies.

When returning to online poker in January, I ran across this website and began incorporating its tenets, and its tight/aggressive strategy, in my game.

Interestingly enough, I discovered in the last few months that the Sun-Tzu T/A approach is even too nitty for me LOL, but I've slowly been adapting the foundation to my own game.

I've always been a huge investor in Eastern disciplines and I believe that they are easily applied to the felt as well as to any other area of our lives.

Poker is like a personal war of respect, right?

Thanks, CP, for your thought-provoking posts, especially the ones recently. You're really giving all of us a lot to think, and feel, about.

Paws up.
 
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