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Which is True? #4

Man, I'm starting to really miss poker. I was slated to play Saturday afternoon on Long Island in an underground club while wifey Kim got her hair done and whatever else chicks do when they are gearing up to be in a wedding party. Alas, the wedding ceremony was to start at 4pm and after checking with Robbie Hole, it would appear that the $20 rebuy tournament starting at 12:30 would last until 4-5pm, and Jordan doesn't start anything he can't finish. I had hoped to salvage my pokerless weekend by hitting the game on Sunday while wifey Kim caught up with some of her out-of-town friends who were in for the wedding. But her plans fell through, and regardless she wanted me there to show off her hunk of man meat (that's me, not my appendage of the same name), and wifey Kim trumps poker, so there went those plans.

So I am now over a week since my last live game at the Wall Street Game, and I'm aching to play. I have nothing officially planned this week other than 23Skidoo's NYC return on Wednesday, so maybe I'll squeeze in an underground poker room run. Nice Look has reopenned, and I have been dreaming of my big win days there. Really, its just a matter of time before I return. Its also just a matter of time before the place gets raided by the cops again, so its a race to the finish!

I mentioned on Friday an upcoming Which is True and this one truly baffles me. I've argued both sides of this seeming conflict before, never in direct opposition with the other point, but always inherently in conflict. I'll get right to it after I ask for your kind input on the subject. I don't even mind if you just echo someone else's comment, since I'm looking for some sort of consensus on the subject. So without further adieu:

Which is True?

Statement A
A great poker player must be able to adapt his style to the table conditions.

Statement B
To play poker optimally one must stay true to their own personal style of play and not imitate another person's style or another general style of play.

There you have it. Meanwhile, I have a big deposition today and a long week ahead of me.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:07 AM,


At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to sound like a non-committal pussy, but I think both statements are true in their own right.

While Statement A is definitely true if you want to maximize your possible expectation, Statement B is also true because your own personal style should have (and really needs to have) more than one gear.

It's near impossible to emulate another player's style, though. More often than not they're doing it because that works for them while other things don't, so you need to find what works for you and go with it. And if it happens to be similar to someone else, so be it.

At 11:46 AM, Blogger Brez said...

Don't think you can all that much get away from this without being somehow non-committal in one way or another.

Statement B
To play poker optimally one must stay true to their own personal style of play and not imitate another person's style or another general style of play.

Statement B points towards optimal, and for most people optimal means the most money. Thus, this brings statement A into account.

You must adapt to table conditions, but I believe that each and every player's certain style and poker plays can always be harnessed in one way or another.

For example, I am generally an aggressive player, so once I realise that a player has started to get too much of this, I will do one of two things:
a) Tighten up and wait for perfectly timed aggression, thus tilting them and causing them to call or reraise a pot to which they otherwise would have folded.
b) Check with the intention of check-raising, which they may call out of tilt also.

So, I apologise that even though my comment is somewhat poorly worded (late @ night here, need some zzz), my answer would be that every player can stay true to their inherent style, whilst also adapting subtly to the situation they find themselves in.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger jamyhawk said...

I actually feel this one is Black and White.

Statement A is True. You have to adapt. Everyone has a general style of play, but to succeed in anything, you must adapt to your opponents moves.

Statement B is False. Eventually someone will adjust their play to yours and find a way to beat you, no matter how successful your style of play is (or was).

At 12:46 PM, Blogger gadzooks64 said...

I agree with Jamy.

I can't see a player that doesn't adapt to the table conditions being a winning player.

Learning to adapt to and take advantage of all scenarios is the only way to become a truly winning player.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Schaubs said...

I pick Eh.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger MHG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger MHG said...


I choose to play my game (B), and adapt my style to the table conditions (A)!

You have become worse at reading comprehension (-100)!

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Statement A is true. B is kinda a good point but A is always true to be a great player.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger surflexus said...

Hey J,
Of course A is true. There's plenty of resources available that explain why you can't get fancy with someone incapable of understanding they should fold and you can't play straight up against a good player for long and beat them so you have to adapt.
As for B, it's true also. Optimal play from a "great player" encompasses the ability to adapt or change gears while remaining true to your "core style". Sometimes playing opposite of how you would normally play a particular hand is part of your style as well i.e. 90% of the time you could raise with AA while limping in being part of your style 10% of the time.
Also, your optimal play will vary based on table conditions, so the two are tied in that respect.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I go with A. If we want to argue semantics, one could stick to their own personal style of play and still not play poker optimally, especially if part of your style involves playing the hammer. I get the point though.

At 3:57 PM, Blogger Unknown said...


If you don't adapt, better players will pick "your style" apart.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Julius_Goat said...

I go with (C) A great player carries a gun. A loaded gun.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger CarmenSinCity said...

I think A is true, although, when I am at a particulary agressive table, or at too tight of a table, I get up and move. That's the advantage of living in Vegas and playing in cash games only. There's always another game and another table.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Pseudo_Doctor said...

Interesting because both statements are pretty much saying the same thing. Statement A is more so true in tournaments, while Statement B is true with poker in general. The funniest part of this question is that if you "adapt" to the style of table conditions as stated in A, then aren't you "imitating" another person's style of play or another general style of play with regards to those table conditions...

aka I go with both are true and there mirror images of themselves with no clear consensus

At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think pseudo_md said it well...

At 4:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, high on poker, I have been searching the web for a bit about Straddle Club being raided last week or so. You mention a Wall Street Game... I am struggling to find the core of the underground world as I am desperate to get into it. email me at (anyone) for information about games. thanks

At 4:42 PM, Blogger NewinNov said...

Statement A, easy decision for me.


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