“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” Sun Tzu
Whether it is over a grungy table in LasVegas station with newly cloned fingers shuffling chips or via a small wedge of bandwidth dedicated to communication with 5 other capsuleers across the virtual felt while camping a gate in Rancer, poker is alive and well in New Eden.
As discussed in my previous entry, Opening Hand, the activity of poker can be as simple or complex as the player chooses. I have found that it is vital to understand a few things about poker beyond the rules and some basic strategy.
One of these things is that poker is a form of communication. Every action that a player takes while participating in a game of poker is analogous to words spoken from one person to another. Whether it is a bet, call, check, raise, check-raise, hesitation, overbet, underbet, stringbet, second glance at your hole cards, whatever…everything is part of the language of poker. And the better you speak and understand this language the more skilled you become at communication in its medium.
One of the tenets of good public speaking (and have no doubt that when playing poker your are speaking ‘pokerese’ publicly) is that you must communicate to your particular audience in a language they can understand.
The point that many of us forget so often is that despite our increasing fluency in the language we’re speaking, our audience of listeners may not be hearing the full beauty of our prose.
In other words- if that bloke across the table doesn’t have any clue that your check-raise means you’ve got it or that your 2X pot sized bet means you want him to call; no amount of subtle poker action will get the message across.
We must know not only ourselves and our abilities, but those of our opponents and their limitations. I noted this concept in the quote at the beginning. It was apparently spoken by a general of some renown, Sun Tzu. From what I gather on the data streams this fellow was Caldari and very successful during an extended series of war decs long ago.
So, the bottom line is: before you go for that check raise or tricky ‘post oak bluff’, be certain your opponent will understand the language your action is speaking.
Contrast this with the simplicity of an interceptor racing across a stargate boundary to tackle a Crane after it cloaks a moment too late. The unwary transport is quickly rendered into so much debris by the sniper gang hovering 65km off gate.
High velocity antimatter speaks a language all its own.