Bodog Ari

I'm Ari Engel and am also known as BodogAri online. I've played poker for a living for virtually my entire post-college life. In the last few years I have started teaching people my style and philosophy on poker tournaments. Many of them have done very well. If you are interested in getting my help, email:

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Risk Taking

The father of the "blogosphere" Glenn Reynolds aka , has a great book out, that I've already mentioned, "An Army of David's". (I really hope this isn't illegal.) Reynolds writes about the failure of governmental space policy, and the resulting private initiatives on Pg. 201 as follows;
"By definition, if twenty-seven teams go for the prize, at least 26 will fail. And that's okay. Government programs, on the other hand, are afraid of failure. So they are either too conservative, playing it safe so as to avoid being blamed for failure, or too drawn out, dragging on so long that, by the time it's clear they're not going anywhere, everyone responsible has died or retired. (In government, or big corporations, it's okay not to succeed, so long as you aren't seen to fail.)"

Poker, like any capitalistic activity, rewards risk taking. Much like the governmental space programs in Reynolds example, the fear of failure, will lead to the demise of even the most brilliant mind at the poker table.

While it may be true that in large organizations the ability to stear clear of "failure" makes up for any lack of success, in poker that is false. Self honesty is a must in this aspect. (In fact self-honesty is probably the most important characteristic a poker player can have.) You have to be able to honestly evaluate your play based on your decision making, and improve accordingly. Looking over a tournament, and saying "well damn, my 88 lost to ak in a race, so i finished 7, i made money and played well, nothing i can do about it. GG" will do nothing to improve your game.

Although you can't win every tournament, you have to play them all to win. Therefore, success in a poker tournament means winning it. Failure obviously means not winning it. Combine this with the last paragraph, and it is easy to see why you shouldn't be happy in the above case with your "failure." Rather, you should look back at the hand when there were 14 people left in the tournament that caused you to get to the spot, where your 88 was all in pre-flop to ak."

I have played more tournaments this year than just about anyone on the planet, yet I continue to see mistakes in my game. This is no shock, we are all humans, and make errors, the key is to evaluate those errors and learn from them. Being content with "not failing", moderate success, or getting deep, is a recipe for disaster.


Blogger Skawty said...

Yea i stopped playin a LOT of tournaments cause i couldnt handle the varience and playin so many hours and " failing " a lot. I like that alternative view on that.

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