Monday, December 26, 2011

Read villain like a book - here's how you do it

winning poker

I never graduated from university. I was there for five years, simply because I was having a grand time, but got tired of it and never bothered to go after getting a diploma.

People say I wasted both my time and my parent's money. I did not. I learned a lot of skills on how to deal with people. To this day, I am still using them in all my online business.

Anyway, my line of work after finishing university was sales and marketing. I sold encyclopedias door to door, B2B for magazine subscriptions, cars, real estate, pharmaceuticals. There are three essentials that I learned from sales and that I find applicable in playing poker are the following:
  • Numbers game
  • Qualify prospects
  • Always be closing

Numbers game

What kept me going in sales is that for every ten prospects that you will talk to, two of them you will close--assuming you knew how to sell. Sometimes you experience variance where you hit a lucky streak and close more than 20%, or you go through a dry spell. Even so, keep talking to people. Variance works both ways. The more peole you talk to, the less variance will have an effect on your results.

In poker, the more hands you play, the less effect vairance will have on your win rate. This is why number of hands vs win rate is a primary consideration in staking. The staker is not looking for someone who is lucky. They need a good player who works hard.


To find out if I should spend more time with a prospect, I am always asking questions. Do you have a need for what I am selling? Who else will make the buying decision? Can you afford it? If I spent more time with a prospect and they did not buy, it's my fault. I did not qualify very well.

In poker, being a call station is not qualifying. When you call every bet villain makes, you will not good information as to what villain has. You are simply hoping to get lucky by the river, and if so then you bet. That is an easy read, don't you agree?


That means always be closing. Do not dilly-dally. Someone else is going after this prospect. If you close often enough and prospect doesn't sign the contract, he is not going to buy from you.

When you have showdown hands and villain called you down, they too, have showdown hands. They are probably just not sure how theirs will fare against yours. If you have the nuts, make them pay with their stack if they want to see what hands you have.

If villain reraises your showdown hands on a connected flop, you then have an idea of what villain has. It's always about getting information. The more information you have on villain as you play, the more consistent your win rate will improve over time.