Poker and the Art of War (Part 1 – Preparing for Battle)

While in Mexico I devoured a book called, “Sun Tsu’s Art of War – A Modern Chinese Interpretation – Bold-faced wisdom to guide you through life’s daily conflicts” by General Tao Hanzhang (Translated by Yuan Shibing).  Throughout this post (and later posts) I’ll refer to quotes/suggestions from this book as coming from “TAOW”.  You can buy the book at for $10 (link below) 

Anyway – it definitely has applications to Poker.  All the good stuff is highlighted in red throughout the book, so if you just wanna skim it, you can do so.  If you want to dive deeper into examples, you can do that too.

First of all, poker is a war made up of many many battles.  According to “TAOW”, in preparing for battle it’s worthwhile to consider the following about yourself and your opponent(s):

  1. Who is more wise and able?  (Experienced, knowledgeable, multi-level thinker, battle selection, etc)
  2. Who is more talented?  (Varies play depending on circumstances)
  3. Who takes advantage of nature and terrain?  (Player tendencies, position, committment, etc)
  4. Who’s regulations and instructions are carried out the best?  (Discipline, risk management, committment planning, etc)
  5. Who’s troops are stronger?  (Tight, Aggressive)
  6. Who’s got the better trained officers and men?  (Isolation, Effective use of ChipStack?)
  7. Who administers rewards and punishments in a more enlightened and correct way?  (Bankroll management, reviewing play, learning from mistakes)

My “poker” interpretation is in parenthesis after each bullet point.  What other poker interpretations can you make?


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