Poker and the Art of War (Part 2 – Five is the magic number)

More poker related thoughts on, “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) 

Just like most of us have 5 senses to help us survive daily life, there are 5 elements to the Art of War, a successful General has 5 characteristics, and one who is unsuccessful may possess (at least) 1 of 5 characteristics:


  1. Sight
  2. Sound
  3. Taste
  4. Smell
  5. Touch

5 Elements of the Art of War (as listed in TAOW)

  1. Measurement of space (position, blinds)
  2. Estimation of quantities (stack sizes, potential gains/losses)
  3. Calculations (pot odds, implied odds, bet sizing, committment)
  4. Comparisons (player’s range, abilities, past play, likely actions of others, motivation)
  5. Chances of victory (analysis of all of the above)

The successful General (as listed in TAOW)

  1. Knows when he can fight, and when he cannot (Gap concept, etc)
  2. Understands how to fight in accordance with his opponents strength (player profiling and adapting play accoringly, play the player – not the cards)
  3. Ranks are united in purpose (Play to win money – not pots)
  4. Well prepared and lies in wait for an enemy that is less prepared (Tight/Aggressive vs Loose/Passive, etc)
  5. Are able and not interfered with by others (Focused, little/no distractions)

The unsuccessful General may be (as listed in TAOW)

  1. Reckless (Loose)
  2. Cowardly (Passive)
  3. Quick-Tempered (Tilt)
  4. Too delicate a sense of honor (easily insulted)
  5. Too compassionate (easily harrassed)

In summary – know your enemy and know yourself!  If you know both you’ll be profitable.  If you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, you’ll break even.  If ignorant of both, you’ll be unprofitable.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: