12/30/08 Update: Wrote follow up post: Poker, Business, Life: It’s Never Too Late to Change Tables

EVALUATING MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

  • Table selection is the most important decision you can make.
  • It’s okay to switch tables if you discover it’s too hard to win at your table.
  • If there are too many competitors (some irrational or inexperienced), even if you’re the best it’s a lot harder to win.

 

MARKETING AND BRANDING

  • Act weak when strong, act strong when weak. Know when to bluff.
  • Your “brand” is important.
  • Help shape the stories that people are telling about you.

 

FINANCIALS

  • Always be prepared for the worst possible scenario.
  • The guy who wins the most hands is not the guy who makes the most money in the long run.
  • The guy who never loses a hand is not the guy who makes the most money in the long run.
  • Go for positive expected value, not what’s least risky.
  • Make sure your bankroll is large enough for the game you’re playing and the risks you’re taking.
  • Play only with what you can afford to lose.
  • Remember it’s a long term game. You will win or lose individual sessions, but it’s what happens in the long term that matters.

 

STRATEGY

  • Don’t play games that you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.
  • Figure out the game when the stakes aren’t high.
  • Don’t cheat. Cheaters never win in the long run.
  • Stick to your principles.
  • You need to adjust your style of play throughout the night as the dynamics of the game change. Be flexible.
  • Be patient and think long term.
  • The players with the most stamina and focus usually win.
  • Differentiate yourself. Do the opposite of what the rest of the table is doing.
  • Hope is not a good plan.
  • Don’t let yourself go “on tilt”. It’s much more cost effective to take a break, walk around, or leave the game for the night.

 

CONTINUAL LEARNING

  • Educate yourself. Read books and learn from others who have done it before.
  • Learn by doing. Theory is nice, but nothing replaces actual experience.
  • Learn by surrounding yourself with talented players.
  • Just because you win a hand doesn’t mean you’re good and you don’t have more learning to do. You might have just gotten lucky.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

 

CULTURE

  • You’ve gotta love the game. To become really good, you need to live it and sleep it.
  • Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.
  • Be nice and make friends. It’s a small community.
  • Share what you’ve learned with others.
  • Look for opportunities beyond just the game you sat down to play. You never know who you’re going to meet, including new friends for life or new business contacts.
  • Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than just make money.

 

——-
I’m working on writing a fun poker/business book titled Everything I Know About Business I Learned From Poker. It’s meant to be a short, fun, light-hearted book.

Please let me know what you think of the outline above and if you have any suggestions for other points I should include!

Also, I’d really like to include in the book real-life poker stories and business stories as they relate to the bullet points above. If you have any fun or interesting stories you’d like to be considered for inclusion in the book, please share your story by commenting below or emailing me at tony(at)zappos.com.

Thanks!

Tony Hsieh
CEO – Zappos.com

12/30/08 Update: Wrote follow up post: Poker, Business, Life: It’s Never Too Late to Change Tables