Phil Ivey says just be yourself …

Phil Ivey
Image by ralphunden via Flickr

At 6:07 am this Saturday I got an email from Phil Ivey with the subject line “Phil Ivey – Don’t Read This Tip?”. And I did not read it … until 11:07 pm that night. Well … it really was not sent by Phil Ivey but by Full Tilt Poker on his behalf as I am a member of Full Tilt Poker.

The article is well timed for me as I am in the process of defining who I am in the poker world. I have read well over 40 books about poker and have watched videos and televised poker. I can tell you the amount of information that I have gathered is both astounding and contradictory. Some authors will tell you up front that a lot of what is out there for us to read and learn from is unreliable. That brings me to the following question. Who do you trust for your poker information?

I have no easy answer because of a lot of what is out there is pretty good, at least on the surface. And all that brings me back to the tip from Phil Ivey about just being yourself.

He basically said that you should read what you can about poker, discuss poker with friends, talk about poker and think about poker. But the bottom line is that when you come to the table, just play poker. Gain your experience from playing and don’t worry about the right or the wrong thing to do. The experience you gain playing will help you integrate the book and video learning. Develop your own style. Play your own game. Yes, it is helpful to know the math and the odds of making a poker hand but you also have to know who you are playing against and the books won’t give you that information. Your playing experience will.

With all of my training, it is now  time for me to experience poker. How do you integrate your poker training into your playing? Is it possible to over think your playing? Do you gain all of your knowledge by just playing?

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