Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Dao of Strategic Assessment (18): Assessing from the Field Level

Regardless of the situation, always maintain a state of assessment. Ms. Rousso's process of assessing the competitor is simple but efficient for the Poker game.


Vanessa Rousso Teaches the Art of Poker

LP: Whose idea was it to incorporate the principles from Sun Tzu’s book “The Art of War” into the curriculum?

VR: Oh yeah, that’s me; that’s typical me. I’m obsessed with the Art of War and Sun Tzu. It goes along with the whole idea of game theory and all that. I’m a big strategy buff. I’ve always loved riddles and puzzles and anything where you use logic and figure out the optimal play. The strategies that Sun Tzu espouses I find it to be so amazing because although it was written so long ago, his advice is really timeless and boundless. It’s extended for hundreds of years in truthfulness and beyond just war obviously. All of his points can be analogized to business and obviously to poker. It was a way to make the content a little more unique from other boot camps that are out there. So I wrote the curriculum based on that and based on the many times that I’ve read Sun Tzu, and I hope people like it. The game theory stuff I’ve taught a lot over the last few years and I just added the Art of War stuff to it. So it will be the first time I teach it on April 5th.

LP: I think people are going to love it. Which bit of the Art of War do you think best applies to the game of poker?

VR: There is none that is “best”. There are a couple tenants that I have centered my presentation around that I find are really germane to poker. Those are probably the parts where he talks about, and I’m not sure if I’m getting the quote exactly right, but something to the extent of “he who makes no calculation will never be victorious; he who sometimes makes calculations will sometimes find victory, and only those that make many calculations will find victory often.”

Then he goes on to break down the factors that are involved in calculations, such as measurement, calculations, quantity, comparison, and then victory. Those all analogize to poker really well.

First you need to measure and figure out what’s my chip stack? What are the blinds? How much does it cost a round? How many chips do my opponents have at the table? You need to measure and size up your opponent.

Then you, of course, calculate. You calculate your pot odds, you calculate your average chip stack and how you are, relative to that. You calculate your average chip stack at the next level; calculate how much time is left in the level, and what sort of shape you will be in at the next level, and then so on and so forth.

Then you compare your different alternatives and choose the best one. If you do analysis like that, you will be victorious far more often than if you ignore the calculations that are necessary in poker.

That’s pretty much what forms the framework of how I use the Art of War in my presentation. Also there is a big chunk of it on “know thyself” and also “know thy opponent.” I tie that into my game theory information acquisition chapter, which I have taught at a ton of boot camps before. So Sun Tzu ties in well there as well.

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