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From the Big Screen to the Final Table: Fight Club

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Modern cinema is a great tool for teaching players how to learn the game because it crosses cultural barriers in a way that few teaching elements can. All one needs to do is listen to the advice that can be found in the lines of a variety of films and then remember their relationship to playing poker. Now this doesn’t mean that you can repeatedly use a line from Goodfellas in conversation while playing, but it does mean you should keep in mind the concepts that go with the line.

When most people think of Brad Pitt’s career, they think of his turn as Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club. Durden is the alter-ego of the story’s main character and the narrator. Pitt’s portrayal of this alpha-male role model is the stuff legends are made of. Arguably the main character of the movie, Durden is a one-man wrecking crew that wreaks mayhem at every turn. There are many parallels between poker players and the quote below that Durden so brilliantly helped sear into the brains of film fans around the world. Pay attention if you want to learn what it takes to knockout the competition.

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” — Tyler Durden

You have to learn the rules in order to figure out how to break them

No, this does not mean perfect the art of cheating, but it does mean that a winning player must learn the nuances of the game so that they can apply them differently depending on the situation. It's one thing to be an intuitive player that can read people, but in today’s world, that’s not good enough. A player has to understand the deeper levels of game theory if they want to move into the winner’s spotlight and the only way to do that is to learn the game inside and out. That way you can change tactics in a situation, where others would never dare, which makes it virtually impossible for an opponent to figure out your game.

Everyone goes broke at some point, but it is what we do when we are broke that will define us as players

Life sucks and then you go broke. Welcome to the club. A lot of the game’s elite have seen their share of hard times, so don’t feel too bad. In fact, many of our viewers would be surprised at how volatile the bankrolls of the some of the game’s biggest players really are. It's difficult for even the game’s elite to stay in the green, so cut yourself a little slack if you hit the bottom. The key here is to take time to learn how to fix the leaks in your game. Read some books, check out some strategy online, and talk poker with friends, as it will help you figure out where you went wrong. Sometimes life isn’t fair, but you have to make the best of it. If you go bust, keep your chin up and take every opportunity to learn from your mistakes and put your best foot forward.

Poker is a game, so enjoy it while you can

As members of the media, we hear about bad beats all of the time. Sometimes it is difficult to give too much credence to some guy’s hand getting cracked when there are human rights atrocities going on in Darfur. In other words, remember you are playing a game. It is a gift that players even have something to bitch about, as there are many that aren’t so lucky. Consider the life of an orphan in a third-world country the next time you want to stew over getting your kings cracked. Try to relax and have some fun before your brain implodes. Poker is a game. It's not life or death. The game will be running long after you’re dead and gone, so don’t think the world is going to end if you get sucked out on. If you forget about the bad times in poker and just have fun with the game, you will remain passionate about the sport for years to come.

For more game improvement tips check out our strategy section, and be sure to follow us on Twitter too.

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