From the Big Screen to the Final Table: Year in Review, Part 1
To help poker players with their games, PokerNews has been using quotes from movies to explain key concepts. Although we featured a number of flicks in the process of helping our readers develop, there are ten quotes that stick out from our series this year that stick out and hopefully these gems will help you elevate your game in 2009. Here is the first part of our "From the Big Screen to the Final Table" year in review.
1. Batty - Blade Runner
"Quite an experience to live life in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."
Don't hesitate to put your stack at risk.
One of the biggest reasons Phil Ivey is the best player on the planet is that the guy has no qualms about dropping his buy-in on a coin flip. He has found a way to get past the financial aspect of playing and focuses on winning the game instead and has amassed millions as a result of this philosophy. According to Ivey, he is unafraid to lose and this makes him a terror at the tables because other players have trouble finding a comfort zone in a game with such dramatic swings.
Remember to be fearless, but not stupid and you will find that if you are making the right moves repeatedly, eventually the odds will turn in your favor and when they do, hopefully it will be for a big payday.
2. Bender - Breakfast Club
"Being bad feels pretty good, huh?"
Sometimes you have to take risks to get paid.
Poker is not a sport for the meek. You have to be able to risk your stack on a coin flip and you have to be able to wager your tournament life without remorse. This doesn't mean that you want to make a habit of making bad plays, but it does mean you have to be able to take calculated risks if you want to see the finish line. In essence, it is impossible to win a tournament without putting your stack at risk, so learn how to do it and feel confident in your actions before you throw away hard-earned cash at the tables.
3. Mickey Knox - Natural Born Killers
Mickey: I realized my true calling in life.
Wayne Gale: What's that?
Mickey: Shit, man, I'm a natural born killer.
Take them down or be taken down
Poker is a predatory game. The object is to be the last player standing and the only way to do that is to eliminate your opponents one by one. Consider yourself to be a lion grazing on the Serengeti Plain in northern Tanzania. You must establish your dominance and feed off the food chain by using keen hunting instincts. In essence, you're goal is to chow down on the weak and bring home food for your pride. Big cats don't fear and neither should a poker player.
4. Mike McDermott - Rounders
"Listen, here's the thing. If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker."
Don't give out information to other players.
By profiling players, you will find some that are unable to hide their tells. The key here is to not let on about your newfound knowledge. Unlike Mike McDermott, who at the end of Rounders let's Teddy KGB know that he has picked up on a KGB's tell, your goal is to keep this information as quiet as possible so that you can keep tapping into the ATM that is sitting across from you. In other words, make sure your actions don't let on that you have figured out a player's weaknesses if you want to bleed them dry, otherwise, you may scare away the fish and you'll lose out on taking a sizable chunk of their bankroll.
5. Danny Donahue - Role Models
Danny: Man, why do you bow for that guy?
Augie Farks: Because he's the king, and he rules the entire realm.
Danny: Oh he rules the entire realm? Oh my bad.
Danny: Is that when he is or isn't whacking it to The Sims?
Be the master of your domain.
At the end of the day, the only person you have to satisfy with your poker results is you. If you've played your best and done what you can to meet the universe halfway (luck/variance is the other half of this equation), you can rest your head on your pillow at night knowing you did everything you could. If you're lying to yourself and trying to rationalize horrible plays, then obviously you won't find rest so easy to come by. Make a decision to be the first kind of player because this is how you improve your game and continue to find enjoyment in playing the game. As with anything in life, if you are making the right decisions, you'll eventually find yourself ahead of the game.