My youngest offspring loves to play the Rovio Entertainment smash hit Angry Birds. If my trusty iPad is not in its usual resting place in my office, you can bet the young one is on it catapulting birds across the screen in an attempt to destroy those nasty, green pigs.
Although I don’t play Angry Birds all that often — I’m more of a Bejeweled Blitz kind of guy — I will admit to having spent far too much time trying to get the maximum three stars on each level in the past. I’ll also hold my hand up and admit to having played the game today, which gave me inspiration to draw some comparisons between playing poker and Angry Birds.
Before you ask, I’ve not been drinking. Nor have I lost the plot; there really are some areas of poker and Angry Birds in which you can see similarities. Honestly. Don’t believe me? Keep reading and I will prove it to you.
The Simplest Solution Is Often The Correct One
Occam’s Razor, which in layman’s terms essentially means “the simplest explanation is usually the correct one,” applies to both poker and sling-shotting wingless birds at pigs.
There are dozens of strategy articles on this very site that advocate keeping things simple at the poker table — especially against lesser skilled or knowledgeable opponents — because you can often overcomplicate a situation and end up leveling yourself or completely bamboozling your opponent which usually has the opposite effect of what you wanted to achieve.
In the world of bird flinging, the simplest solution is often the correct one, too. I bet you never try to rebound your feathery friend off three walls in an attempt to make it land perfectly on top of the big boulder that has several pigs sat perilously under. You simply lob your bird directly at the said boulder and hope for the best.
The Best Results Are Achieved Via Minor Changes
When you miss a shot during a level of Angry Birds or narrowly miss out on achieving three stars, I’d be willing to bet good money that you make minor adjustments to the angle of your shot rather than go back to the drawing board and make wholesale changes that result in a completely different approach to the task.
The same goes for poker. If a specific strategy isn’t working, you are often better off making minor adjustments to your game rather than massive shifts in direction.
For example, if you think you’re playing too tight and want to loosen up, gradually widen the range of hands you’re happy playing rather than suddenly emulating Viktor Blom and playing 85% of your hands regardless of the action in front of you.
There Is More Than One Way to Skin a Cat
Before you animal lovers go nuts about this heading, let it be known I am a major moggy fan and do not advocate the skinning of cats — or any other animal to be fair. It’s a saying with which you’re all familiar — the cat is sometimes swapped with “shear a sheep,” “roast a reindeer,” or something else.
Anyway, back to the point in question. Although earlier I advocated taking the simplest path in both poker and Angry Birds, both games allow you to take different routes on your way to the achieving same goal.
For example, in poker, you can play your draws fast or slow depending on your opponent and still end up with your entire stack in the middle of the table if that’s your end goal. Meanwhile over in the realm of birds that are angry, you’ll often be able to achieve a three-star ranking by approaching the problem from a number of different angles.
In both, once you have tried the most obvious path and then made some minor adjustments to your plan of attack, if you still can’t win you may need to look at things from a different perspective.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
This one is quite obvious for both poker and pig hunting. When you are playing poker it is vitally important to be aware of what is going on around you. For example, if you’re not watching for the tendencies of your opponents or are unaware of who is left to act, you are playing blindly and that is not going to do you many favors.
Likewise in Angry Birds, before you draw back that slingshot and fire a hapless bird towards certain death, take a good luck at the layout of the map. You might discover a route that is obviously the best — there’s Occam’s Razor again — when you didn’t see it before.
I guess that’s all for now. Feel free to leave you own take on similarities between Angry Birds in the comments box below because there should be a few more out there. Now where did I put my iPad?
NOTE: No birds, cats, or poker players were harmed during the creation of this article.