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Tony Murtagh

180 Posts
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8/2/2007 2:13:23 AM

Dear Poker Player,

Warren Buffett is one smart dude. And RICH.

He's the second richest man in the WORLD... right behind Bill Gates. Forbes estimates that his net worth is $40 BILLION.

(How's THAT for a bankroll?)

What's interesting about Buffett is that he made his fortune over a LONGGG period of time... by consistently beating the stock market year after year after year.

He wasn't one of those "overnight" dot-com billionaires.

He wasn't "lucky" to be in the right place at the right time.

He didn't "invent" some new technology that changed the world.

Nope... all he did was invest and "pick winners" over and over. Since taking control of Berkshire 40 years ago, Buffett has delivered a compound annual return of 22%.

AND JUST BY DOING THAT, he became the 2nd richest man alive.

OK-- so why am I rambling on about 75-year old man who's good at investing?

The reason is because I've realized that there are DOZENS of important parallels between the STOCK MARKET and POKER.

Here are just a few:

* The stock market is often considered "gambling", due to its unpredictable nature... just as POKER is often considered gambling, even though it's a SKILL game.

* The stock market has a heavy emphasis on odds and mathematics... just like poker.

* The stock market is predominately a male-driven industry... just like poker.

* The stock market has PLENTY of up's and down's, and "streaks"... just like poker.

* And so on.

Of course, these are "surface" similarities.

Now think about the PSYCHOLOGY of poker and the stock market... and how they're often EXACTLY THE SAME:

* In the stock market, everyone dreams of buying that one MIRACLE STOCK that will go from $2 to $200 and make them rich...

In poker, everyone has their "pipe dream" of winning a huge million-dollar tournament on ESPN.

* When a stock tanks, most investors FREAK OUT and immediately make several bad investment decisions in a row. It's usually THESE decisions that hurt them the most.

In poker, this is known as "tilt". Bad beats cause some damage... but it's usually the decisions you make AFTER the bad beats that cause you to lose the game.

* Believe it or not, most stock investors come out on the LOSING END over time... even though the market has historically gone UP year after year.

Most poker players end up losing over time also, despite all the "fish" out there to prey on.

* And so on.

OK, so you get the idea.

Lately I've been reading a lot of books about the stock market... and especially about Warren Buffett. (Hell, I need somewhere to invest all these poker winnings!)

Anyway, here's what's REALLY interesting:

Warren Buffett's INVESTMENT APPROACH is almost identical to the POKER STRATEGY I use every day.

And it's the SAME approach used by top poker pros to consistently win tournaments and ring games...

Interesting, huh?

Of course, it makes sense when you think about it.

If poker and investing are similar, then the guys who beat the STOCK MARKET probably use the same techniques as the guys who win at POKER.

And who better to learn poker from than the "KING" of the stock market... and the 2nd richest man in the world?


Warren Buffett operates on PRINCIPLES. He doesn't get caught up in "hype" or emotion.

Below are the five MOST IMPORTANT principles that he follows... and how they relate to your poker game.


Patience, patience, patience!

It's the number one mistake that causes most poker players to lose... and it's one of the "secrets" to Buffett's 22% annual returns.

Warren Buffett does not make an investment unless he is absolutely 100% confident that it will make him money.

That means he PASSES UP a lot of great investment opportunities.

Warren Buffett has said "no" to stocks that ended up increasing by 10,000%!

But more importantly... he's passed up all those other stocks that LOOKED GOOD, but PLUMMETED later.

The problem is, us human beings are addicted to ACTION and MOVEMENT and EXCITEMENT. We don't want to just sit around and WAIT.

But that's EXACTLY what Buffett does...

He waits.

And waits.

And waits.

He KNOWS that sooner or later, a GREAT opportunity will come up... and then he'll jump on it.

It's the same way with poker.

You've GOT to be patient. We all want to "get in there" and make strong bets... bluff out opponents... and take down lots of pots. We want ACTION.


You've got to sit back... be patient... and WAIT.

Wait for good cards.

Wait for the PERFECT time to bust the manic at the table.

Wait for the PERFECT time to steal the blinds.

Wait for the PERFECT time to bluff out an opponent.

Wait for the PERFECT time to go all-in.

And then when you DO make a move...


Buffett insists on keeping 10-20% turnover with his portfolio.

This means he generally holds onto a stock for 5-10 years... AT LEAST. This is obviously OPPOSITE of how most investors do it. Most investors are checking the tickers every HOUR-- watching for the slightest indication of movement or news.

More importantly... Buffett only invests in a FEW STOCKS AT A TIME.

Now THIS is crucial, because it goes against everything you've ever learned.

Growing up, you probably heard this advice a lot:

"Never put all your eggs in one basket."


Well, Warren Buffett does the OPPOSITE.

He puts all his eggs in one basket... but... he chooses that basket VERY CAREFULLY!

You see, Buffett believes that if you've done your homework and you're confident in your decision, there's NO NEED to "diversify".

In fact, he believes this is the ONLY REAL WAY to get rich in the stock market. Because if you buy LOTS of stocks, some are doomed to go down... and that will hurt your gains.

Now think how this relates to poker.

In poker, most players risk money on LOTS of pots, and try to get the best odds for each one... maybe 55%, 60%, and the OCCASIONAL 70% or higher.

What PROFESSIONAL poker players do is only play those OCCASIONAL pots with the best odds.

BUT, they risk more chips when they do it...

So instead of risking 20% of your chip stack five times... you want to risk 90% of your chip stack ONE time. But you choose that time VERY CAREFULLY!

For instance, let's say the "average" poker player enters three pots where he feels the odds are in his favor.

The three pots go like this:

1.) He risks 1000 in chips with 60% odds.

2.) He risks 1000 in chips with 50% odds.

3.) He risks 1000 in chips with 60% odds.

Now... MATHEMATICALLY speaking... there are EIGHT different ways these scenarios can go. They are as follows (a win is designated with "W" and a loss with "L"):

1.) W-W-W

2.) W-W-L

3.) W-L-W

4.) W-L-L

5.) L-W-W

6.) L-W-L

7.) L-L-W

8.) L-L-L

If he wins all three, he ends up with 3000 chips in profit.

If he wins two but loses one, he ends up with just 1000 chips in profit.

If he LOSES two but wins one, he ends up with 1000 chips in losses.

And he if loses all three, he loses 3000 chips total.

Get it?

Now let me share with you the PERCENTAGES of the above scenarios.

Watch out, this may surprise you.

If you were to play three pots as described above and risk 1000 chips for each one, and do this exercise 100 times, here's what would happen:

18% of the time you'd win 3,000 chips total.

42% of the time you'd win 1,000 chips total.

32% of the time you'd lose 1,000 chips total.

8% of the time you'd lose 3,000 chips total.

Your "net average" would be to PROFIT 400 CHIPS.

OK... that's the "normal" approach.

Now let's look at the WARREN BUFFETT approach.

Let's say you entered just ONE pot and risked 3000 chips (instead of 1000) with 70% odds in your favor.

Now watch what happens:

70% of the time you'd win 3,000 chips total.

30% of the time you'd lose 3,000 chips total.

Your "net average" would be to PROFIT 1200 CHIPS.

That's TRIPLE the results over time!

The key is to get BETTER ODDS and RISK MORE.

I better interject here that I do NOT recommend being one of those players who just sits back, waits for the "nuts", and then goes all-in.

Not even close.

In fact, if you've read my newsletters you know that I'm a very aggressive player who loves to push action.

The KEY is that I BUILD THIS IMAGE through techniques based on feeler bets, positioning, and sensing weakness.


I know that when the odds are heavily in my favor, it's time to put my eggs in one basket and go for it...


There's a popular stock market concept called, "Efficient Market Theory" (EMT).

Most of the world's leading business schools teach this widely-accepted concept.


Warren Buffett says that the EMT is a bunch of hogwash!

He's actually gone on record saying that part of him LOVES the fact that business schools teach this theory: It makes things easier on him because his competition doesn't know what they're doing!

Now... I'm not going to argue whether the theory is right or wrong. It doesn't matter for our discussion here.

What I find intriguing is what Buffett believes IS true about the stock market...

You see, the EMT basically says that the stock market is "efficient" in its pricing... and that most buy/sell behavior is "rational".

Buffett disagrees. He is CONSTANTLY scouting for opportunities where he thinks the market is acting in an IRRATIONAL manner... and then he jumps on the chance to buy an under-priced stock.

In other words, a core part of his investment philosophy is that the stock market is NOT efficient... and that there's always room to grow your "bankroll" when others act irrationally.

It's the same with poker.

When you're playing Texas Holdem, you want to spot the "sucker" at the table... the guy who is making IRRATIONAL decisions.

This doesn't only apply to amateurs, either. Even PROS have "irrational" habits, tells, and "tilt" behavior.

Your OPPONENTS will open up millions of "profit opportunities" for you... if you just watch closely.

And that brings us to the next principle:


This one has almost a direct translation to poker:


You're not playing poker against the house... you're playing against your opponents.

With the stock market, everyone is always looking at the PRICE of a stock to determine if it's worth buying or selling.

Buffett actually doesn't even look at the price until LAST. What he looks at is the VALUE OF THE BUSINESS.

He only invests in top-notch businesses that meet specific conditions. He wants a business with strong growth prospects LONG TERM, good management, and stable numbers.

Once he finds a business that meets these criteria, THEN he looks at the price.

When the cards come out, what's the first thing you're thinking about? What are you looking at?

You should be thinking about your OPPONENTS... the POSITIONING at the table... the BETTING HABITS you've picked up in the last few hands... and your opponents' FACES as they look at their cards.

THEN when the action comes to you and it's YOUR TURN, you should peek to see what you're holding.

Opponents first, cards second.


Warren Buffett is actually a very "conservative" investor, as are most poker professionals. He'll only buy stocks that he feels are practically "guaranteed" to go up.

You should demand a "margin of safety" on every hand you play. This is actually much easier than it sounds.

Some of your tactics should include:

* Avoiding heads-up situations with players who have more chips, and instead favoring those with fewer chips. (That way if you go all-in and lose, you can still be in the game.)

* Buying pots and bluffing when you have good positioning. (That way you can get a read on your opponent and escape if things go bad.)

* Only "chasing" draws when the pot odds are CONSIDERABLY in your favor. (That way you end up way ahead over time.)

* And so on.


Perhaps the MOST IMPORTANT lesson I've learned from Warren Buffett is to NEVER FEAR doing the "unpopular" thing.

His career PROVES that "going against the grain" is often the BEST choice.

He doesn't live by what others do... he operates on GUIDING PRINCIPLES that "win" over time.

Whether it's ways to leverage table positioning, tactics for defeating common opponent styles, techniques for "stealing the button", or figuring out the right times to bluff...

...You've got to first learn the POKER PRINCIPLES. And then you need the GUTS to stick to them.

So where do you learn these principles?

The best place to start is by joining my free Poker Tips email newsletter. It's jam-packed with Texas Holem tactics and secrets that you can INSTANTLY use to increase your winnings.

Join now, and your first issue will include this free report:

"Avoid These Costly Mistakes When Playing Texas Holdem"

Inside you'll learn the 10 most dangerous mistakes most poker players make... and HOW YOU CAN AVOID THEM.

Just go here now to get started:

Talk to you soon. Your New Friend,

Roy Rounder


The above article and many more on poker and other games can be found at The Betting Directory

Tony Murtagh Check out our Poker Blog for the very latest news of tournaments, bonuses and information. For some light relief go to

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