Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese military tacitian. His military strategy masterpiece, Art of War ($2.99), has some pretty solid advice for poker players. Here are 40 great poker tips from Sun Tzu:
- All warfare is based on deception.
- When able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
- Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder and crush him.
- Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy.
- Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage simulated weakness postulates strength.
- At first, then, exhibit the coyness of a maiden until the enemy gives you an opening; afterwards, emulate the rapidity of a running hare, and it will be too late for the enemy to oppose you.
- Attack him where is unprepared; appear where you are not expected.
- Take advantage of the enemys unreadiness, make your way by the unexpected routes, and attack unguarded spots.
- If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.
- He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
- He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
- The rule is not to besiege walled cities if it can possibly be avoided.
- He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
- So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.
- A clever general avoids an army when its spirit is keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish.
- No ruler should put his troops in the field to gratify his own spleen.
- When it was to their advantage, they made a forward move; when otherwise, they stopped still.
- Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.
Psychology & Tilt
- If your opponent is hot-tempered, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak and he may grow arrogant.
- The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemys will to be imposed on him.
- If the enemy is taking his ease, he can harass him; if well supplied with food, he can starve him out; if quietly encamped, he can force him to move.
- Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and hubbub amongst th enemy this is the art of retaining self-discipline.
- Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.
- Tactical maneuvering consists of turning the devious into the direct, and the misfortune into gain.
- A whole army may be robbed of its spirit; a commander-in-chief may be robbed of his presence of mind.
- To be near the goal while the enemy is still far from it, to wait at ease while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be well-fed while the enemy is famished this is the art of husbanding ones strength.
- Dangerous faults which may affect a general: Recklessness, cowardice, hasty temper, delicacy of honor (which is sensitive to shame).
- It is only if one is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that care thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.
- When a fire breaks out inside to enemys camp, respond at once with an attack from without.
- If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
- To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
- Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy.
- He wins the battle by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.
- Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious doubts. Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared.
- A kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.
General Poker Strategy
- Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.
- The skillful tactician may be likened to the shauai-jan. Now the shuai-jan is a snake that is found in the ChUng mountains. Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both.
- By consistently hanging on the enemys flank, we shall succeed in the long run in the killing the commander-in-chief.
- The general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not what what to defend; and he is skillful in defense who opponent does not know what to attack.
- If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in.
You thought the competition was horrible in 2004? If poker was around, I bet Sun Tzu would crush souls in 544 B.C