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12-29-2005 12:14 AM

How did the early players do it?
I'm sorry if this ends up being a dumb question, but I have been pondering it the last couple days.

In our day we have a literal wealth of information on correct poker play. From a recent surplus in publishing of quality books (and some not so quality) to heaps on information found on the Web (some of the best found right here) any person with enough will to succeed can find all the information needed to improve his game abd be a winning player.

But what of the players from earlier, even just a few years ago before the poker boom? For example, Phil Ivey. Granted the guy's gifted, and that plays a big part, but even the most gifted person isn't born with a knowledge of pot odds, positive EV, hand reading skills, and the like. How did these guys learn the game so well without going broke a 100 times in the process?

Also even the earlier players like Doyle Brunson and his crew from the good ole days? Where did they get their poker strategy from?

obsidian 12-29-2005 12:38 AM

Re: How did the early players do it?
They played, learned, and adjusted.

12-29-2005 12:50 AM

Re: How did the early players do it?
Ok, granted. But my question has more to do with how they learned pot odds, sound poker theory, etc.

Let's say it's back in the 60s and 70s and Doyle Brunson is in his heyday. He's playing a whole lot (but not near as much as the Internet players of today) and learning as he plays. When did he find out about the math? Did someone come to him one day and say "Hey Doyle, maybe you should think about making your calls based on the odds you will make your hand compared with the total pot you win for the price you are paying." Surely at some point Brunson learned about pot odds. What about concepts such as the Gap concept. After 5 years of playing did a light bulb go on and he just figure it out on his own? Did another player tell him about it?

So, I guess what I am asking is, was their ONLY source of information their own experience?

Nightwish 12-29-2005 01:02 AM

Re: How did the early players do it?
You do realize that things like pot odds and expected value have been around much longer than the current poker boom, right? Same goes for the concept of game theory.

I'm not saying that Doyle and his buddies knew all about this stuff in the 60s (even though it existed), but it doesn't take a genius to figure out some basics either.

UATrewqaz 12-29-2005 01:18 AM

Re: How did the early players do it?
I think the best explination is they knew the proper things to do without probably being able to articulate the "why" behind it.

They just knew "pump ur big draws" and if you asked them why they'd just be like "you can win a big pot"

AKA they probably were doing all the big +EV things right and the few -EV things they did were not that big a deal.

Also remember their OPPONENTS had a lack of this info too, although most fish have no info either.

umdpoker 12-29-2005 01:44 AM

Re: How did the early players do it?
umm, its sorta common sense if you have taken math before. i thought about pot odds before i ever read anything about poker. obviously, i didn't call it pot odds, but i knew that the relationship between the bet and pot was important. if you are good at math, i think that is a pretty easy concept to figure out on your own. its too bad that i suck at all the other stuff in poker (don't really like "gambling" enough to get really good).

kiemo 12-29-2005 07:15 PM

Re: How did the early players do it?
Smart people in smart universities did thesis papers on lots of math.

These lead other smart people to say 'Gambling seems to be encased in mathmatics, lets do a study on gambling'

+EV is born.

Arnfinn Madsen 12-29-2005 09:06 PM

Re: How did the early players do it?
As long as an intelligent person knows the rules, he should be able to deduce all of the poker theory from that, if he allocates enough time and effort. However, books makes it go much faster.

phish 12-29-2005 09:10 PM

Re: How did the early players do it?
Gotta remember the opposition was also much softer then, given that all this literature wasn't available to them either. If I could have played poker 10 years ago given what I know now, I would've made about $100 million. (exaggerating, but the point stands)

Plus, many of those big name pros HAVE gone broke, some many times.

ZenMusician 12-29-2005 11:26 PM

Re: How did the early players do it?
That and the fact they were cheating, hustling, colluding
scumbags who worked in teams from shared bankrolls.

Old-school poker was quite a different game than it is
played the difference between rugby and golf.

I'm sorry if this ruins your idolatry of pool sharks who
started playing cards one day in the back room.


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