Getting Poker (or other) Advice from Audio Books
I’m listening to Phil Gordon’s poker audiobook, and being a big fan of poker, it is proving fascinating – a little too fascinating in fact, as I’ve been in Las Vegas for the past few days, and spending time at the poker tables at the Wynn Hotel and Casino. Listening to advice on no-limit Texas Hold’em and then trying to apply it at the table, WHILE you’re listening, is confusing at best, and economically self-destructive at worst.
The problem is that I hear a passage about playing just about any hand when you’ve got the dealer button because of the enormous advantage of position in no-limit Hold’em, and bam! I’m on the button and lookie here, I’ve got 2-5 suited! That qualifies as just about any hand, so I play it aggressively and manage to lose 3 stacks of chips on the hand because the guy with the sunglasses to my right knows I’m listening to a poker audiobook and therefore probably know jack about actually playing poker. And he’s right.
The problem is that when listening to advice on audiobooks, there is an immediacy to the information that doesn’t exist (for me) when reading a paper book. With a paper book, because I tend to skim, I get an overall feel for the subject and don’t have a chance to apply the advice until after I’ve gotten the overall feel. With an audiobook, I’m concentrating enough on it that my brain processes the advice and spits out recommendations on how to alter my current behaviour, on the spot.
When I’m listening to business advice books, particularly on the subjects of sales or marketing, every paragraph seems to give me an idea for something I have to do when I get out of the car and in to the office. It’s disconcerting, because I have to then rewind the audiobook to avoid missing the next piece of advice. While I’m doing all this contemplating, rewinding, and note-taking, I come close to getting into a car wreck.
Which brings me back to my poker game. I’m concentrating, rewinding, and note-taking, and all of a sudden a pile of chips appears somewhere down the table. I don’t see it in time, and bam! Car wreck. Right there on the poker table. Next time I’ll give the poker advice time to settle, after listening to it (it’s fascinating) on a lunch walk. And at the poker table I’ll listen to music. But I’ll avoid Kenny Rogers.