Why Weakness Is Good: It Allows You to Build a Solid Foundation
A college graduate at the age of 19, Brandon Adams holds Master’s degrees in Finance and Real Estate, and is scheduled to earn his PhD in business from Harvard University later this year.
Adams is a high-stakes poker player who has been on multiple television programs, including the 2005 Tournament of Champions and the 2007 World Series of Poker, where he finished sixth in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event, earning more than $75,000. Recently, Brandon earned a lot of notoriety – and cold hard cash - by beating Sammy Farha out of almost a $1 million while playing heads up Pot-Limit Omaha.
Brandon is also the author of Broke: A Poker Novel, a fictional account of poker players and the lives they lead. Brandon Adams plays online at Full Tilt Poker.
Adams: Well, typically, when you’re the weaker player, suppose that you’re starting the new game and you’re sitting down for the purposes of learning this new game, and you know that you’re one of the weakest players at the table. Your best option when learning is to play sub optimally type, to play overly conservative and then build from that basis. So, like, if you observe that the very best players in this particular game are playing 25% of their hands before the flop and the full [ring game], perhaps, as someone who’s learning the game, your best option is to play very tight and only play 12% of your hands, like, only the super premium hands. And that strategy will ensure that, if you’re a loser in the game, you’ll probably be a small loser and you will get to observe and sort of slowly understand the marginal situations that the better players are getting themselves into and slowly imitate them, gradually start playing more hands, giving more of a feel for the game and then developing like that. Just as if you were starting an investor, if you’re training your son or something to start investing his money, you wouldn’t want him to start in biotechnology stocks. You’d want to teach him the basics of, you know, this is a balance sheet of assets and liabilities and equity and you have cash flow and debt and you’d want to teach him the basics of ABC value investing. You want to invest in companies that have a lot of cash flow, that have a little leverage and stuff like this. It’s the same principle. Gradually, he can build from there to sort of more advanced investing.
Being a novice in a field of experts is a moment to cherish, not fear, says Adams. Trying to start off strong and impress your more experienced peers only robs you of the chance to start building your game at the ground level. And once you have a strong foundation, the sky's the limit.
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