poker fu, baby


Originally, to practice kung fu did not just mean to practice Chinese martial arts. Instead, it referred to the process of one’s training – the strengthening of the body and the mind, the learning and the perfection of one’s skills – rather than to what was being trained. It refers to excellence achieved through long practice in any endeavor. — From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Okay, let me say more than a few words here about Performance Poker and its creator, Anthony Okrongly (aok). This is how I found out about his strategy: Back in August I had a very small bankroll ($50) and I felt like I really needed to use it wisely because I probably wouldn’t be able to redeposit any time soon. I was trying to become a better, profitable ONLINE player. I felt that there was a difference between playing poker online and playing live games although I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I did realize that online games, especially the micro-limits at which I was playing, were much more loose and irrational than live play. So I wanted to find someone who was successful at ONLINE poker and who was willing to pretty much hold me by the hand and teach me. Especially since I was looking at my one last shot, at least for awhile.

So I posted on the Flop Turn River forum that I was looking for a “badass poker mentor.” It was aok who responded. He sent me an email. What he said really got me excited.

What times are you available to play or to watch me play? I normally [play] Wed and Thursday during the day and weekend nights plus some weeknights after 9.

I am a serious poker trainer. I have a system you need to read and a method I follow – so even if you aren’t watching me play I can still help you by reviewing all you hand histories. Not only do I train you, I guarantee your results as long as you follow my system.

“Guarantee my results”?! Well, hell, let’s do this! He had a little questionnaire he wanted me to answer that would give him a better idea of my poker background and experience. Then I went to his site and read the extensive introduction and explanation of the Performance Poker strategies. As I read a lot of bells started going off.

The main, striking difference in his approach to teaching poker than anything else I’ve come across is this: aok understands that the losing poker player, especially the losing ONLINE poker player is, above all other things, undisciplined. There are some written exercises aok asks you to do if you are serious about changing your play and your poker habits. On the surface they seem silly, but I understood the psychology of them and, in the end, found them to be instrumental to me developing a new approach.

At the time, I used to think that I played poker because I liked to win and because I wanted to win. But the reality was that I played poker because I liked the thrill, that pure adrenaline rush. I loved the way my heart jumped in my chest in the time between me clicking the ALL IN button and the deal of the river card. It wasn’t about winning. If it was about winning I would have quit a long time ago. I just told myself I wanted to win. As I learned from aok, winning poker can, at times, be pretty boring.

He told me to get Skype, which I did, and we set a time to get together so he could show me what he does. He called me up on Skype and I watched him play for about 45 minutes. On every hand he explained what he was doing and why. After watching him play live, combined with absorbing the information on his site and in the nifty Quick Start Sheet, I was ready to go.

Very simply, his system worked. It is designed to minimize losses (and bad beats) and maximize profits. It is in it’s essence a tight aggressive style. I call it Poker Fu because on many occasions, in a round of play, you end up using your opponent’s aggression against him. Or, when the other player throws bets at you like punches, you just step out of the way. It’s the way of least resistance in that you don’t try to make people fold. In fact, an important part of the strategy is keeping other players in the hand and extending the betting when you have the best of it.

The biggest struggle I had was sticking to the system. Often when I got away from strictly following the program, I lost money. But when I followed directions, I always ended my poker session with a profit. I still use this system when I play full ring games although I prefer 6 Max NL Hold’em (that’s the adrenaline junkie in me!). aok has written a piece on how to beat that game, too. This may sound obvious but I don’t think it really is… The single most important thing I learned from aok is how to fold my hand. And it is that idea that helps me stay profitable no matter what variation of poker I play.

The bottom-line is this: Since l started using the Performance Poker principles about a month and a half ago, I’ve made withdrawals from my poker accounts for a total of around $140. That’s almost three times my starting bankroll. I’m still going and I haven’t had to make anymore out-of-pocket deposits.


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