Imagination and performance at the poker table



Albert Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” No-limit hold’em is a variation of Einstein’s statement.

In tournament play where big bets and all-ins preflop and postflop abound; simply having a hand may not matter unless you can see the river card.

Great actors seldom have a bad performance; Al Pacino and Robert De Niro can transform a poor script into a great story with a great performance.

They also have the ability to ad-lib during filming. Their imagination translates into performance. Let’s examine why a great performance will help your game.

• To have a great performance, actors study and learn the script. Do you study and learn the game?

• Actors interact with other actors in a scene. Do you know each player at the table and how to interact with them?

• Great actors take direction from directors and understand what the director wants from them. Understanding what another player wants you to do at a given moment will help you with your decision.

• Actors never over-act in a scene; they let the scene come to them. When you have a great hand do you over-act? Being natural is always the key; don’t over-act.

• Actors wear costumes designed for the movie script. Your appearance is your first impression to another player; when you look professional you create an air of professionalism.

• Directors always begin each seen with these words, “Quiet on the set, action.” A quiet player is a mysterious player. When you talk before, during, and after a hand, you’re giving information to other players. “QUIET ON THE TABLE, ACTION!”

• Actors know when they performed poorly; luckily the director will re-shoot the scene. Players don’t get a do-over; we just lose. Actors learn why the scene was done poorly; players should also know why they preformed poorly.

• Producers of movies have a budget for each production. Players should have a budget for each hand. Don’t commit more money into a bad hand, cut your losses and fold a bad hand. Producers will cut a scene from a movie when it becomes too costly.

Using your imagination and performing well in a hand can make the difference in a session. Simply knowing the game these days isn’t enough to carry you to the finish line.

— Antonio Pinzari has been playing professionally since the ’70s. He’s the creator of 23 Poker and Wild Tallahassee Poker, which you can learn more about at

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine