Playing poker from the ‘outside in’



There are plenty of variations of the “outside in” philosophy of quick emotional change. Feeling down, then force yourself to smile.

The outward expression can trigger an emotional change inside. Feeling angry, then take a deep breath and chant a calming expression.
What does this have to do with poker?

Too often we are afraid of making change. Change is necessary for growth.

If you have trouble experimenting or forcing yourself to progress, I’m going to tap into the “outside in” philosophy to provide you with the tools to get over the hump.

In your next poker session, I want you to try something you’ve never tried before. Pick a situation that is an opportunity for you.

If you don’t bluff enough, try to find one hand where you can make a well-timed bluff. Don’t worry about the outcome. Just concentrate on throwing the chips out.

If you’re having trouble doing this, try the “outside in” approach. Just force yourself to say the word “bet” and “raise” loud and clear and then determine how much.

Do you have trouble with bullies? Do you avoid the table aggressor? Force yourself to take him on in a hand.

Try to get heads-up, preferably when you have position, and think how you’re going to steal the hand regardless of your cards.

Do you have trouble folding to any draw? Force yourself to grab those cards and throw them in the muck as soon as you are priced out of the draw.

Float one hand. Call from position with the intention of stealing on a later street.

Try a check-raise bluff. Don’t look at your cards and play them like aces. Play your hand like a monster.

The key is to get out of your comfort zone. Force yourself to try something that you otherwise wouldn’t.

Poker is the perfect opportunity to use the “outside in” approach if you’re having trouble forcing yourself to try new things.

Commit yourself to an action by verbally declaring and then you can follow through with the action with your chips.

Don’t worry about the outcome, but bask in the feeling of empowerment.

Remember that feeling and soon you will have the confidence to implement well-timed moves into your arsenal of tricks.

— David Apostolico is the author of numerous poker strategy books including Tournament Poker and The Art of War. His latest, You are the Variable, is on Kindle. Contact him at

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine