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Lee Davy shares a lesson he learned from the American money magnet, Ray Dalio, and explains how it can be used to improve your poker game.

What don’t you know?

That’s my mantra for 2015 and it comes from the mind of Ray Dalio. I know what you are thinking. What has Ray Dalio won, right? Ray Dalio is not a poker player. He’s the founder of Bridgwater Associates and one of the most influential money masters in the world, valued at an estimated net worth of $15 billion.

I had never heard of the man until I started reading Money: Master the Game – 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom – the first book by Tony Robbins in two decades. In the book Robbins interviews Dalio and this is where the phrase popped up. I underlined it instantly. I wrote it in my diary instantly. I wrote it on a piece of paper and thrust it onto my fridge instantly. It’s a game changer. Four simple words that when connected gives you a whole new insight into how the world works.

As this is an article written for a poker blog lets use poker as an example of how influential this sentence can be.

Three weeks ago I decided to return to my local home game after a two-year absence. I left because at the time I was losing a lot of money – money that I couldn’t afford to lose. It was affecting my mood. I would sit there with a face down to the ground. I mean, what’s the point of that?

A few months ago I started to realize how much I was missing the boys from the game. They were my community and without them there was something missing from my life. I decided I needed that void filled. I decided to get back into the game.

We play Dealers Choice. The stakes are £1/1 and the games plays short-handed. Players generally sit down with £100 in front of them and stacks vary between £100 and £1,000 as the game ebbs an flows. The derivatives of poker that we play include Badugi, Draw, Irish, Omaha Hi/Lo, Seven Card Stud Spit and Twist, Double Flop Games and Maltese Cross.

In the past three weeks I have lost £600. There have been a number of hands where I have gotten extremely unlucky, but I am well aware that without a series of mistakes, in big pots, I would be in the black. My smile is started to turn south. My mood is changing.

Until last night my modus operandi remained unmoved. Wait for the game, withdraw cash from the ATM, turn up and hope the luck falls on my side. Then I spent a few hours reading about Ray Dalio.

What don’t you know?

I posed this question with respect to my home game, and this is what I uncovered.

1# Badugi

What don’t you know?

I don’t know the basic rules of poker.

I was involved in a hand a few weeks ago whereby I had hit an A234 Badugi. The pot was quite decent and there were still two draws to come. I wasn’t sure whether I was holding a four Badugi, or whether I had a straight and therefore the hand was counterfeit.

I whispered the hand in the ear of one of the players who was no longer in the hand.

“Yeah…that’s fantastic.” Said the player.

Everyone heard him.

Everyone burst out laughing.

Everyone folded.

I also realized that I didn’t have a clue what would happen should showdown involve zero Badugi hands? I asked the other players and they explained that the lowest flush hand would win. I still didn’t really understand.

Last night I learned the rules of Badugi.

2# Seven Card Stud Spit and Twist

What don’t you know?

I don’t know when to check, raise or fold when the action gets heavy and I have a low draw.

If you don’t understand this type of poker game then let me briefly explain. The rules are the same as Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo with the exception that each round is pot limit, and there is a community upcard.

There is a player in the game that is always choosing it on his deal, always seems to have the wheel in front of him, and always bets pot. When he is not in the hand, I find myself pushing the pace, on a draw, missing and doing damage to my bankroll.

Last night I joined an online training poker site and watched some Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo videos. I also called Stuart Rutter for an impromptu lesson. Now I feel a lot more comfortable about the way forward.

3# Equity?

What don’t you know?

I don’t get it. There is a mental block in my mind when it comes to maths. When playing DC I am continually faced with big money decisions with my drawing hands and I really don’t know whether I should be calling or not? This is particularly prevalent when playing Hi/Lo games. All my decisions are based on gut feel and I know this is wrong.

Last night, I started reading up about equity, I found a site that has a great DC odds calculator and I am going to start incorporating some simple maths homework into my regime.

So there you have it. Three little examples of what I didn’t know when playing for hundreds of pounds in my local cash game. Ask yourself the same question and apply it, not only your poker game, but also your whole life.

Check Out Our Poker School Section

If you enjoyed this article and want to improve your poker skills further you simply have to visit our poker school section. Here you will find videos and strategy articles from  a whole host of poker experts, all designed to be easy to digest and incorporate into your game.

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