May 28, 2010
Welcome back. If you're still with me and don't think I'm utterly insane (just yet anyway) congratulations. I think we'll cover a couple of interesting topics in this continuation of previous groove.Â
OK so last blog I covered some cool stuff about table talk. In this blog we're going to go over topics that somewhat intertwine with that concept.Â
This goes for real life as well as poker (live and online), so get your foam spongy eyes on and perhaps a pencil or text file ready.Â
People are driven subconsciously by what their personality seeks to accomplish. At the poker table each of your opponents has a subterranean end goal lurking in the back of their skull that influences how they decide on their poker decisions. A "good regular" is usually driven by things like playing well, making money, exploiting other regs, not being exploited by other regs etc. etc. A "serious amateur" is often driven by playing their best poker, living up to the challenge, improving their game, NOT making mistakes. A "recreational player" may have goals that run from being the best bluffer (ala Jamie Gold) or having the most fun (3b'ing 92o and showing it when he overbet jams the A high flop). It's up to you to classify and learn about each individual players persona. What are they likely to do or not do based on the subconscious end goal they've set for themselves? What drives them, why do they play poker? Aside from breaking people apart emotionally (the JENGA of their soul, not making them cry etc.) this is a good basic skeleton for what you can expect on average from an opponent you don't know too much about. So open up your mouth, talk with people at the table, absorb and create dialogue. If you're not very comfortable talking to total strangers or you're socially awkward and have a hard time not sounding like a babbling buffoon ripe with out of place comments, I suggest you spend some time on chat roulette or fire up skype and call random people. Go to a bar and stay sober the entire night but try to have meaningful conversations with the drunkards (you can get away with saying whatever you want because they're likely paying way less attention than someone sober and they won't remember it the next day half of the time anyway, GUINEA PIGS!) or just walk around the mall and try talking to random people. Go into stores and strike up conversations about whatever is on the shelf, whatever they have in their cart, whatever they're wearing, whatever you can possibly use to break into a conversation.Â
This sort of thinking goes hand in hand between real life and poker. Once you start constantly thinking about what drives people to make the decisions they make, you can see through to the truth. The usable core so to speak. You'll notice lies easier, you'll recognize when someone is trying to take advantage of you a lot faster/more efficiently, you'll also be able to lie and take advantage of people more efficiently (for better or worse, use it for poker and vs. corporations, not vs. family and friends lol) You'll basically be better at life because you're processing more information to make your decisions and you'll learn a better response to said processed information through experience and analysis. Hmmm sounds kinda like improving at poker no?Â
MANIPULATIVE TRIGGER THEORYÂ
Understanding the psychological information that people transmit (knowingly or not) AND knowing how to take control of and transmit psychological information that people will respond to in an anticipated manner. (sounds like metagame no? THE METAGAME OF LIFE!)
After you read the examples below, stop and think for a few minutes about how it would translate in other situations. What if you were on the opposite side of the coin? What if it was poker/real life/you were buying a car/you were discussing your salary with an employer.Â
People will take the options given to them a high % of the time. If you don't give them any options, they don't have any outs aside from being a super strong thinker or someone who understands this kind of stuff/questions everything in a logical manner already. Weak minded or nonchalant/naive people will get obliterated by this.Â
Selection of words ---> How you present information greatly influences how people respond to what you say to them. I don't mean simple stuff like HEY FUCK YOU ASSHOLE! vs. YOU ROCK DUDE! or YOU SEXY VIXEN! vs. YOU SKANK ASS SLUM BUNNY! That stuff should be very obvious. I'm talking about subtle word choices that transmit or obstruct information to someone that will cultivate an anticipated response from them based on the words or options you've included or left out. Sounds ridiculous right? Follow me....
Example 1: PRESENTATION - You present a friend/date with options for where you'll eat dinner this evening.Â
If you say something like "Where do you want to eat tonight?" You'll get an honest response, there's no suggestive information here, there's no denial of choice or constriction of thought.Â
If you say something like "We're going to X tonight." Saucy individuals may say "Oh really?" before they fall into line, but they almost always fall into line anyway. This doesn't give them a choice, they don't have any options, there's no room for thought (unless they really don't like the food you're telling them you're getting, which would stop this from being as effective obv) and most of the time they'll say "that's cool" or "sure, doesn't matter to me". You get the picture.Â
If you say something like "Chinese or Italian, it's your choice." Is it really their choice? Sure, within the parameters that you've specifically given to them. They have options now, but only options that are OK with you, you win regardless of end result. This also blindsides them from ever thinking it's not their choice, because you've clearly stated "it's YOUR choice." You're empowering them within your own goals. Sometimes people won't feel like either choice and suggest something else, but the vast majority of the time they don't even think about it, they just choose which option impulsively sounds more attractive to them. Â Â
If you say something like "We shouldn't eat at X tonight" vs. "We shouldn't eat at X tonight, should we?" These sound super similar right? The difference between the first sentence and the second is that in the first one you're not leaving the statement open for discussion. You will NOT be eating at that place, and they don't have the option to open up debate because you haven't given it to them. In the second sentence though, the inclusion of "should we?" allows them to think freely about whether or not they want X and if it's a good idea. You're encouraging feedback and interaction, rather than submission.Â
Example 2: DOMINANT VS. SUBMISSIVE PERSONALITIES - When you learn more about how an individual thinks, you'll learn whether or not they're dominant or submissive on average, or what parts of life they tend to be dominant or submissive in. Perhaps someone isn't picky about food but REALLY cares about what movies they watch. Maybe someone likes to feel like part of the decision process and hates being told what to do, with that type of person you'd win more often by suggesting things in a "together" manner. If you said "We're doing X." you'd get less positive responses over the long term than if you said "Let's do X." Variations on that could be "Let's do X, WHAT DO YOU THINK?" which will allow their inner team player to respond in a positive way, or "Let's do X, THAT'S A GOOD IDEA, RIGHT?" which is slightly more aggressive in that it attempts to get them to believe they're "on the team" by including them in the process, but reduces their choice to include only what you want. If they're more agreeable and less combative to authority overall, the "that's a good idea, right?" line can be tossed in a lot of the time to get the response you want. Â
Example 3: APPLICATION USING INFORMATION - When I was buying magic cards at conventions I routinely noticed people saying no when I said "Do you have any cards for sale?" as they wandered by. The reason is because a lot of those people weren't expressly looking to sell cards, or the thought didn't even cross their mind, so their default response was a simple "No." The people that said yes to that question were generally a lot easier to deal with price-wise as well, because they had the intention of selling cards, and they knew "business was business." They expected you to make a profit off of them, so you had more room to work (even if they battled for the best deal they could get, the generally never tried to shut you out of a profit). I eventually cracked the code, when I started following up "Do you have any cards for sale?" with "Do you have a binder I can look through?" Almost EVERYONE had a binder of cards they brought with them. That opened up the door to soooooo many purchases I wouldn't have had the opportunity to make otherwise. To think, just a few simple words or a slightly different question and voila, Magic (no pun intended).Â
Example 3: KEYWORDS AND BODY LANGUAGE - Much like we can change the words we use to influence the way people interact and respond to us most people use their own keywords and body language to transmit information to the world around them (very often unknowingly and unnoticed). There are a lot of subtle hints, whispers on the breeze if you will. If you know what to look for you can pick this stuff up and get a lot of value from it. I don't pretend to be an expert so keep in mind I'm just sharing my views :)Â
When you're having a conversation with ANYONE about ANYTHING at all listen very specifically to the words they're using. Look closer at them and see how their body moves or how their mouth or eyes change when they speak a word or finish a thought. There's so much information available it's ridiculous. They're letting you know if they like/dislike approve/disapprove of or love/hate etc. etc. This gives you a chance to fill future conversation with the seeds of whatever your goal is. What are you trying to accomplish and what's the best way to accomplish it with this person based on the information you have about them currently. This can apply to all kinds of situations and relations.
DISCLAIMER: I said something similar earlier and I'll say it again. Being yourself is the best thing you can do when you're interacting with friends and family, future friends, or anyone you may want to date seriously. Basically interacting with anyone that you're going to end up caring about long term you don't really want to be super manipulative towards them (unless it's harmless subtle manipulation that grants you an edge in dinner choice long term, or something silly like that).
In poker, random daily life situations, esFUCKINGspecially VS. corporations, anytime there's no personal connection is a good time to abuse this ability. Obviously at the live poker table we don't want to get too wrapped up in putting value on eye twitches and scratched asses until they become really rock solid reads or we have a lot of experience with the person but in daily life this information is usually very accurate, applicable, available, and manifests itself quickly (meaning it's often useful because it's about something going on currently, something relevant).
This is getting pretty long as well so I think I'm going to stop it here, if I missed covering anything or anyone wants me to touch on something unclear, comment and I'll use that information as a pivot for my next blog post. I hope this stuff is helpful :) Even though I didn't talk about poker specifically there's a giant wealth of applicable poker knowledge in this post, like I said earlier, stop and think about how the concepts apply in different situations, different mediums, with different people etc. Feel it out, but most importantly don't leave it out. GL in Vegas folks haha.Â