KISS Poker

Part of the beauty of online poker, is the fact that it boils Poker down to its elemental components. Compliment that with the evolution of poker, theories, and strategies and begs the question…

Does the K(eep) I(t) S(imple) S(tupid) approach lend itself to online poker ??

Sure theres endless game theories on poker, evolving strategies, odds charts, equity, hand ranges, ect ect ect … that can be factored in, but many ppl get trapped by over analyzing stuff… so why not take the opposite approach, and as much as possible simplify the whole thing… just KISS.

Doesn’t that make things like “the math” way easier ?? Sure you have to be aware of the cards and your surroundings/opponents, …but is this a path for disaster or success.


Sarah - the obvious answer to your question is “it depends”.

A while back I was talking to another online player here who I have known since we played on the WPT site together. He is quite good at this version of the game. He has played online/social poker almost exclusively while my background is live. I was having a problem understanding why in the world people were making seemingly outrageous calls and was pretty much insisting that this was “the wrong way to play”. I stated what I thought was a fundamental truth in poker and everywhere else, that people act in their own self-interests. If this was the case, then why would people behave in a manner seemingly in conflict to that? The answer changed the way I think about a lot of things.

He said very simply that the maxim still applies but that their self-interests were not necessarily the ones I thought they were. BOOM - mind blown. I had been assuming everyone played for the exact same reasons I did, to win chips over the long term and to improve their games. I did not consider all the other reasons people may wish to play or play a certain way. Some people play because they consider it to be a social event, with chips being barely a consideration. Some people play for the rush of a huge suckout and are ok losing tons of hands just to hit that one crazy 1-outer. Some people are playing to learn and some to compete in the specific promotions being run and some are just drunk and pissed off with the world and want to be jerks. Some haven’t even made up their mind why they are playing here yet.

There is no right answer for everyone. This is a social poker site and many more factors come into play than profit, which is the dominant motive in poker for $. This is a teeny-tiny segment of the online poker world with its own distinct flavors. The game played here is both far simpler and far more complex than playing for stakes. We each come to the tables with our own self-interests at heart, just not all with the same ones. KISS poker may work for some but for others even KIS poker (Keep it Sane) is a stretch :slight_smile:

Added - if the goal is to win chips, then the ABC approach is probably the best here for 99%+ of the games. Of course, as you have suggested yourself, having strategies for each game you play is also important if you wish to succeed in them. ABC poker in a ring is fine but you need to overlay tournament strategies and/or leaderboard strategies for MTT’s/SnG’s if you are playing those competitively.


For me it’s a path to success here :smiley: and I say that because it does make the decision process easier and clearer. Once aggression is applied with keeping it simple I seem to do very well at the lower stakes but as I strive to get better and learn more I definitely start to and have gotten trapped recently by trying to analyze situations then its like … Doh… definitely not what I would have done if I were keeping it simple.

But I still want that knowledge to have an idea of what the good players are thinking of and how they process information and situations so that when I keep it simple later on, I believe I’ll be a much better player.


For me this was cemented in my brain while watching a ST:Next Gen episode where Data kept losing at this game where the input was on all 10 fingertips. I already understood this concept, but this burned it in… once Data play’d for a tie and not to win, it made no sence to his opponent and thus the dude quit in disgust. Its also the same reason I donk’d off that 19m I got up to, because I didn’t recognize fast enuff what game I was playing against.

I tend to over-analyze everything, so adding too many variables sometimes seems foggy… and lets face it, I usually play poker un-sober… but, so many less distractions are in online poker. Along with far fewer tells, even tho a few most ppl dont notice… online poker is already streamlined.

My live play got better after apply’n online techniques to reads, when necessary… it reduced the clutter and made decisions easier… Even around here, once you play ppl and learn how they play or even what potential dmg they can do to you… and they learn about you… The more the cards mean less. Oh sure, the math still applies and so does theory, but how you play it and against whom matters. Its in this senario KISS seems most applicable.

I do think KISS may be exploitable by my opponents, but the holy grail is where your play doesn’t give others any decernable holes or patterns… basically reducing them to guessing what you have. In Foosball, there is a point that the shooter is faster than the human eye kinda. In this case, the defender can plug 3 of the 5 holes at any 1 time and he is constantly rotating among all 5… 1 of the possible defences is the bait & switch, so the shooter will at times just pick a hole and shoot @ it, no matter what the defender is showing them to counter the B&S.

In poker this applies as you deploy the KISS strategy and thus making you decision making easier and giving away less in information to your opponents. I’m just wondering how everyone else sees this approach and what inherant probs it has.


I used to play poker un-sober a lot and did ok, nowadays its water every time in live play and a cold one here and there with online play (sober I’m a much better player :))

I like to say I was once a fish out of water thirsty as thirsty can be (not the case anymore, boo lol).

1 Like

I tend to agree with most of what you are saying here. I too think we do a lot of over analyzing a big part of the time. So many of the situations we analyze can be skewed by the better players.
Today I was reading the third installment of the fictional story about lucky Bob. It is a fun story and I am enjoying it. I laughed to myself today while reading it though. In one part the main character is studying Moss and observes the following:

I watched as he looked at his two cards, memorized them, and then placed that silver coin on top of them for protection.
I had been watching for the better part of forty five minutes when I saw his tell.
He would slide the coin off of the cards when his hand was weak and he intended to fold. If he had a strong hand, that coin never moved.

In the story our hero uses that tell to win all of Moss’s chips in that game. In my experience, a player as good as Moss is supposed to be would have an arsenal of FAKE TELLS. He would have practiced this move many times in the past and he would have set it up and left with all the chips by moving his card guard twice during that hand;.

I used to have a lot of the better players in my card room want me to watch them the first time they used a new fake tell. They used to signal the floorman who would buzz my office. I would wander out and watch a hand. Many of the fake tells were just to mislead the statisticians in the game.

Tells and fake tells are definitely more difficult to use online, but there is enough that I wouldn’t risk everything on a tell.

The same thing could be said about a lot of the indicaters we pick up on a player in here. We can be fooled a lot of the time.


Good post Sassy.

1 Like

Interesting… some good points there.

Greetings Sassy & Replay Family,
There is one type of player that befuddles us all as described here as well. This is also the type of play that can come and go, in some, if not most players.
There some very interesting studies about the over stimulation of the senses playing computer games for hours. It may very well explain why a good poker player like yourself Sassy would just dump off 19 Million…
If a person is aware of this phenomena and understands it, the easier it is to guard against. …
This is also what we happen to be playing against from time to time also. The players cares for nothing but disruptions, through their betting or their conversation. Mindless all in’s… God forbid they are lucky enough to hit a few. They don’t care about winning or chips or cards. They are actually feeding into their need to have this mental sensory stimulation. Once I was aware of this I quit getting so on edge, like everyone does. I wait them out and when the cards tell me it’s time, It’s time to dance…