A remarkable guest on today’s Zoo – Andrew Seidman (aka Baluga Whale for the true old schoolers), author of Easy Game. One of poker’s finest texts, TBR members are especially familiar with the book, and really, most poker players should be. Part strategy document, part coaching journal, it can be read in a very light way as a review or for a few new ideas, or Easy Game can be taken very seriously, especially the later chapters, where Seidman is reaching to elucidate concepts that are still relevant in 2020. Andrew and I discuss not only the book, but the circumstances surrounding its creation, chat about the poker good life, recall his deflating heads-up match with Jungleman, and close with some serious advice for aspiring pros.
Thanks to Andrew for finding time, and to Eugene for putting this together. Easy Game inadvertently became a big part of my coaching life in 2017 – a tidbit about that is at the end of this piece. Also, a little bonus – here’s a selection from the book for those who may be confused about the origin and use of poker vocabulary, which is a pain point for some in the community.
I’ve always been fascinated with language. It’s impossible to really understand something without choosing the proper words for it. You’ve probably heard the saying, “You don’t understand something until you can explain it to a two-year-old”. With that in mind, I am very strict about what words I use and what I teach others to use. Knowing and using the right words is helpful in any nuanced debate, but it’s even more helpful in the time-sensitive environment of a poker game. If you’re playing 8 tables, you don’t have time to wade through a swamp of incomplete ideas, reproductions of things you’ve seen in videos, unsophisticated philosophies, and irrelevant information en route to finding the right answer. No—you need the right answer now. To make that happen, you need the path of least resistance to that answer. This is where language comes in. When your words are carefully chosen, you avoid distractions and move smoothly from point A to point B to point C until you’ve found the answer you were looking for. Throughout this book, I use a lot of terminology. Much of the terminology I’ve developed myself. Some I’ve borrowed from others. All of it is carefully chosen to describe specific elements of a complex game. I hope you’ll find this type of linguistic structure helpful on your quest to understand poker more fully.