Killer Poker : Interview with John Vorhaus
Bloodthirst at the Poker Table : How to Dominate and Defeat Your Opponents
So you play poker eh? Do you win? Didn't think so. Wanna win? Didn't think so. Wanna make your opponents shit their pants when you check your hand? Thought so. Welcome to KILLER POKER and welcome to Vorzca's Brain. We're very proud to present to you a truly fascinating interview with KILLER POKER guru John Vorhaus. We'll spare the flowery introduction and let the man speak for himself. You can thank us later.
VT: Hi John, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Give our readers a Readers Digest condensed version of the life of John Vorhaus, where you grew up, how you got interested in writing, your earliest poker memories, favorite properties on a Monopoly board, favorite breakfast cereal... that kind of thing.
John Vorhaus: Let's start with the important stuff. My favorite spot on the Monopoly board -- for strategic reasons -- is New York Avenue. It's the most expensive of the orange properties, and therefore pays slightly better than Tennessee Avenue and St. James Place. The key is that it's on the street behind jail, and since players are more likely to be in jail than on any other single space on the board (thanks to the "go to jail" space and other conditions) they're more likely to land on the oranges than any other property. It would be perfect if there were an orange on a seven roll out of jail, but you get Community Chest instead. Ah, well. I don't recall seeing the words "life is fair" on the contract.
Regarding the rest, I've been writing forever, playing poker forever, and eschewing 9-to-5 living my entire adult life. My last "real" job was associate creative director in an advertising agency, way, way, way back in the day. Leery of getting stuck in the mindset that "making the world safe for advertising" was a good idea, I quit that job to sing and play guitar on the streets of Boston. As I could neither sing nor play guitar with any particular skill, that may not have been the best choice. It did lead to one LP, Word Processor, still only available on vinyl, and it led, indirectly, to my move to Hollywood and my subsequent scriptwriting career.
VT: Your quite a multi talented person, you're a script writer for TV (Married With Children, Head of the Class, Charles In Charge) films (Save Angel Hope), an all around idea man, color commentator for the Ultimatebet.net Poker Challenge on FSN, news ambassador for Ultimatebet.com and an author of numerous highly regarded books and articles on poker (PokerPages, Bluff, All In, High Roller and many many more). How do you find the time in the day to be such a multi-tasking genius?
JV: There's a saying I swear by: "Love what you do. If you don't love it, you won't do it well." It happens that I love writing and I love playing poker and I love writing about playing poker. With this harmonic convergence working for me, it's no trouble to spend many, many hours a day lost in my little world of words. There's another saying I love: "Keep giving them you until you is what they want." I've been blessed to be able to find a market for my point of view. Channeling that POV onto the page becomes increasingly effortless as the years go by.
VT: Ok, let's talk about cards. One of your books Killer Poker was recommended to me by a friend who had it recommended to him by Pat Poels, the 2005 WSOP Omaha 8 Champion. They both recommended Sklansky's Theory of Poker and Killer Poker as the only books needed to screw one's head on when moving from poker as a game to a serious business. What exactly is Killer Poker compared to just Poker?
JV: Killer Poker is best expressed by its motto (borrowed from ultimate frisbee if you know what that is): "Go big or go home!" I launched the series to teach myself to be a more aggressive poker player because I noticed that the aggressive players were winning all the chips. It turns out that there's another pillar to the KP philosophy, and that's "be honest." Be honest with yourself about what, when, where, why and how you play. If you do that one thing right, everything else will take care of itself.
I'm flattered to be mentioned in the same breath with Sklansky, for I confess that "I don't understand Sklanksy any more than I understand Sanskrit." I'd say that he nails the "mind" of the game, while my approach is more about the "heart."