Killer Poker : Interview with John Vorhaus

Bloodthirst at the Poker Table : How to Dominate and Defeat Your Opponents

Posted by Chuckmonster

VT: After reading, digesting and applying the concepts in Killer Poker, I felt that I had actually graduated from being a sometime fish to being a great white shark at the tables. My play instills fear in other opponents, while not making them think that I am a loose cannon with erratic behavior. The first two sessions I played post Killer Poker I felt 'opponent shrink' for the first time. I was truly defeating my opponents. This defeat would not just include a sizeable rack of previously theirs chips, but more importantly their confidence in playing anything but the absolute nuts against me.

More interestingly was how the principles of Killer Poker can be applied to nearly every aspect of living. What were your intentions when you began work on the series?

JV: At first I was just trying to get a book in print. As I started getting feedback from readers -- similar to yours -- I realized that there was, in fact, something deeper at work. Since then, I have made it my mission to have all the KP books operate on two levels. Yes, they teach poker, but also, if I'm doing my job right, they teach a little something about life. If you ever check out my books on writing, Comic Toolbox and Creativity Rules! you'll see the same microcosm/macrocosm relationship. And of course there's always a deeper hidden agenda at work. As I tell my writing students and consulting clients, "Whatever my text is, my subtext is always the same: Get them hooked on the drug that is John Vorhaus!"

VT: In Killer Poker, you speak about self-awareness. That poker players need to document their strengths and weaknesses, track their progress using spreadsheets and engage in helpful self-analysis, concepts borrowed from Zen Buddhism.

Where Buddha teaches:
"We are each the source of our own suffering."

Killer Poker teaches:
"The only one who can beat you is you"

Have you studied Buddhism, and was the encapsulation of self-awareness in Killer Poker a conscious extension of your spirituality?

JV: I have a patchwork spirituality assembled from bits and pieces of everything I've studied, thought about or written about, including, of course, Buddhism. I know that self-awareness is key to success in poker, as it is the key to success in everything, and Buddhism does a good job of rendering the task of self-awareness accessible to all. And the most important thing Buddhism teaches -- in poker and in life -- is detachment from outcome.

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