Al Alvarez contends that poker is not gambling. Alvarez is what you might consider an enigma in terms of his line of thoughts. Al feels that when you are at a table game you are only a gambler if you take stupid risks. In other words, a person that plays poker with a strategy is not a gambler because there is actually a game of skills. In playing poker if you do it right with proper skill then you are not taking on a gamble because you know when to fold and when to win. Gambling has been defined as playing based on luck rather than skill, but most professionals will tell you otherwise. Whether one believes the same as Alvarez or not, the man has had successes as a poker player. He has played in the WSOP though it is unclear what his winnings may have been. He has also written books about poker. Many feel his book is the best ever written.
Alvarez states that you need to understand opposing skills, techniques and strategic moves in order to win each and every game you play. It means that you are definitely your own worst enemy at the table. You have to pay attention to yourself rather than look for tells of the other players. Alvarez does not believe in tells as much as other players have. Rather, he is of the impression that you should watch what you are doing, how you are reacting, and what strategy you are going to use rather than knowing another player.
It has meant that Al’s life is reflective as much as it is creative. You see, Alvarez tends to write about the game, but rather than focusing on how one plays he focuses on the people at the tables. He has typically examined the personalities that make it to the professional poker tables, so his books are less about how you should play and sharing secrets and more about those you might be able to meet when you start a career in this industry. It also means he feels that poker is a career and should be handled like a career rather than being seen as a lark.
Besides being a writer about poker players and about some of his luck he has also written about addiction and the psychology of playing to be a success. In terms of hobbies Al or Alfred has certainly managed to rack up a few like rock climbing, theatre critic, English poet, and of course being a poker player. It is quite interesting when you look at the different “gamblers” out there. After all there are some like Alvarez who feel the game are serious and others who struggle to win.
Al Alvarez has been able to showcase the professional side of poker through his books, as well as help people understand what it takes to be serious about poker. There are certainly risks in gambling, but those who have skill in poker are going to keep playing much longer.