May 14, 2014 / Playing Alpha-Cool
Understanding poker strategies can increase your odds with women too.
The psychology of approaching women and playing poker are very similar. Both require you to read non-verbal cues while you evaluate and re-evaluate decisions at every point. More importantly, behaving too passively or recklessly will guarantee failure. The key, as always, is finding the right balance.
But beyond this general philosophy, how can poker strategy apply to approaching women? I’d like to introduce the two dimensions of poker betting, and why I think those dimensions are a great metaphor for how you want to approach women.
The Two Dimensions of Poker Betting
There are two dimensions to betting to poker — tight-loose, and aggressive-passive. Tight-loose means how often you bet, while aggressive-passive means how much you bet.
If you raise every bet even if you have a bad hand because you’re constantly bluffing, you’re playing "loose/aggressive." If you only play when you have really good cards but only bet the minimum when you do, you’re playing "tight/passive." Here is a chart that will help you visualize these dimensions:
Even if you’ve never played poker, at this point it should seem fairly obvious that the optimal betting strategy is tight/aggressive — being selective and smart in the hands you play in, and then making the most of it when you have good cards.
The Two Dimensions of Approaching Women
So let me introduce two dimensions to approaching women that are analogous to these poker dimensions. “Eager-Cool” and “Alpha-Beta.”
Eager-Cool describes the frequency of your responsiveness. "Cool" in this case means "playing it cool," like if a girl texts you and you wait a bit before responding. Conversely, if a girl asks you for a favor and you immediately bend over backwards, you’re playing that very "eager." You don’t want to play it so cool the girl doesn’t even think you’re interested in her, but you don’t want to be so eager she thinks you’re annoying and uninteresting, or worse, just takes advantage of your eagerness.
Alpha-Beta describes the strength of your responsiveness. When it comes to seeking escalation and making a move, are you aggressively looking for opportunities and blasting last-minute resistance, or are you passively taking any negative indication as a sign she’s not interested? Again, this is a spectrum; most guys have problems with being too passive, but you don’t want to escalate too soon before you’ve laid the necessary groundwork.
Playing it “Alpha/Cool"
Given these definitions, here is a chart describing the dimensions of eager-cool, and alpha-beta:
The analog to playing tight/aggressive in poker is playing alpha/cool. You’ve probably already heard about or engaged in some tactics to do so. The prototypical "two-day rule" before you call/text a girl is an exercise in making sure you’re not playing too eager. Conversely, all the advice I’ve given around escalating and closing is to get you to play more aggressively.
For a pop culture example of alpha/cool, think James Bond — exchanging in witty banter with a girl in one scene and then ending up in the bedroom with her in the next.
When I first started playing poker, I made a mental habit to always tell myself "play it tight/aggressive" before I looked at my cards. Similarly, I remember before every time I approached a women, I would think "play it alpha/cool." Of course, simply telling yourself something doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily do it. I knew I was getting better at poker when I started playing tight/aggressive without these conscious reminders, just like I knew I was getting better at approaching women for the same reasons.
Your ultimate goal is not just playing alpha/cool, but doing it subconsciously without thinking. When you’ve reached that point, that’s when you know you’ve taken the life-changing steps to overcome fears of failure and reach a new level of success, whether it’s poker, women, or anything else in life.