Doyle’s Room – Online Poker and Telework

May 25, 2010


Doyle Brunson played poker for the first time in 1951. After an injury in his junior year of high school ended his dreams of playing professional basketball, he played poker to pay his bills. He became a rounder, someone who made his living traveling and playing in different amateur poker games.

When Doyle got tired of looking down the barrel of a shotgun after beating someone who didn’t want to lose, he moved to Las Vegas and worked to establish poker as a popular casino game. He became widely known as one of the strongest players in the world after he won $230,000 in the first ever $10,000 No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker Championship in 1976.

Doyle’s skills in poker come from his ability to read a person’s tells: the small changes in a person’s expressions, how they smoke a cigarette, the way they hunch their shoulders, and hundreds of other subtle signals that tell him what cards his opponents are holding. He will stop and stare at his opponent, sizing them up, to figure out how to bet.

When other players started talking to Doyle about online poker in the early 1990’s he dismissed them. Poker is all about reading other people and Doyle was certain online poker would never be real poker. He stayed in the casinos for years while other poker professionals established Internet poker rooms and online poker grew into a multi-billion dollar industry.

In 2004 Doyle changed his mind and became a telecommuter. He started Doyle’s Room, an online service supporting all popular poker variants. He plays there often. So what changed between the early 1990’s and 2004? Did the online poker companies offer him too much money to ignore? Doyle admits that the money was part of it, but that isn’t the whole story.

What changed was Doyle. He started playing online and learned to read a new set of tells. He focused on how his opponents bet or how long they waited before playing. Doyle found an enormous amount of information while playing online and has been just as successful in virtual poker as he was in the real world.

Doyle said it best: “Online or in the real world, poker is poker. It’s all poker.”

Doyle overcame many of the hurdles you’ll face working remotely and became a poker playing telecommuter. It cost him a lot of time and money to overcome those hurdles and there were many lessons he learned the hard way.
The lessons Doyle learned about how to interact with people in the virtual world are what this book is about. Now he knows all the tricks, sees the signs, understands what people are thinking, and reads the room even when he isn’t in it. Being a successful team member means understanding what is going on for the rest of your team. Doing that remotely requires you to find alternative ways of communicating.

This book is about communication. Communication is the cornerstone to every software development team. It is the difference between being part of your team or just a screen name. Good communication leads to trust, productivity, and teamwork. Communicating well is the difference between success and failure.

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