The Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment
Warning: The music below is what happens when
form follows function just a little bit too far.
On This Page:
What is "The Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment?"
The Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment (EPTPE) is a poker video series I made with Wayne Lively and Rob Cole. It's about making your A-game better, and playing your A-game more often.
In January of 2010, EPTPE won three awards at the first-ever awards ceremony at DeucesCracked.com. It won for best non-strategy series, for best episode in a series (Episode 8), and it won the award for best overall series.
Here's a post at my blog that tells more about it: The Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment
The only way to see the episodes is to subscribe to planet earth's sickest poker training site: DeucesCracked.com.
Why should you use this link to subscribe to DeucesCracked.com? Because it's an affiliate link, which means that if you click on this link and send money to DeucesCracked, some of the money will come to me, and some of that money will go to pay for food and toys for my cats. So unless you hate my cats, you should click this link and subscribe to DeucesCracked.
Links To Samples Of The Videos:
At DeucesCracked, each videos sits directly above the forum thread that is about the video. Non-members can watch the first few minutes of each episode for free, and read what viewers have to say by scrolling down. Here are direct links to each episode:
- E1: Right View
- E2: Right Thinking
- E3: Mindfulness
- E4: Reciprocality
- E5: Quitting
- E6: Right Speech
- E7: Right Action
- E8: Tiltlessness
The Music From EPTPE:
Some of these tracks can be listened to in the customary way one listens to music. The lengths of those tracks is listed in bolded, red numbers.
Other tracks finish very soon after they begin. They stir up questions quickly, for example:
The basic soundtrack for all of the videos consisted of Wayne and I talking for a few minutes on a topic, then we'd end that topic, and we'd start on another topic, and so on. The idea behind the music was to insert bits of piano playing between the topic changes, just to break things up and give the episodes some phrasing. I would record the music at home, which is something I've done a lot of, but not since the days of analog tape. So I was stoked to learn how to engineer digitally.
Wayne and I had already finished the vocals (our spoken conversations) for the first three episodes before the first piano recording session. I recorded for two days and I ended up with about two hours of possibly usable stuff. Sometimes I would stop and start a lot and make little "inserts" that were 5 to 15 seconds long. Other times I'd just play. I thought I might use some of it as background music here and there.
Then I played mad scientist (using Audacity), inserting bits of piano between the conversations, putting some of the long piano passages behind the talking during the really important parts, and one day, the audio for the first three episodes was finished.
When Wayne and I recorded the next few episodes, the conversations started getting shorter, which meant more inserts-per-episode would be needed. I could foresee that with 5 episodes to go, I'd need about 90 more inserts. Plus I'd need about ten long musical passages as backgrounds and episode enders.
Needing such an enormous amount of material, I decided to borrow from the classics, starting with "Chopsticks," and "Heart and Soul." I used much actual classical music in the middle episodes, followed by mostly classic rock songs in the later episodes.
Lots of times I learned exactly as much of a song as I was planning to play. It felt a little naughty to record only 10 or 20 seconds of a song, knowing it would cause lovers of the song to long for the next part. For example, eat this slice from She's Like a Rainbow by The Rolling Stones. I've had two complaints about that one. "You asshole!" they said. "How can you leave me hanging like that?"
This is what my recording setup up looked like:
I'd be recording something, and I'd think of some other song to record a piece of, usually a song I hadn't played and hadn't heard in a while. I'd go right to YouTube and find it and figure it out and record it. Sometimes there were delightful detours, of discovery, and distant years revisited.
And then there was the actual recording. I used to have a recording studio in my living room in the 80's. Speakers hung from a ceiling that was covered with purple apple dividers for sound baffling. A permanent drum set, right where a TV would otherwise go. A console table for the tape decks, mixing board, and outboard effects, that was built by me and my bass-player roommate. (<—Every musician should have one!) And I've done tons of recording in real studios, with real engineers. I'd never done any digitial engineering, until this project. In a word: a w e s o m e. I can't help but wonder how great Beethoven might have been if he'd had a mac and a mic.
I have enjoyed quite a google fest putting this web page together, looking up the names of composers for the listing. Did you know that Chopsticks was written in 1877 by a Brit named Euphemia Allen?
Then of course I had to go look up "Euphemia" to see if it was a guy's name or a girl's.
(Answer: Girl's. And there's a Saint Euphemia, an early martyr, burned at the stake.)
- Ninth Symphony - Ode to Joy theme - march variation (Beethoven / :51)
- Ninth Symphony - Ode to Joy theme - disrespected (Beethoven / :48)
- Moonlight Sonata - first movement - the whole thing (Ludwig Van Beethoven / 7:05)
- Moonlight Sonata - second movement (Beethoven / :06)
- Morning (Edvard Grieg / 3:00)
- Fanfare for the Common Man (Aaron Copland / 1:09)
- Pathetique Sonata - first movement (Beethoven / :09)
- Pathetique Sonata - second movement (Beethoven / :38)
- Pathetique Sonata - third movement (Beethoven / :27)
- Blue Danube Waltz - straight - Thank you Stanley Kubrick for the shuttle scene in "2001: A Space Odyssey." I think it's done for me all you could have hoped. (Johann Strauss / 1:10)
- Blue Danube Waltz - reciprocalized - In the first passage (about 30 seconds), every other phrase is inverted. Then it stops, and the insert from the series starts, with all phrases in the right hand inverted. The left hand plays it straight. I tried to do a mirror image version in the left hand too. My mind was nimble enough. But my deeply muscle-memorized hands said: You're kidding, right? (Johann Strauss / 1:24)
- Bolero / Maurice Ravel / :26 (Maurice Ravel / :26)
- In the Hall of the Mountain King (Edvard Grieg / :14)
- Wolf theme from Peter and the Wolf (Sergei Prokofiev / :28)
- Peter's theme from Peter and the Wolf (Sergei Prokofiev / :10)
- Pictures at an Exhibition - three excerpts of three versions of the Promenade (Modest Mussorgsky / 1:22)
- Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (from The Nutracker) (Pyotr Tchaikovsky / :12)
- March (from The Nutracker) (Pyotr Tchaikovsky / :09)
- Amahl and the Night Visitors (Gion Menotti / 2:07)
- Hallelujah Chorus (George Handel / :10)
- Carmen Ohio (by God / :49)
- After the Gold Rush (Neil Young / 2:10)
- Hurricane - minuet version (Neil Young / :25)
- Hurricane - longer and louder - This ends with me stopping because I heard the phone ringing. You can hear two phone rings, one during the playing and one after. Kay and I get about three calls per year on our land line. Pretty amazing to catch one live on tape. (Neil Young / 2:27)
- Love, Reign O'er Me (The Who / 2:02)
- Dixie Chicken (Little Feat / :27)
- Dead Flowers (The Rolling Stones / 1:04)
- She's Like a Rainbow (The Rolling Stones / :20)
- Kashmir (Led Zeppelin / :11)
- Stairway to Heaven - three short segments (Led Zeppelin / :52)
- Comfortably Numb - chorus (Pink Floyd / 1:10)
- Comfortably Numb - verse (Pink Floyd / :17)
- "Deuce Plays" Theme Song - This is my rendition of the music that opens Bart Hansen's podcast show at DeucesCracked.com called "Deuce Plays." It was written by Joe Tall's buddy Tim. I used this version at the beginning of episode 7 when Bart's face shows up under my hat. (Tim Hansen / :31)
- 96 Tears - The "Deuce Plays" riff shows up at the end. (Questionmark and the Mysterians / :46)
- Willin' (Little Feat / :17)
- Cinnamon Girl - Two short takes. The first is the chords and The Note (as revealed in Neil's galactically-recognized-as-awesome one-note lead break.) The second version is the Cinnamon Girl bass line, with the "Deuce Plays" theme in the right hand. (Neil Young / :34)
- Layla (piano coda) (Jim Gordon / 1:28)
- Firth of Fifth - There's two small bits here. One from each end of the song. (Genesis / :26)
- One Toke Over the Line - two snippets (Brewer and Shipley / :21)
- Sweet Home Alabama - Werewolves of London - Werewolves of Alabama (Brought to you by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Warren Zevon, and the wonderful world of overdubbing / :35)
- Freebird (Lynryd Skynryd / 1:56)
- I Fooled Around and Fell in Love (Elvin Bishop / :28)
- Low Rider (War / :25)
- Take Five and The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys - My brother David asked me to look into the similarities of these two riffs, right when I happened to be recording piano bits for the EPTPE project. I was like, cool! Two more inserts! (Dave Brubeck and Traffic / :19)
- I'm the Only One - long (Melissa Etheridge / 3:24)
- I'm the Only One - short (Melissa Etheridge / :38)
- Martha My Dear (The Beatles / :15)
- Let It Be (The Beatles / 2:52)
- Above - This track is based on a chord progression and rhythm from a Blue Man Group song that sends me. (Blue Man Group / 4:28)
- Chopsticks - I've been abusing this song since the onset of childishness. (Euphemia Allen / 2:02)
- Little Drummer Boy 1 - Two swacks at it. (Katherine Davis / :58)
- Little Drummer Boy 2 - One pass. This is the reverent, December version. (Katherine Davis / 1:13)
- Little Drummer Boy - Linus and Lucy - a staccato version of the EPTPE theme song - Cast Your Fate to the Wind (see google / 4:07)
- Mission Impossible (Lalo Schifrin / :17)
- Living In The Past meets Mission Impossible - I noticed that Mission Impossible and Living in the Past have the same 3/3/2/2 beat. This is the Mission Impossible bassline, with the Living in the Past melody. (Jethro Tull and Lalo Schifrin / :12)
- Composite (Poga / :18)
- Blue Rondo a la Turk (Dave Brubeck / :26)
- Heart and Soul - reciprocalized (Hoagy Carmichael / 1:10)
- Heart and Soul - with feeling (Hoagy Carmichael / 2:40)
Original Songs and Renderings
- The Blues - This is all I got. (Tommy Angelo / 4:40)
- Quick Blues (Tommy Angelo / 1:00)
- Caught in Deb's Web - EPTPE version (2009) - This is at the end of episode three: Mindfulness. (Tommy Angelo / 4:00)
- Caught in Deb's Web - "A Work of Aardvark" version (1979) - "A Work of Aardvark" is the name of an album I made 30 years ago. It's all original piano and drum music. You can hear all of the songs here: tommyangelo.com/a-work-of-aardvark/ (Tommy Angelo / 11:23)
- I'm Running Bad — original CD version - In 2001, I made a CD of original poker songs called "I'm Running Bad." This is the title cut. You can read about it, see the artwork, and buy it... here. - From my CD of original poker songs (Tommy Angelo / 2:49)
- I'm Running Bad — EPTPE version (Tommy Angelo / :38)
- The Raiser's Edge — original version - From my CD (Tommy Angelo / 3:19)
- The Raiser's Edge — EPTPE versions - The left hand plays the main bass riff from The Raiser's Edge many times, while the right hand slinks around. There are five short versions and one longer one. (Tommy Angelo / 2:39)
- BC EF and Fur Elise - The first minute uses only the notes BC EF (those are the two pairs of white notes that don't have black notes in between). In episode 1, when Wayne demonstrates wrong view, the piano scolds him, using the end of the BC EF part. One thing led to another, which in this case turned out to be Fur Elise, another song that has been the subject of my whims and tortures for decades. (Tommy Angelo / 2:58)
- Ten Similar Inserts (Tommy Angelo / 1:35)
- Thing in D (Tommy Angelo / :14)
- Happy (Tommy Angelo / :34)
- Theme Music - opening titles - The first 45 seconds of this is at the beginning of every episode. (Tommy Angelo / 2:31)
- Theme Music - end of episode 1 (Tommy Angelo / 2:13)
- Theme Music - end of episode 2 (Tommy Angelo / 1:09)
- Turnarounds - This file is 13 renditions of the same thing. Remember how digital photography made it cheap to take lots of pictures? This is like that. (Tommy Angelo / 2:46)
- Long Track - I used several large pieces of this in the series, some a couple times. This starts out the same as the turnarounds in the previous file, then it goes into a grumbling Green Onion kind of thing, which morphs into a steady 7-4-1 progression the rest of the way, which gives rise to a Deb's Web voicing, different groove. (Tommy Angelo / 7:27)
Here are two more songs from my CD that have nothing to do with EPTPE:
- I'm Running Good - From my CD (Tommy Angelo / 3:03)
- Slowroller (a story of retribution) - From my CD (Tommy Angelo / 5:27)
What People Are Saying About EPTPE
- E1: Right View
- E2: Right Thinking
- E3: Mindfulness
- E4: Reciprocality
- E5: Quitting
- E6: Right Speech
- E7: Right Action
- E8: Tiltlessness
POST 1 from DeucesCracked forums:
My poker game is still struggling, but the Eight Fold Path has made me a far happier, positive and motivated person in general. This series is just incredible.
I love the quote about someone seeing Tommy for poker coaching, which took several shots off their golf game. This happened to me after listening to The Eight Fold Path! I went out on Sunday and hit some shots I didn't even know I had in me. My putter was running ridiculously hot, I got up & down on five consecutive holes - which is better than good for me. I put it all down to mindfulness, my new favorite thing. 'mindful breathing, mindful posture' is so crucial to good golf.
I've been using 'right-speech' at work with awesome results. It's lifted the whole mood in my office.
Thanks Tommy and Wayne and DC!
Wow I could have used the blame portion on Friday.
A lady at work went to the VP and blamed me for some big mistake (someone is probably going to get fired over it) that she made. I heard about it and it really pissed me off. I almost walked into her office and demanded she go correct what she said to the VP and let him know it wasnt my fault. Some people I worked with talked me out of doing that because they could tell how pissed I was and it probably was just going to end up with her and I yelling at each other. So I didnt go do that, actually I went out side and counted my breathing which really does help.
I found out a couple hours later that the VP knew it was her fault and basically put her in her place for making the mistake as well as trying to blame it on me, so there was really nothing for me to worry about.
This really is the best video series I have ever seen on any poker site. My girlfriend doesnt play poker and doesnt want to learn but she still loves this series.
Wow, thank you so much for this series. I'm going through quite tough time in my life and this series gave me a new kind of hope and energy, I really think I can become a truly happy person.
This is the pinnacle of human achievement, no joke.
Fantastic, fantastic series. The subscription pays for it self on this content alone. You two have steered me back on track as I was very prone to tilt before but I'm consciously noticing lack of tilt when I get 2 outered for the 3rd time in a row.
Now when that happens I say "Money would have gone in all the same if the positions were switched therefore this is an EV=0 spot" and I banish it from my mind.
Like someone else who has posted feedback my gf who doesn't play poker has watched the first episode and loved it, this is like general life self-improvement series in the sense that ANYONE can benefit from it.
Tommy & Wayne are the nuts.
I've never had so much changes in my game like I have right now.
It's not really how I do specific betting or raising actions within specific hands but how I react to happenings on the table and how I react to results of sessions. One step farther is how I react to swings and stuff.
I inserted pauses to my game and it helped a lot. And I'm so more relaxed. It's not only that I'm better within the game (actually I've got some losses right today) but it's all about that I know when I've done bad decisions or good decisions.
To sum up: Your series make me feel in harmony while, before and after playing poker. Before your series, I was a very aggressive and unplesant player. That's changed and hopefully, it will keep this way.
So, thank you at this point for your great great great series! :) You two are cool guys.
An excerpt from an email
I'm a big fan of the Eightfold Path series you did for DC but now I find that I must deal with the suffering caused by that series being over. Perhaps next time if you don't want people to get attached, you shouldn't make it so good. :)
A very enthusiastic blog post by btimm
Original EPTPE Drawings
by Wendelin Montciel
Other Images From EPTPE
We used dozens of images from istockphoto and flickr. And we used some from closer to home. Below are five of those.
I searched the web looking for a really good picture of a path to use in the video series. I couldn't find one that said "final answer." Then one day, on my walk, it occured to me that the thing I am walking on is in fact a path, and a particularly fine path at that. If only I had a camera. My phone has a camera. I will take my phone for a walk, and...
This is a picture of an oak tree in my neighborhood...
Max is making sure I have everything plugged in right...
Wayne and I recording in my bedroom...
Joe Tall took this one...
This is Poga, a friend of the series...
This is Emma doing a cat pose on my cat pose. Not a DeucesCracked member yet? Click on Emma's face . . . and become one.