Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two (Very Good) Poker Books

I'm on (yet) another biz trip, so posts have been slow and inconsistent. I'm also not really having time to play much, and when I have it's been (jet-lagged) roller coaster sessions, with essentially nothing added (or subtracted, thankfully) from the bankroll.

That said, I have had time (at 30,000 feet in my usual aisle seat) to start reading a couple of really good poker books:

The first one is a 3rd Edition of one that I've read before: Easy Game by Andrew "Baluga Whale" Seidman. I mentioned this book back in a previous post (here). As I stated then, this is a very excellent book. It's not really for beginners, but if you're a solid intermediate player, I would strongly recommend picking up a copy. The only real issue I have with it is that it's a 3rd edition, and rather than scrub out the earlier edition material, Seidman (weirdly) adds asterisks and notes and follow-on and appended chapter material to the original content. What this means is that you sometimes read something in a chapter, get it sorted out in your head, only then to read a follow-on chapter section that changes or modifies the previous material. This can be a little frustrating, but overall it (kind of) works.

The second book is a brand new one on the market that is getting really heavy (and favorable) press. It is Poker's 1%: The One Big Secret that Keeps Poker's Elite on Top, by Ed Miller. As the title suggests, Miller's premise is that there is one major (open) secret that professionals like Phil Galfond use to crush no limit poker. And what a secret it is. Seriously. Miller starts the book by saying all the stuff you've previously learned about tight-aggressive poker (especially as it relates to value hands) is fine for making a modest win rate at low and medium stakes, but it should be thrown out and replaced with this "secret" if you want to truly crush poker (especially higher stakes games). I won't go into the full details yet (as I'm not done reading the book), but all I can say thus far is: Wow. Miller has always been a really good explainer of difficult concepts, and this one is no exception. In fact, it's a doozy. Very, very good stuff-- but please note that this is not a book for beginning (or even intermediate) players. This is for serious (or aspiring) professionals, and the "secret" is not so much a secret, but instead a new way of thinking about making money in a poker hand. Also, the ground work material is there, but if you want to actually employ this secret in your game, it's going to take a lot of mathematical work and off-table prep to formulate ranges and frequencies (yes, I know, I'm being a little cryptic, but that's mostly because I've not yet fully wrapped my head around the concept). Note also that the book is not cheap (I paid $45 on Amazon), but if you're a serious poker geek (like me), you might consider getting your hands on a copy. (I'll report back in the future when I finish the first read.)

Back to being (as usual) jet lagged.

-All-in (for now)...


  1. The only problem with Miller is that he charges an arm and a leg for his books.

    1. Yep, he's definitely not afraid to price his books pretty steep. Guess he's counting on knuckleheads like me to fork over the dough. :)