Kamis, 16 Oktober 2014

Let’s start with the basics

I believe poker is the most complicated game that humans play. With the exception of heads up fixed-limit hold’em, poker is the only game where computers cannot compete with us. The more I learn about poker, the more I realize how little I know, and I am a serious student of the game. This makes it tough to talk poker strategy with the average player at the table unless I feel like giving free lessons. My students usually have some idea how much there is to learn within a few lessons, and some of them are even intimidated by how long the road in front of them appears to be.

Chris WallaceWith a game so complex, with so many unique skills using different parts of your brain and personality, it’s important to learn efficiently and be smart about how you study. The game has a constant evolution, with the strongest players staying in the game and the weakest players going broke and leaving, so if you don’t continue to improve, the game will leave you behind. Luckily, the rewards for working hard enough to stay ahead of the curve are significant and are usually paid in cash.
Over the next few months, I’ll be covering different ways to learn the game, providing some reviews and ideas about how to use each method. This month, I’ll start off with the basics, poker books.
When I first got serious about the game 10 years ago, books were the best way to get a solid foundation, and in the first six months, I read every book I could get my hands on. I filled notebooks with notes from those books and studied hard, but there were only about six or eight good books on the market so I ran out of material. Books are still a great way to get some concepts, but now there are so many books on the market that it’s tough to choose one and no one has time to read them all.
The flood of poker books that rolled in with the poker boom included a lot of terrible books, which is certainly good news for those of us who can recognize junk and ignore it. I’ve met a lot of players over the years whose games have suffered terribly because of books they have read. Even many books that have a good reputation are outdated, so players who are asking about good books at the tables will often get a recommendation for a book that was good five or 10 years ago. Stick with newer books, books that still get good reviews on forums, and the books on this list, and you should have more than enough reading material to keep you busy.
Non-Game Specific Books
“The Theory of Poker” by David Sklansky — Still an important book after all these years, “The Theory of Poker” is the ultimate work on poker theory. It’s not fun to read, because it deals with a lot of math and logic and is presented in the dry writing style that Sklansky is known for, so skip it if you hate math. If you want to know how poker really works, struggle through it, you will definitely be a better player for it.
“Your Worst Poker Enemy” by Dr. Alan Schoonmaker — If you have a tilt problem, this book is a necessity. If you think you don’t have a tilt problem, then you need this book to help you see that you aren’t playing your best game all the time. A great work on how to play as well as you can and how to plug some important, and very common, leaks.
“The Poker Party is Over” by Dr. Alan Schoonmaker — Dr. Schoonmaker’s most recent work is incredibly well-researched and makes some excellent points about how the game has changed and how you might be able to survive in the new, and tougher, poker climate. If you are serious about playing for a living or at least playing part-time for extra income, this book will be a big help.
“Read ’Em and Reap” by Joe Navarro — As far as tells in live games, “Read ’Em and Reap” has no peer. While I wish it was longer and more in-depth, it has some excellent information and is easy to read and learn from. You will make more money in live games if you study this book.
No-Limit Hold’em
“Professional No-Limit Hold’em” by Sunny Mehta, Matt Flynn and Ed Miller — A very systematic and ordered way to play no-limit hold’em cash games, this book will help you to play well by following a set of guidelines to prevent the most common mistakes that no-limit cash players make.
“No-Limits: The Fundamentals of No-Limit Hold’em” by Chris “Fox” Wallace and Adam Stemple — Man, this book is really good. I should know, I wrote it (nolimitsbook.com, buy one now!) but I also firmly believe that it’s a great companion book to Mehta, Flynn, and Miller’s book. While they give you a systematic approach, I teach you how the game works. They give you a set of rules; I give you a set of tools to use to break them whenever you can find a profitable spot.
Fixed-Limit Hold’em
“Hold’em Excellence” and “More Hold’em Excellence” by Lou Krieger — Getting started playing fixed-limit hold’em? Buy these two books. Easy to read because Lou is a great writer and accurate because he beats smaller fixed-limit games in California for much of his living.
“Small Stakes Hold’em” by Ed Miller — This is the best advanced book on fixed-limit hold’em at this point. If you are seriously studying the game, this book will give you all the tools you need.
Tournament Poker
“Harrington on Hold’em Volumes 1-2” by Dan Harrington — While the style advocated in these books won’t win in bigger tournaments, they are an excellent base for beginning players who are playing smaller buy-in events.
“Kill Everyone Expanded Elky Edition” by Lee Nelson, Tyson Streib and Kim Lee — “Kill Everyone” is a solid work on tournament theory that any serious tournament player should read.
“Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Volumes I, II, III” by Rizen, Apestyles, Pearljammer, and Matthew Hilger — These books are the most modern and advanced tournament instruction from some of the best players in the world. A must read for anyone looking to move up and play bigger buy-ins or improve beyond the basics. The third volume in particular covers a number of advanced topics and in my opinion is the best tournament poker book on the market.
“Raiser’s Edge” by Elky, and Jonathan Little’s tournament books get an honorable mention here. Both are solid and speak to the way the game is played these days.
Alternate Games
Tired of Hold’em? Many of the newest games haven’t been covered in books, but the old standards, Omaha and stud variants, are still alive and well.
“Super/System 2” by Doyle Brunson and friends — With multiple experts at his disposal, Doyle put together an excellent book with solid practical advice on a number of games. Other than no-limit hold’em, SS2 covers Omaha/8, stud/8, triple draw, and pot-limit Omaha.
“High-Low Split Poker” by Ray Zee — This book has been the standard text on stud/8 and Omaha/8 for many years and is the most advanced text on both games.
“The Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide” by various authors — Care to learn tournament strategy involving mixed games from some of the best players in the world? Excellent chapters by the former Full Tilt pro team on nearly every common tournament game.
“Stud for Advanced Players” by David Sklansky — No other book covers one game so well. Read this book twice and crush every stud game you play. Really, it’s that good. Not an easy read, but well done and complete.
“Winning Omaha/8 Poker” by Mark Tenner and Lou Krieger — The best book for new O/8 players and a great introduction to the game that is easy to read and absorb.
Books are an excellent way to improve many of your poker skills, though they won’t teach you everything. They are a great way to get a solid foundation before you move on to more advanced studies that are hard to teach in print, and books are the cheapest option for smaller bankrolls as well.
Over the next few months I’ll cover training sites, forums, coaches, and other ways to improve your game, with recommendations for each. If you save each article and put them in a binder, you will have a free copy of “Fox’s Guide to Learning How to Be Really Good at Poker” (it’s a working title).

source : bluff