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Book Review: Theory of Poker


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#1 DanielNegreanu

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 03:07 AM

This book is a must have for any poker library. It teaches you all you need to know about pot odds and general theory. (I'll add more later)




#2 suitedBullets

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 02:11 PM

Ah, I bought this book long ago but stopped after a few sections for the following reasons.1. David Slansky's grammar is as bad as I DO. :D His theory (if I remember properly) of something like "If you play your hands like you can openly read your opponents' hands then you win, and vice versa..." is kind of difficult to understand. 2. I prefer other books because they are fun to read and easier to grasp. Books like S/S (can't wait for SS2) got me hooked right away. And honestly, I am not a pro and I play online just for fun (but I do manage to make profit, and I have a day time job), I don't have that much time to read on an relatively boring book (ok, lazy excuses, got work to do, family to run...)3. I know how to calculate the pot odds. Why bother? And sometimes in tournament plays (not cash games) even though I know it's against the odds but I still have to go for it to stay alive. Take drawing hands for example, I view it as 3 chances instead of 1 (bluff to win, rebluff to win, and draw to win, and of course I will raise for my draws. But I only do this when it's really needed).4. Some experiences very important like patience, discipline, observing your opponents, changing gears, courage to bluff, choosing the right time , right people, and right position to bluff, avoiding trap, setting trap, etc are something you can't read from a book. If you don't have the talent to sort things out on your own, you will never be able to be a fine poker player or a successful person.5. I am lazy I admit. I will wait for Danny to give more words of wisdom on this book like what to look for in this book, why it's good comparing to the others, etc, then I will read it. I know many recommend it, but like playing low limit NoLimt holdem cash games, I will waitttt...Best Regard.

#3 tmiesen359

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 06:06 PM

got this book for christmas, paged through it so far but no in depth reading. i think this book is excellent because it doesn't tell you what to do in all situations, but it tells you what you should CONSIDER doing. it also gives you strategies into watching betting patterns, psychology, etc.great book

#4 tekn0wledg

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 06:31 PM

This book changed my poker play forever [for the better] To this day no other poker book has positvely affected my play as much as the theory of poker.

#5 banker2005

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 07:20 PM

I just finished the Theory of Poker (because when I started reading poker books, I started with a lot of small smakes books) and I thought it was great. I got this one because I like Slansky's approach, especially after reading his small stakes limit holdem' book and it didn't dissapoint.Details on pot odds and strategies definately very good.

#6 suitedBullets

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 07:45 AM

One more point I will like to add. I'm more a tourney player than cash game player (I don't have what it takes to be a great cash game player: time, energy, concentration, the excitement of playing tournaments...). In tournaments, I view getting into each hand as 4 battles: preflop battle, flop battle, turn battle and river battle. I would like to win the battle as early as possible yet take them very carefully after postflops. As you can see now, I like to play with people not my cards (Of course I will study them a while before I go twisting their mind)! I always receive online railbirds' criticism because due to my "maniac" plays, but I always salute them with "lol, gg". So what's my point? Here it is: poker is a special form of gambling that involves making money from other players but not from the casino. It's a either-you-die-or-I-will-so-why-don't-you-first situation. It's cruel but true (I am a nice person but not when playing poker because I will be wild and fierce, but don't mistake that with me being rude or abussive). So I am afraid of after reading Theory of poker, I got framed at thinking hmmm, what should I do with this hand in this position, what will be my return rates comparing to my investment, is the pot odd good enough to warrant my chase, etc. I want to think the other ways, hmm, this person just calls, is he slowplaying his big pp, having small pp wanting a trip or he wants to see cheap flop, if he wants to see cheap flop and I raise big with my junk hand then will he fold? Now he calls my big raise preflop and the board shows 259 rainbow, will he misses his AK/AQ or does he have pp, will he think that I've bigger pp if I bet the pot size and then he will fold, is he a weak passive player, is he a tight aggressive player, etc. Believe me, poker is a game of gambling, if you always think about your cards but not your opponents, you won't go too far. I see people saying online that they will study other players before they sit down at cash game. That's a wrong attitude to start with for me. You study to BEAT them, not just studying them!

#7 Awful

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Posted 05 January 2005 - 07:25 PM

SuitedBullets, what was the point of that post? You rambled incoherently about sklansky making you think too much and then essentially claimed that odds and such were unimportant.He covers the levels of thinking, and how to go deeper and deeper, through what the opponent thinks you think he has and expresses this focus and psychology, especially for hand-reading in multiway pots.He covers the chink in the armor of each classic mistake and the means to exploit it. So you see their play, discern their weaknesses and you capitalize; you study your opponenet to beat them, similarly it teaches you to analyze the "beatability" of games as well as players. I don't know what you were getting at, but it certainly doesn't reflect on Theory of Poker at all.

#8 tmiesen359

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 04:35 PM

suitedbullets, do you see the pros going in on every hand because they think they can outplay the opponents every time? no, even gus hansen knows when to do this. you're right, you should be playing the people, but poker is a special form of gambling in that there is a balance between luck and skill. the better the players, the more skill, and the worse the players, the more luck has a factor. you aren't trying to win all the money in every game, hence the studying part: you want to be able to beat them later on as well. But, since you have viewed yourself as primarily a tournament player, i can see what you mean.

#9 FrankB

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Posted 20 January 2005 - 02:20 AM

Theory of Poker is a great book! It is not a "how to" book, which is what most people are looking for. It teaches you to start "thinking" like a poker player...asking the right questions in your head when you need to make a decision (which is all time in our beloved game). It is not for beginners and only after you have been playing for awhile should you begin reading it. It's not going to tell you how you should play suited connectors, but what you should be considering before you act when faced with a four flush on the flop and you have put your opponent on top pair. Each situation is different, there is no right or wrong answer to this question as there are so many variables to consider. "Theory of Poker" helps you consider those variables so you can recognize when you have "the best of it" and thus making correct decisions. To a player who wants to take this game seriously...it is a MUST read.

#10 blknines

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 10:39 AM

Should I read Theory of Poker or Hold em poker for advanced players first. Thanks!

#11 wrto4556

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 11:39 AM

Theory of poker 1sttheeeeeen hold'em for advance people
back for kramit

#12 blknines

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 01:17 PM

thx, but looks like i better stop reading hold em for advanced players... im about 60 pages in.

#13 Spidurman

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 01:36 PM

blknines said:

thx, but looks like i better stop reading hold em for advanced players... im about 60 pages in.
If you've got it, may as well read it....if you are going to read both ~now, I'd get ToP though. Its a good foundation book for any game, any limit.

#14 blknines

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 01:39 PM

ok, thanks for the tip

#15 randomization

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Posted 30 January 2005 - 11:52 PM

If you understand the material in theory of poker, you'll probably have an easier time digesting or absorbing the material in HPFAP, as some of the explanations in HPFAP are too short to really understand unless you have a significant knowledge of the background theory. Finishing HPFAP won't hurt, but reading the theory of poker first might actually make things go more quickly.

#16 blknines

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 08:04 AM

ya, I have found that some things arent explained in great detail. So I will definitely get theory of poker and read that first. Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on this topic.Also, what other books should I be looking to read next? Thanks!

#17 Degueldre

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 09:58 PM

blknines after you finish reading The Theory of Poker and Tournament Poker For Advanced Players I recommend that you do the following this is based on the huntch that you are a beginner and that you are primarily interested in No-Limit Holdem Tournaments. You should read Super System II, Championship No Limit and Pot Limit Holdem by TJ Cloutier and Tom McEvoy, as well as Harrington on Holdem vl1 before venturing into real on line tournaments you might also want to purchase a computer software called Tournament Texas Holdem to sharpen you're skills against all of this stuff can be purchased at gamblers book shop in LV Nevada. A amateur player named Jim McManus did the above and finished 5th in the mainevent of the WSOP in 2000' he later wrote a book about his exsperience titled "Positively Fifth Street." --Good Luck

#18 MrConceit

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 10:34 PM

Degueldre said:

blknines after you finish reading The Theory of Poker and Tournament Poker For Advanced Players I recommend that you do the following this is based on the huntch that you are a beginner and that you are primarily interested in No-Limit Holdem Tournaments. You should read Super System II, Championship No Limit and Pot Limit Holdem by TJ Cloutier and Tom McEvoy, as well as Harrington on Holdem vl1 before venturing into real on line tournaments you might also want to purchase a computer software called Tournament Texas Holdem to sharpen you're skills against all of this stuff can be purchased at gamblers book shop in LV Nevada. A amateur player named Jim McManus did the above and finished 5th in the mainevent of the WSOP in 2000' he later wrote a book about his exsperience titled "Positively Fifth Street." --Good Luck
Not to detract from the above post at all, it was good info. I'm just curious in general about something. Did any of you actually get a lot out of the TJ Cloutier/McEvoy tourney book?

#19 Scott31

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Posted 02 February 2005 - 05:09 AM

Quote

Not to detract from the above post at all, it was good info. I'm just curious in general about something. Did any of you actually get a lot out of the TJ Cloutier/McEvoy tourney book?
I own it and have read it twice. I remember everyone telling me it was "the bible of tourney play." If that's the bible, I'm changing religions. Maybe I missed something, but I really didn't find it that helpful. Plus, about a quarter of the book is not spent on instruction, but rather his old road poker stories. Mostly throughout the book, I was thinking to myself "How can Cloutier play that unbelievably tight and win?" Sure, you should fold a bunch. But with his advice, you'd be folding yourself right out of a tourney, IMO.

#20 bettor

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Posted 02 February 2005 - 05:16 AM

The very first "technical" poker book i ever bought. Basically the first really supplement to all the information I gleaned from occassionally playing online on my mother's name. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to jump start their poker initiation. Sometimes the language and syntax needs a second or third read but it's managable and more than worth the trouble. Basically I love it.Pros- Applies to all games. Can be reread many times, in full or by section.Cons- Ha.-Abraham
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