This is the best poker book to come out in a long time, and I imagine it will remain the best poker book to come out for many years to come.Bradley Chalupski, PokerUpdate.com
Dr. Tricia Cardner
Apparently A7s is my lucky hand today. From the €10k. At 105k at 300/600. sharemypair.com/smpweb/smpview…
I splashed around lots in the €10k @pokerstarsept then made a hand. At 82k from 50k start. sharemypair.com/smpweb/smpview…
I recently finished re-reading the fascinating book Thinking Fast and Slow by the Nobel prize-winner Daniel Kahnemann. The basic premise of the book is that there are two modes of thinking: System 1 and System 2. The author demonstrates the difference by showing us a picture of an angry woman. We know she’s angry – we don’t need to think about it. This is System 1 at work. He then asks us for the answer to 17 × 24. If you manage to calculate the answer in your head, then you’re using System 2. The former system is essentially intuitive while the latter relies on doing some actual “thinking”.
System 1 is easy to use and makes almost no mental demands on us. Using System 2 depletes our resources. Do a lot of System 2 thinking and you get tired and irritable and more likely to eat a doughnut if offered one.
I wonder if poker players spend too much time operating on System 1 when engaging System 2 would be more +EV. Here is an example. I recently had a hand (against a competent villain) where I had been the early aggressor which subsequently went check-check on the turn, pretty much taking monster hands out of my range. On the river I was never going to win a showdown but the board had got a bit scary. Therefore “without thinking” (i.e. using System 1) I bet about 2/3 pot, knowing (System 1 again) that this only has to work 40% of the time to be breakeven. I judged (yep, lazy-ass System 1 again) that it would probably work 50% of the time…
While in Las Vegas during the WSOP (promoting our book Excelling at No Limit Hold Em), I watched a lot of live play and actually played a couple of very small events myself. I have been an exclusively online player for my entire poker career so live play was a novel and interesting experience for me. It became slightly less interesting when an extremely drunk Villain on my left absented himself from the table briefly in order to vomit into a waste paper bin – an experience I have happily avoided during online play.
I very much enjoyed being in Vegas but the one thing that utterly amazed me was the fact that players are allowed to use more or less any electronic equipment (phones, tablets, whatever) at the table during play. What…?? You cannot be serious….?!
Chess tournaments have (absolutely correctly) taken a zero tolerance approach to this issue. Anyone consulting an electronic device during a game risks being banned for life. Former World Championship challenger Nigel Short was once defaulted during a game because his phone beeped. The phone was switched off at the time and beeped to indicate it needed recharging. Nigel explained that it was a new phone and he was unaware of this feature. However, to his credit, he made no complaint regarding the default.
A lot of poker is quite mathematical and electronic devices are … you know … quite whizzy at the maths stuff. Also these devices can receive things called texts which – as you might know – are messages from other people. I don’t want to seem like a party pooper but if I’m playing someone at live poker I sort of prefer it if they make their own decisions rather than having access to someone else’s opinions. I asked around at the WSOP about this and most people said something like, “Well, yes, you’re expected to put it down if it’s your turn to play.” Oh, well that’s alright then.
I know we are all umbilically attached to our devices these days but this is ridiculous. I even saw players using their phones almost constantly whilst playing for six-figure sums at final tables. Why on earth is this allowed? I have absolutely no idea. Perhaps someone can explain it to me, although preferably not the guy who was on my left in the tournament.
We have recently published Jonathan Little’s Excelling at No Limit Hold’Em. This is our current flagship book, featuring some a collection of chapters by some of the strongest authors in the world, including Phil Hellmuth, Chris Moneymaker and Ed Miller. With almost 500 pages of material there is a mass of great advice regarding all aspects of the game.
One author less well known to the general public is Alex Fitzgerald, although he is very well known in the online community. Alex’s chapter is on range analysis and he demonstrates in great depth the exact way you should analyse poker hands, especially post-flop. The way that ranges interact on the turn and river, altering the equities for both players, is a mind-boggling subject. There is no way anyone could learn enough to understand this subject in its entirety but the more hands you analyse using the method that Alex demonstrates, the better your feel will become.
Alex is very well respected as a teacher and this also comes through in his chapter. The following piece of advice really struck me:
“When I study poker I find it useful to write down my observations in a Word document. I try to turn my observations into rules: ‘When X and Y occur then Z is possible.’ I print these out and carry them with me throughout the day for quick review. I also make sure I read them before or after a study session or lesson. That helps me internalize them. I’ve lost count of how many times this work has saved me from a tough situation deep in a tournament.”
This is great teaching advice. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve worked out a poker situation, it’s arrived while I’m playing and I’ve forgotten what it was that I “learnt” that I was supposed to do. Here’s an example. Using the book Mastering Pot Limit Omaha I’m trying to improve my PLO game. A theme that crops up again and again is that with “nutty”-type hands you should call raises to encourage a multi-way pot and with “non-nutty” hands you should re-raise to get heads up. I kept getting this wrong, re-raising with, e.g. A-K-K-6 (a hand that can make the nut flush and top set), whilst calling with hands like Q-10-9-7. Although a nice holding, the latter makes hands that tend to end up dominated in multi-way pots but plays very well heads up.
So, I wrote it out the correct advice, stuck it on a bit of paper and kept it by the computer screen for a day. Thanks Alex!
Evan Jarvis, one of the authors, has recorded a really superb video overview of Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em. If you are undecided as to whether the book is for you or not then this video will convince you.
Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNAYstvl4Yc