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The Impossible Challenge of Writing a Poker Book

15/01/2020 by Amanda Botfeld

A Girl's Guide to Poker front cover

There are plenty of ways to set yourself up for failure: starting a diet on your birthday, showing up late to a date, and writing about numbers. Or cards.

They say math is the universal language, but, well, I’m far from fluent. And I certainly can’t write in equations. So writing a poker book had just about as much logic to me as 2 + 2 = 7.

But when life hands you cards, you can’t always play every hand in position. And with a novel concept (get it?) for A Girl’s Guide to Poker, I knew I couldn’t run away to the muck. Daniel Negreanu has said, “The majority of players are looking for reasons to fold. I am looking for reasons to play.” Dude, same.

So I wrote A Girl’s Guide to Poker around two central questions, written in plain English.

What’s your story?

What do you want to have happen?

You’d be surprised how much asking these two simple questions can transform a player’s entire game. Even more than fine-tuning half-pot to three-quarters-pot bet-sizing.

You always, always, always want to ask yourself what story you’re telling. Are you advertising a strong hand or weak hand? Before the flop? After the flop? Developing this intentionality on every street will make the pieces of the hand fit together, and take away the sense of randomness that can sometimes come with poker. Asking yourself what’s your story will give you a sense of control. Too many players get caught up in the details. You’re much better off focusing on the big picture. (Or, as the pros call it, range.)

Secondly, people act without thinking things through. You see this often when someone raises another player’s bet with top pair. Do you want them to call? Do you want them to fold? Are you trying to induce? It’s time to get away from the caveman – or cavewoman! – mentality of, “I have pair. Raise.” There are no wrong answers in poker, but you do want to be asking the right questions.

Yes, knowing which hands to play and which hands to fold preflop is extremely important. I even have a preflop flashcard trainer on my site And I have a lot of quizzes there to drill you on poker odds and percentages, too.

But in writing a book, I wanted to provide a foundation for players they can rely on without needing to know any numbers. There will inevitably be times in a hand where your mind goes blank. And you don’t want to get lost clicking buttons.

So take a step back, breathe, and ask yourself life’s most important query, “What the heck do I want?!”

Wishing you a win.

If you enjoyed this article from Amanda you can pick up a copy of her book HERE