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Comment: Paperback with same cover as shown. (2001, Fourth Edition, 2nd printing. Two Plus Two Publishing.) Shows only light corner wear with no creasing. No markings. Binding and spine are square and tight.
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The Theory of Poker: A Professional Poker Player Teaches You How To Think Like One Paperback – 1999

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The Theory of Poker:  A Professional Poker Player Teaches You How To Think Like One + Harrington on Hold 'em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1: Strategic Play + Doyle Brunson's Super System
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Two Plus Two Publishing; 4th edition (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880685000
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880685006
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Sklansky is generally considered the number one authority on gambling in the world today. Besides his ten books on the subject, David also has produced two videos and numerous writings for various gaming publications. His occasional poker seminars always receive an enthusiastic reception, including those given at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

More recently, David has been doing consulting work for casinos, Internet gaming sites, and gaming device companies. He has recently invented several games, soon to appear in casinos.

David attributes his standing in the gambling community to three things:

1. The fact that he presents his ideas as simply as possible (sometimes with Mason Malmuth) even though these ideas frequently involve concepts that are deep, subtle, and not to be found elsewhere.

2. The fact that the things he says and writes can be counted on to be accurate.

3. The fact that to this day a large portion of his income is still derived from gambling (usually poker, but occasionally blackjack, sports betting, horses, video games, casino promotions, or casino tournaments).

Thus, those who depend on David’s advice know that he still depends on it himself.

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Customer Reviews

This is the best poker book ever written.
Karlsson, Kristoffer
Is a must read for anyone who wants to become a serious poker players.
Mauro Pablo Blanc
The book applies a very mathematical approach to the game.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

279 of 283 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne on January 29, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sklansky's The Theory of Poker has generally been reguarded as a classic since its initial release. Along with Doyle Brunson's Super System and Mike Caro's Book of Poker Tells these three book were the the 1-2-3 knockout combo of poker books. Super System covered many main types of poker specifically, Caro's Book of Tells covered much of the psychology of poker, but Sklansky's Theory of Poker was quite different.

Instead of focusing on one aspect of poker, Sklansky decided to focus on the "big picture". Odds, psychology, information, using these things in combination to make the correct decisions is what poker is all about. And with The Theory of Poker Sklansky wrote a book that attempted to teach you how to do just that. Simply stated, if you make more correct decisions than your opponent, and make less wrong decisions, then in the long wrong, you will win. Luck is the thing that keeps beginners and gamblers coming back to try and "hit it big". And it's what keeps those in the know in the money.

That said, this book is not the easiest read for the uninformed. I admit that I was one of those caught up in Poker big boom a few years ago but I have truly fell in love with it since then and have become a true student of the game. I have gone from dead money to a profitable player - and alot of that thanks goes to many of the books I have read by many great authors. In an attempt to categorize them to help beginners like myself choose what's right for them (in order):

Phil Gordon's The Real Deal - A very easy read to get beginners thinking about the game.

Sklansky's Hold'Em Poker - Not much more complicated than Phil's book and offers more good ideas for the novice for getting started.
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144 of 148 people found the following review helpful By John M. Thompson on September 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Every time you play a hand differently than you would have played it if you could see all your opponents' cards, they gain; every time you play a hand the same as you would have if you could see all their cards, they lose." [This is an excerpt from what Sklansky humbly termed the fundamental theorem of poker.]
Statements like these will probably leave the average player, new to reading about his or her game, somewhat puzzled, but this is the main value of this book. It gives you a set of terms to describe conditions and actions in a poker game, and then tries to make you think about what you do and why. In the beginning, Sklansky says that this book does not try to answer, "What do you do in this particular situation?," but "What do you consider in this particular situation before determining what to do?"
It uses examples from every form of poker found in a casino, but it does not deal with any one form in particular. For this, a few good choices include the 'Advanced Players' series from Two Plus Two Publishing, and 'Super/System' by 1976-1977 World Series of Poker Champion Doyle Brunson and his collaborators. Sklansky's object is to show that winning poker comes down to correct determination of your odds given cards seen and unseen, the size of the pot in play and the effect of less tangible, psychological factors on the odds set by the first two elements.
It's not the easiest reading, but the language therein will be used by most serious players of the game in discussions away from the table. Get 'Poker for Dummies' by Lou Krieger and Richard Harroch first, as well as a basic text for your favorite game, like 'Winning Low-Limit Hold'Em' by Lee Jones. After a few months of play, open this book to reevaluate your game and what you thought you understood about poker.
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81 of 86 people found the following review helpful By louienapoli on May 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Invariably at or near the top of any list of serious titles on poker, this book is the leading work on poker theory. Since virtually every dedicated player has read it, to play without reading it is to put yourself at a disadvantage. Sklansky focuses on the math of poker--how to calculate odds, pot odds, reverse implied pot odds, etc. It's not a fun read; it reminded me of some of the college textbooks I dreaded, but it rewards hard work with a new depth of insight that will make you a smarter, more insightful player. It deserves five stars but I gave it four because it can be so dreary. No colorful stories of how so-and-so went all in with a pair of fours only to [take out a set on the River, etc. Sklansky is so professorial in tone it's hard to imagine him at smoky poker table betting the farm. And in truth, he's more noted as a theoretician than a player. But if you want to play poker for serious stakes, this book is required reading.
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83 of 89 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
I prefer later titles by this author but the valuable information in here should not be bypassed. Contained in ALL their titles: The best advice backed up with easy to understand examples. Contains the least amount of dubious advice of any poker text. Skylansky and Malmouth will effect a huge difference in your poker fortunes. No matter how good a player you are you are a "clueless newbie" until you have mastered the knowledge offered by David and Mason. Once caveat: Keep in mind that in general their advice is directed towards your playing in a game with tight aggressive skilled players. These authors no longer play in low limit games and to some extent have lost touch with the type of player the low limit playing reader faces.You should add another title to your shopping basket here to read that addresses games with loose bad players in it so as to obtain a proper strategic approach to all situations. A good poker book teaches you how to think about situations more so than what to do in specific situationAny text by the team of skylansky malmouth is worth it's weight in gold. Look for a revision of some of their classic texts, subtitled- "year 2000 or 20c. update"
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