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Elements of Poker Paperback – December 10, 2007
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From the Back Cover
All of my good streaks and all of my bad streaks of every length and depth have had one thing in common. They did not exist in your mind. They only existed in my mind. And this is true for everyone's winning and losing streaks. None of them actually exist. They are all mental fabrication, like past and future. Everything that ever happens happens in the present tense. But how can you have a "streak" in the present tense? You can't. And therefore, if you are in the present tense, which, in fact, at this time, you are, then at this moment there is no streak in your life. There is no inherent existence to streaks. The streak is there when you think about it, and when you stop thinking about it, it goes away. It blossoms and withers, all in your mind. And when your mind invents a streak, you believe it exists, because you believe what your mind tells you. But the truth is there is only the hand you are playing.
About the Author
Poker chose me to be her slave when I was but a boy. For the first 15 years or so of servitude, I complained bitterly about the pain and injustice of it all. Then I became a professional poker player and over the next 15 years, gradually I started to see that everything is always fair. And now I thank poker, my tormentor, for this and hundreds more life lessons.
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Top customer reviews
Tommy Angelo manages in 250 well-written and exceptionally well-edited pages to cover many aspects of poker that you'll seldom see discussed. The book would be worth reading even if it contained nothing new simply because it's readable, even entertaining.
But it does contain much that is new to poker literature, if not in substance in slant. For example his discussion of "A-Game, B-Game, and C_Game" hands should be an eye opener for players who habitually play cards that are certain losers. In his classification there is only one B-Game hand - and I'll not step on his punch line by telling what it is. Heeding his advice on this topic should help to make more decisions black vs. white rather than an endless variety of shades of gray.
Players enamored with suited cards would be well advised to read element 32 (Suitedness and Connectedness) where they'll get a realistic view of the true value of suited cards. (Being suited adds about 4% probability of winning to a hand at a full table, 2% heads up.) Eveyone understands that position is of paramount importance in Hold'em. So there's nothing new to be said about it, right? Wrong. Angelo's discussion of elements 28-31 reveals nothing "new", but does reveal what we all think we know in a new light. Read his discussion then re-read Sklansky.
The bottom line is you'll gain a few insights into the old familiar topics. More importantly, you will gain some entirely new perspectives on your game and some of what you already know will be seen so clearly you'll realize that although you could quote the concept you didn't really know it. Angelo's prose is so readable and his ideas so well expressed that you'll find yourself rethinking your own game as you progress through the book. I can't imagine any player not learning something valuable from this book.
Did I mention that it's readable? Looks like an actual English-language editor checked for spelling, syntax, etc. This may be the most readable poker book I've seen.
There are probably a great many people in the middle category, the people who will gain by reading this book. Mr. Angelo doesn't give a great many tactical tips here, so this book won't be much help in _creating_ your A game. However, that is the easy part. Poker isn't as difficult as it seems. An A game good enough to win against ok players is not out of your reach. This book will help you play it all, or almost all, the time.
The reason I give this book five stars is the huge number of excellent advices given on what I see as its actual focus: how to make sure that you bring your A game to the table often and long enough to make you a winning player. A couple of psychologists have published books covering more or less that topic (Poker Mindset comes to mind as a pretty good example) but they could not do what Tommy Angelo does: integrate this topic into actual poker coaching. The author does so. Masterfully.
In addition, after finishing my first read of this book, I , for some reason, deeply believes that Mr Angelo certainly lies when playing poker (that's called bluffing) but NEVER when teaching poker. Refreshing candor. So, in my view, a must have book. A young guy named Phil Galfond seems (if i heard his interview correctly) to share that opinion.
Having read his work online at his website, I thought it was so well written, and pertinent to ANY poker players success. Well written in an interesting and entertaining style.
Just what the title say, Elements of Poker, not how to play poker. The great thing is you can use his ideas in your everyday life, Poker player or not.
I bought the Kindle edition at a great price and value. Had I known how superior it was, I would have bought it earlier. Go ahead and do yourself a favor and order one. Having discussed this book with several other poker players I know, and read comments on Poker forums, I have never heard one negative comment on the content or writing style .
This is NOT a book for beginning poker players though. This is a book for players who have read a couple of technical books and have a few hundred hours of play under their belts and are ready to ascend to that "next" level.
Most recent customer reviews
Arthur S (Joesize)