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The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky – Brief Remarks

Posted by Raul Barral Tamayo en Jueves, 4 de septiembre, 2008

Now, for the millions of poker players who know the basics, but do not fully understand the logic and principles of skillful play, here is a serious, comprehensive guide that shows how to think like a professional poker player.

The Theory of Poker puts you inside the heads of the greatest poker players in the world. It tells you the all-important factors you should consider in a particular situation before determining what to do.

It talks about the general theories and concepts of poker play that are operative in nearly every variation of poker and describes the thought processes of advanced poker players.

Using sample hands, it analyzes every aspect of a poker hand from the ante structure to play after the last card has been dealt in such games as five-card draw, seven-card stud, hold’em, draw lowball, and razz; or seven-card lowball.

Also included for quick easy reference are an appendix of game rules and a glossary of poker terms.

Comments extracted from the book, they could be right or wrong, you decide for yourself:

  • Poker logic is not tricks and ploys.
  • Reducing losses adds that much to your win when the game is over, many players dont follow this precept.
  • If you’re a significant favorite, then it’s a good game, and you should stay in it; if you’re an underdog, then it’s a bad game which you should quit.
  • Never quit a good game as a small winner just to ensure a winning session.
  • Dont continue playing in a bad game just to get even.
  • Even for tough professionals, quitting a game, particularily when they’re stuck is sometimes a hard thing to do.
  • Making money is the object of poker, and making money involves saving it on bad nights as well as winning it on good nights.
  • The Fundamental Theorem of Poker: Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponents’ cards, they gain; and every time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose.
  • In advanced poker you are constantly trying to make your opponent play in a way that would be incorrect if they knew what you had. First goal is accomplished by reading hands and players; second goal by playing deceptively.
  • Implied odds: it’s the money you expect to win by betting or raising on the last round when you do make your hand.
  • The better the players and the smaller the pot, the more you disguise your hand when there are more cards to come.
  • The worse the players and the larger the pot, the more you play your hand normally, without regard to giving anything away.
  • Slowplaying is an extremely effective way to get good value for your strong hands.
  • In a losse game you must tighten up on your bluffs and semi-bluffs, but lossen up on your legitimate hands; you bluff less but you bet for value more.
  • In a tight game you loosen up on your bluffs and semi-bluffs but you must tighten up your legitimate hand requirements; you bluff more but you bet for value less.
  • While in a horse race you like being first, in a poker game you like being last.
  • You should usually bluff with a busted hand when you thinkg your opponent is weak.
  • It is important to try to spot or induce bluffs to lead opponents away from correct bluffing strategy.
  • You should normally induce a bluff against players who already bluff too much and stop bluffs against players who already bluff too little.
  • The ability to read hands may be the most important weapon a poker player can have.
  • You should think not only about what your opponent have, but about what they think you have and about what they think you think they have.

Related links:

This book is more than 20 years old so and it’s still a bestseller so I hope it means something and it’ll help me to stop being fishy :). It lacks lots of specific No-Limit Hold’em concepts but I bought another book of him dedicated to it so it’s not much of a problem :).

It’s impossible to write down all concepts book contains, i just took some comments out for a general overview.



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