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Which Poker Books Should you buy?

by Daniel Negreanu |  Published: Sep 19, '15

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Poker isn't like real sports. While there may be plenty of genius football or golf coaches that never reached the elite level as a player, only the elite players themselves can write the best poker books and provide the best training videos. It's not really possible to be a mediocre, or losing poker player, but also be an elite poker coach.

You could be a great mental coach, preparing someone to be the best player they can be without also being a poker player, but that's because the coach isn't required to know what to do with AQ under the gun. It's irrelevant when it comes to having a mental coach.

A good mental coach is one who helps YOU develop a plan that will help ensure you are the most prepared, and best poker player you can be.

In the last couple years there have been several books that have some crossover appeal between poker and mental preparation. The writers of these books don't need to be elite poker players. They need to excel only in understanding psychology, what helps players be at their best, and what causes them to fail. They don't give you the answer to how AQ should be played against a raise, they would simply help in putting your mindset in such a place that you will more consistently make good decisions.

It's important to distinguish the difference between poker psychology books, and books that teach you how to play the game better. When it comes to learning how to play the game better, it is essential that the author is a successful, winning player over an extended period of time. There are still plenty of books on the market today written by people who simply wouldn't be winning players today. The information is often totally wrong. A book that was written by a winning player in 2003, doesn't mean that the information would be effective today. It may contain strategies that worked then, but would be totally outdated now.

I would strongly advise people to question the author of the information you are ingesting, or the guy doing training videos online. If they aren't successful players, while it still may be worthwhile to soak in some of the information, you should not allow it to cloud your judgment.

Anyone can write a poker book and claim to be an expert. Literally anyone. Anyone can offer training videos online, even those that have a graph in the negative.

When considering a poker book, or deciding on watching an online training video, the absolute most important question you need to ask is:

Who is the author and what are their credentials? Are they successful with the strategies they are teaching today? If they can't provide any relevant concrete credentials that are applicable to today's game, you would be foolish to trust in their material.

There are books on the market today that would actually make you a WORSE poker player if you followed their advice. There are plenty of frauds out there because there really isn't a basis to verify an authors credentials unless they release their personal poker records over an extended period of time.

I'm not looking to call out anyone in particular here, but I have seen poker coaches hired to teach the game who I thought were absolutely terrible players!

The truth is, many of the best poker books will never be written. Its rare for a top player in the highest stakes games to divulge his strategies. He is typically going to make a hell of a lot more money by keeping his strategies to himself versus sharing them with the world. It does happen occasionally, but it's still quite rare.

So knowing that, it's even more important to question the authors you are buying and making sure the information you are accepting as correct is coming from a source who can provide some proof of their authority on the subject.

 
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of CardPlayer.com.
 

Comments

Zack2
almost 2 years ago

i dont read anymore, i watch tv. watching all these broadcasts on tv has helped my game tremendously. went to Parx casino last night and folded a situation i had just saw Daniel himself get into. Daniel folded Q10 top pair when he got reraised by this asian guy on the flop, think its the 2nd episode of the new wsop main event. Daniel called out that he was getting trapped and folded. Had AQ raised to 10 got a caller. Flop Q 10 5. I bet 25, guy made it 50. Told him i was being trapped and showed him. He showed 55. Still ended up getting stacked but it saved me from sleeping a couple hours in the car while friends played. But watching the super high rollers, pca, all those other events, the commentary is amazing. Theres usually always something new to pick up and add into your game. The live one drop with Jason Summerville and Seiver commentating has a wealth of knowledge. Besides watching, playing online is a lot better than reading these books. From nj, seeing so many hands, makes you more comfortable without even noticing. Friends who a new continue to grow and feel more comfortable faster than i ever did. These books are out of date though. The game is different now than in 2000. No need to raised 3 times the blind when 2.3-2.5 works just the same. There are bits a pieces you can take from these books, but actually watching how hands get played out makes you feel a lot more comfortable than reading how they play out in a book.

 
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Henny
almost 2 years ago

So you bet the pot or more on the flop and got min raised? Bet sizing should be your next lesson.

 
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nowmoney
almost 2 years ago

How about learning how to trap yourself ? If a player min-bet you and you have top two on the flop... if you have already considered that he is set-mining you. You can always call to see if another card pairs you up for a full house to get the better hand over your opponent. Understanding your options of getting the best of your opponent is also a skill.

 
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Steven33
almost 2 years ago

I've found watching the replays of the "Sunday Million" and other games on pokerstars very helpful.

 
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Henny
almost 2 years ago

jcarverpoker can teach you.

 
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bdp51809
almost 2 years ago

Always good listening to Mr. Negreanu and all the other players and watching the videos, I spend a lot of time on pokerstars pso, studying videos and playing wsop on face book "working it" man what a difference in my game,, almost allways end up heads up,, I am really enjoying the game a lot now,, looking forward to getting back to "Vegas" in a couple months,,, see everybody there!!

 
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Don_DiMaggio1
almost 2 years ago

While I respect anything Daniel has to say about poker, I have found at least one book that seems to me to be timeless -- Herbert Yardley's "The Education of a Poker Player." Good, basic advice about five-card draw and stud and seven-stud. Those games haven't changed. As to poker psychology, I believe Yardley's advice is still solid. And it's a great read: absolutely entertaining stories about "back room" poker when you could still get busted by the local cops for playing it! And there's even a Kindle edition.

 
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