Personally I don't like books at all. I'm a very slow
reader and I learn much more easily when I see things.
Once in a while a book worthwhile reading comes along.
Looking back at the days in grammar school, where we were tormented by reading up aloud and doing math at the blackboard, I find my life today as an adult quite relaxing and free of demands from teachers and the like. I was a very slow reader and still to this day, I have never read a book for the fun of it. Books about science and other educational literature are sometimes read for the sole purpose of acquiring new knowledge.
As a poker player some literature are required because books are the only resource where you get an in-depth treatment of complex subjects. I have three favorite books. In random order:
- Easy game 1 by Andrew Seidman
- Easy game 2 by Andrew Seidman
- Don't listen to Phil Hellmuth by Dusty Schmidt and Paul Christopher Hoppe
In this blog I'll talk about 'Don't listen to Phil Hellmuth' and why I think this book is relevant.
About the book
The book can be bought both as an e-book and as a tradition book on paper. The price is more than reasonable. The main author Dusty 'Leatherass' Schmidt is among other things known for grinding it out heavy on Poker Stars – a true online player. What is good about that, is the amount of experience he gained over a relatively short time span. He knows what works and what doesn't.
In general poker, especially cash game, have undergone a huge development through the last couple of years. There are much less huge fish and even fewer bad players. The problem is that with the amount of information available out there even the laziest of players can get knowledge enough to make them only slight losers. At stakes around NL50-NL200 the rake is significant to a degree where it's not enough to be winning from a fish and a slight loser to the regs. You simply need to be able to handle yourself against the other good players at your tables.
The book sets out to correct the 50 worse poker advice you have ever head. I think it's a bit of a stretch and some of the 'advice' is kind of far fetched – mostly it seems like a structure put on a book for making a sales argument. Strange because it really stand out on it own.
The book is in three parts.
- Part one gives you 50 small chapters talking about an isolated subject. Taking a step back these 50 chapters can be grouped into preflop play, flop play and lines and hand reading on turn and river.
- Part two is a analysis of 25 hands with a fair degree of detail. I personally feel that some of the hands fall a little bit out of the scope of the book.
- Part three is a quiz. There are questions from all around the book and it is a really good way to check if you get the main points from the 50 small chapters. Unfortunately it seems that there are some mistakes in the check list where more of the suggested answers a clearly wrong or simply impossible! This makes you doubt the validity of the rest of the check list and thereby undermine one of the really good things about this book.
The book is really well written and well thought out. I'm a NL100-NL200 regular and I learned something new or got some concepts clarified in almost all chapters. The information load is high and don't expect to get spoon-fed all the way. I think I learned more the second time I read it than the first and I am certainly going to read it a third time also.
When I think about poker I have a very theoretical view as Sklansky and Seidman suggests in their books. This is good for conceptualizing poker but bad when having to deal with a lot of online tables simultaneously. Without being a play book this book is a hands on concept book, if that makes sense. It has certainly given me some tools that I needed to put theory into practice.
I can only strongly recommend that you buy this book if you are a cash game player playing below NL400.