Saturday, December 30, 2006

Two New Books

I just got back from a trip home for Christmas. I got two new poker books that I'm pretty excited about, but it may be a while before I get to them. One is the new No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller. The books in the Harrington series are the only ones I know of other than this one that focus on no-limit, and those are meant to be for tournament play. As Sklansky says in the introduction, no-limit games are rather fluid, in the sense that there are very few simple, generalizable rules. He says he's resisted writing a no-limit book because, unlike his other books, he doesn't think that most people will be able to just read this one and then go out and be a winning player. Other, unteachable skills play too large a role. Since no-limit is so hugely popular, this had been a rather glaring hole in the Two-Plus-Two library.

The other book is The Psychology of Poker by Alan Schoonmaker, with Sklansky listed as a "Strategy Consultant.". I minored in psychology in college, focusing mainly on decision theory. I think I'll have a lot to say about this book, but it remains to be seen whether I'll agree with Schoonmaker's analysis and whether his ideas will add much to my game. Schoonmaker has a Ph.D. from Berkeley in industrial psychology (not sure what that is), so he at least has an impressive resume and should have a much larger knowledge base than I do. His Bio says he likes playing low limit games, where the playing styles are less homogeneous. Also, players tend to be more willing to reveal their thoughts and emotions in these games. The hope is that this has allowed him to learn more about player's motivations.

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