Booking Wins

by , Nov 9, 2007 | 9:06 am

books.jpgIn my last post, I responded to an email that I received from Ralph, a nice young guy who wanted to become a professional poker player. I told him that if he hadn’t read at least 15 books he might not be taking his attempt at playing professional poker seriously enough. On Tilt commented that I must be kidding about 15, and wondered if I was exaggerating to make a point.
The answer is no, I wasn’t kidding. I was dead serious.

I have a few questions for you:

How many books do you think a lawyer reads about law before becoming a professional? How about an accountant? Pick a doctor to perform back surgery on you. Do you want the guy who hasn’t read anything since med school or the guy that has read 15 books in that time? The answer is clear for me. That’s why doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. are required to go to continuing education to keep their license.

Besides, why wouldn’t you read virtually every book that might help you make money in your chosen profession? Why should poker players take their job less seriously than other professions? There are times when I have read a book and picked up some tips and thought what a dumbass. If I had read that book 6 months ago I would have made an extra $20,000 over that time by using that strategy.

One of the most ridiculous excuses I hear for not putting in proper study time is from people who claim to be “running good” and not wanting to screw up their play. How stupid are you? For those who don’t think they are capable of ignoring bad advice, don’t read the following: Chocolate ice cream is the best way to lose weight.

Are all books great? Of course not, but after you read several books you will start to become your own expert. You will be able to decide what is worthwhile and what is BS. You might even develop some of your own strategies that no one else has thought of. Then it becomes real fun.

For instance, I have done that in 2-7 triple draw and Badugi. These games have little if no information available on them. This is why you need to become your own expert. Every once in a while at Fort McDowell casino we would have a game where we could play whatever we wanted. We invented new games, Holdugi, Omadugi, Shenanigans, Scottsdaledugi and some we didn’t even have names for. Which players do you think had the edge when we had to figure out how to play these games?

Think about this. Let’s say that you are at work and you’re an accountant. You and two other accountants are in a meeting making a decision on the best accounting treatment for a particular situation. You say to yourself, “I’ll let these guys figure it out and let me know what they think, cuz I really don’t know.” Who do you think is paid the most in this situation?

Thus my point.

Just because you play poker and you don’t have a boss hovering over you doesn’t mean you should treat your job any less responsibly than a dentist. In fact, education in poker is more directly related to how much you take home that night than any other profession I can think of.

Just today I heard that Kobe shot 100,000 jump shots in the off-season. Here’s a guy who could take a little break from working hard, but doesn’t. I like his chances for having another fantastic year. Oh and Tiger is one of the hardest working guys on the tour. One of my favorite stories about Tiger is that during the British Open, some younger, reasonably well known player was having a brew with a few of the locals after his first round. While he was drinking at the pub he saw Tiger walk by the window wearing shorts and carrying a gym bag to go work out. I like his chances too.

8 Comments to “Booking Wins”

  1. Ed

    Tom, could you give us a list of the top 15 books you would read? Making a wish list for folks that ask me what I want for Christmas. I have about 12-13 books to go before I have read enough so it will be a big list. I think the Harrington books (I feel like a goob because I have yet to read them) are on top of my list but not sure where to go from there.

  2. DanM

    Yes, curious to know if “Oops, I Won Too Much Money” makes that list.

  3. donkey

    yep, Tom counted that one 15 times.

  4. Short-Stacked Shamus

    One of the most ridiculous excuses I hear for not putting in proper study time is from people who claim to be “running good” and not wanting to screw up their play.

    Sort of like the writer who says he doesn’t like to read because he’s afraid it might affect his style.

    This is a great point. Even Phil Ivey says to read the books. (Of course, I imagine some will take his new tip as somehow arguing not to read.)

  5. DanM

    I wonder if Phil Ivey has read “Oops!”

  6. Dr. Arithmetic

    As far as books on No-Limit Hold ‘Em goes, I would think that many of the following would be somewhere in most people’s top 10 (alphabetical order by principal author):

    Super System (1 or 2) – Doyle Brunson, et al
    Championship No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold ‘Em – TJ Cloutier & Tom McEvoy
    Green Book/Blue Book – Phil Gordon
    Harrington on Hold ‘Em; volume’s 1, 2, and 3 – Dan Harrington
    Power Hold ’em Strategy – Daniel Negreanu, et al (If it ever comes out, figures to be a quality read)
    Theory of Poker – David Sklanksy
    No Limit Hold ‘Em: Theory and Practice – David Sklansky & Ed Miller

    In general, anything by Sklanksy/Malmouth/Cloutier/McEvoy is apt to lack any semblance of creativity, but will ensure a quality “nuts and bolts” understanding of basic, advanced knowledge. Anything by Phil Hellmuth might as well just have the pages torn out to be used as bookmarks for one of the books on this list.

  7. Kick yo'_ss

    I’m a newcomer to your site. I can’t wait to start reading these blogs every day now. I do have one question though. Does Dan M. ever say anything meaningful, or is it always just sarcastic, irrelevent bullshit?

  8. Ed Collins

    Wow! That poker book photo looks just like MY collection of poker books!