I was very impressed with Annie Duke's "Decide to play great poker."
I have read upward of 20+ books on poker, mostly before the online teaching sites came out. For my money the best book I ever read on poker was, and still is, Sklanski's "The theory of Poker." Mostly, because Sklanki is not trying to tell you how to play each hand, but rather how to think your way through a hand. Annie is very similar in her approach, and thus I would rank it right up their with "Theory." This is a very accesable book for those with a poker background, and Annie writes well in a very conversational tone.
I would liken Annie's book to a decision model that I used to put together to organize masses of information in law school to prepare for a test, or a logic flow chart a programmer may put together to understand a piece of software she is working on. Annie tries to analyze many situations you may encounter such as Top pair in position with the lead, vs. one oppenent. She discusses what you do, and more importantly WHY? The answer to the why question is so important, because this allows you to adjust her advice to the way your particular oppent(s) is playing under the situation she has analyzed in the book.
For example, if she gives you some advice to raise with top pair on a bord of A77, because someone who has three of a kind is not likely to bet out in fear of losing a customer, if you know your opponent is caplable of betting out with the set you may decide to play differently. Just an example of the cocept, not of her particluar advice.
Her style of talking about poker is her biggest strength. She speaks about general situations you will face, and that makes it easier to apply than the replay of a specific hand you get in ohter books.
Example: she might say you have either top two pair or a set on a board like A92 three different suits, and then go through how you would play from different spots against different player(s). As opposed to other authors who give you A9 and say a flop specifically Ac 2h 9s. Then you extract the general message and try to determine what kind of other hands that may apply to. Both styles have hteir merrits, but it is an interesting teaching style.
The best things I found in the book, and their are many good things to choose from, are her discussion about suited cards (over rated), and how she thinks trough many situations, and demonstrates that often the best play is the same whether your oppopnent has the high end of his/her range or the low end, making your decision much easier than you would have thought. Her discussion of starting hands, and pre flop raise sizing are close seconds to the discussions above.
If I had one complaint, and it really isn't much of one, it would be more Annie, give me more similar analysis of more situations. Though poker is a game with infinint situations, many similar situatins repeat themselves over and over again. She covers a great deal of those common situtations, but I would love to see more explained in future work. (Are you listenining Annie?)
As forthe audio experience vs book form, I recomend hte audio for this work, because it makes you work more yourself. You have to listen closely, and put yourself at th table, in the position and witht he holding type she describes. This mirrors the the type of concetration it tkes tothink at the table.
As I tweeted Annie a few weeks ago, the book changed the questions I ask myself when I am in a hand.
Nollan does an incredible job telling Stu's story. He bounces back and forth, between autobigraphical material and 3rd person biography in a smooth fluent manner that let's us see the world through stuie's eyes, and stu through his friends eyes at the same time.
The stories are endless about Ungar's mental talents at cards, juxaposed with his personal demons that took his life to soon, just a few years before the big boom in poker.The story is brilliant in its scope, taking Stu from birth, to the hights of a 2 time champ, to the depths of addiction, and back to a third title, and back again.
The stories of his brilliant talent at all card games, especially ginn and poker, from the earlest age, are told and performed in rich detail that make you feel as though you were there at the felt yourself.
If you have ever herd the stories of Stu while watching poker, or in a poker room in vegas or la, then you can't miss this book. Or, if you just love a good biography about someone who is the best at his field, then it is a can't miss as well.The story is read, wonderfully unabridged with a multitude of emotion, despite a large number of difficult voices to recreate.
The work is ingaging, eluminating and makes the most compelling figure in poker history that much more compelling.... ecpecially in the audio form, that truely brings to life the incedible ups and downs of stu in a manner that the writen word just can't match.
Nolan has a lot of audio of stu not long before his death, I truely hope there is enough interest in his work to make it worth while for him to edit those tapes in some form for publishing... he's as brilliant at story telling as Stuie was at cards.bisognor
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