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Decide to Play Great Poker: A Strategy Guide to No-limit Texas Hold Em | [Annie Duke, John Vorhaus]

Decide to Play Great Poker: A Strategy Guide to No-limit Texas Hold Em

Ask the great poker players how they'd play a hand and the answer is always "it depends." That answer can be infuriating. But guess what? It really does depend. The key to becoming a great poker player is in knowing what it depends on. At last there's a book that gives you that answer. Poker is a game of so many variables; table position, flop texture, the number of players in a hand, the personalities of your opponents, and so much more.
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Publisher's Summary

Ask the great poker players how they'd play a hand and the answer is always "it depends." That answer can be infuriating. But guess what? It really does depend. The key to becoming a great poker player is in knowing what it depends on. At last there's a book that gives you that answer. Poker is a game of so many variables; table position, flop texture, the number of players in a hand, the personalities of your opponents, and so much more. Decide to Play Great Poker teaches you how to identify and analyze those variables, interchange them within basic game-situation templates, and become knowledgeable, comfortable, and confident in any poker situation. Instead of just dictating a bunch of rules that work only some of the time, this book teaches you to become a great poker thinker and strategist so that you can expertly navigate any poker challenge you encounter. Most players think the goal of poker is to make money. They're wrong! The goal of poker is to make good decisions. Money is simply the way you measure how well you're meeting that objective. So if you're ready to start making world-class decisions at the poker table - and to reap the substantial rewards that those decisions will yield - all you have to do is decide: Decide to Play Great Poker now. You'll never be vexed by "it depends" again.

©2011 Annie Duke and John Vorhaus (P)2011 Spoken Word Inc

What the Critics Say

"Annie is the rare player who not only plays well but is also an amazing teacher. She and John Vorhaus have closed an important gap in poker lit by writing about the art of poker, not the mechanics. This is an essential book for anyone who wants to take their game to its peak." (Erik Seidel, All-time tournament-poker money leader)

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (112 )
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2 star
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Story
4.1 (99 )
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  •  
    Amazon Customer FULLERTON, CA, United States 09-25-12
    Amazon Customer FULLERTON, CA, United States 09-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Make the Decision to Buy this Audio Book"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOEL SPARKS, NV, United States 03-03-12
    JOEL SPARKS, NV, United States 03-03-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So much better than expected."
    If you could sum up Decide to Play Great Poker in three words, what would they be?

    Substance, Execution, Non-filler.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Not a story.


    What does John Vorhaus and Annie Duke bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    N/A


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Made me no longer hate Annie.


    Any additional comments?

    I bought this audio book, not expecting much. Most, if not all of the poker literature by famous poker players is junk, with lots of fluff and self adulation. Being the poker junkie I am, I went ahead and downloaded it. Right from the start Annie jumps into discussing theory and concepts of the game in a way that shows what can only be the mind of not only a good player but a great teacher who's sole purpose was to put out a great product. And it is. A lot of

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. C. Davidson Atlanta, GA 02-04-14
    W. C. Davidson Atlanta, GA 02-04-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Conceptual Poker! Not rules for poker!! Awesome!"
    Where does Decide to Play Great Poker rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I can't really compare them. This is a strategy book whereas my others are for pure enjoyment of the story.


    Did Annie Duke do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    There really are no characters in this book, but I will say that I believe Annie's narration of this book was really too fast. I had to rewind it constantly to allow the concepts of what was being said to really "soak in." She obviously knows this stuff so well that she doesn't have to think about it, but for those of us listening to this book we need it a little slower. Otherwise we probably wouldn't have purchased the book in the first place. Now, don't get me wrong, I still loved this book and it was worth all the rewinding I had to do. But, just wish she had slowed down.


    Any additional comments?

    Good Good Book. If you are interested in thinking about how to play No-Limit Hold'em on a deeper conceptual level, this is a great book to use.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. SHAENAN West Hollywood, CA United States 10-07-13
    G. SHAENAN West Hollywood, CA United States 10-07-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Bunch of regurgitated Sklansky"
    What would have made Decide to Play Great Poker better?

    Annie's voice is unbearably annoying. That alone makes this book a pain to listen to. Information is not original, generalized and nothing I did not know before...


    Would you recommend Decide to Play Great Poker to your friends? Why or why not?

    No, get Sklansky, and think on your own


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Annie Duke?

    ANYONE, Elmo from Sesame Street would have been better. Miley Cyrus with her alcoholic voice, anyone.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Decide to Play Great Poker?

    The first 3 chapters written by Captain Obvious.


    Any additional comments?

    No, I am tired already

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pat donegal, Ireland 05-18-13
    pat donegal, Ireland 05-18-13 Member Since 2012
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    "very good"
    Would you listen to Decide to Play Great Poker again? Why?

    annie duke was good,


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    annie duke,


    Which scene was your favorite?

    poker education very good,


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    enjoyed it ,


    Any additional comments?

    would listen to it more than 3-4 times,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Forehand Avondale, PA USA 04-20-13
    M. Forehand Avondale, PA USA 04-20-13

    Spike Forehand

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    "It finally is sticking!!! THANKS!!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Decide to Play Great Poker the most enjoyable?

    I had read this book before, reading bits and pieces here and there. I thought I was applying it in my play, but I was doing it totally incorrectly and - more importantly - inconsistently. However, I knew enough to recognize that there was something there that was missing from my game that I hadn't learned from the many other poker books I've read.

    So - in order to try to really learn it, I downloaded the audiobook version and started listening every day during my commute. I am now into my third listen, and I'm still learning and getting better. My tournament results have sky-rocketed, helped no doubt by a healthy dose of winning races in key spots. This audiobook has paid for itself about 400-500X by my estimate.

    However - and WAY more importantly - I am 1000% more comfortable at the table and positive of the moves I make. This confidence is contagious and helps me to project a much more scary table image and get way more respect. No longer am I picked on as the weak-tight fish just hoping to make it into the money. I recently won my first tourney in the local card room, and one of the players in the final 3 told me "I had a feeling early on that it would be me and you in it to the end."

    This book had not only made me a better poker player, but it's made me a happier poker player. Now that is a good poker book.


    What other book might you compare Decide to Play Great Poker to and why?

    The only other book that I have found is key for a very beginning player is Dan Harrington's series.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The advice on pre-flop raising and not playing suited connectors gave me the most immediate improvement.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No - but I do hear Annie's voice in my head when I'm at the table some times. I guess that's kinda weird.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sci Guy Las Vegas, NV USA 02-04-13
    Sci Guy Las Vegas, NV USA 02-04-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Very standard poker advice."

    This book could have dove into a few deeper topics about poker, but it stayed true to more basic concepts of the game. The book offered inspiration while refreshing some of those concepts, and that is probably where the book is most valuable. If you're a poker player who already knows a bit about the mechanics of your game, you would like this book to give you a refresher and maybe a boost in confidence about what decisions you make with poker. All in all, it's great game strategy review for poker players, as well as a refresher to thinking about the game.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin chico, CA, United States 10-18-12
    Kevin chico, CA, United States 10-18-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "THE REAL DEAL"
    Where does Decide to Play Great Poker rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    THE BEST POKER BOOK OUT THERE - AMAZING INSIGHT


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    IT MADE ME CONFIDENT IN MY LINES OF PLAY - AND I NO LONGER CRY WHEN I LOSE - FOR REASONS GIVEN IN THIS BOOK.


    Any additional comments?

    I WAS AN AVERAGE EXPERIENCED PLAYER BEFORE READING THIS BOOK, LOSING MORE THAN I WAS WINNING,STRUGGLING TO RISE ABOVE THE COMPETITION, BUT HOPEFUL MY "LUCK" WOULD CHANGE. AFTER LISTENING TO THIS AUDIOBOOK MY BANKROLL HAS RISEN 10 FOLD AND I AM A MUCH BETTER PLAYER,IT PATCHED UP MANY HOLES IN MY GAME. YOU WILL NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE AND LISTEN MANY, MANY TIMES TO FULLY GRASP THIS WINNING STYLE OF POKER, BUT IT WORKS AND MY HAT'S OFF TO ANNIE DUKE, VERY IMPRESSIVE! ( 78suited not so attractive anymore...lol)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack Wayne, NJ, United States 10-03-12
    Jack Wayne, NJ, United States 10-03-12
    ratings
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    "Awsome for poker players of any level"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Decide to Play Great Poker to be better than the print version?

    Do not have print version, but Annie's narration is great, so much more real


    What did you like best about this story?

    Makes you understand the game, not just memorizing things


    What does Annie Duke bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Annie makes you feel like she is talking to you and makes things feel real


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Hey, it is a poker book, not romance novel


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommend it for players wanting to improve

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donnie United States 09-04-12
    Donnie United States 09-04-12 Member Since 2010

    NoDeuces

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Aamazing"
    What did you love best about Decide to Play Great Poker?

    Wisdom comes out of no where and will really have you rethinking some if not all of your play.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 15 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • jeffrey
    United Kingdom
    2/9/13
    Overall
    "Good listen, but know your poker terms first"

    As I always say, a book read by the author is worth getting. This is no exception. Passionate about the subject, Annie offers help to those who want to know more about how top poker players think. Only problem was that she used too many poker terms without explaining what they meant that made the story hard to follow. I did come a way with a few "nuggets" I continue to use.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nic Castle
    UK
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "I am sure some people will find it useful"

    I am sure some people will find it useful. The narrator is annoying and the information is common sense. There are better books to spend your money on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • AD
    Cambridge United Kingdom
    5/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Surprise! One of the best poker books I have read"

    I have been playing poker live and online for a few years and I have read all the basics (Harrington, Gordon, Sklansky). I want to improve, stop making mistakes and better understand the game. I have been looking for more contemporary books that acknowledge the way the game has changed, are not just retrofit strategy or ego trips and move on from the basics e.g. Gordon Gold which I recommend if you want to get ranges. This book is everything Duhamel's book is not, intelligent, practical, unemotional, well reasoned and well structured. It has already helped my game although Ms Duke is right that some of the techniques feel a little odd at times and you often want to revert to your old game - resist! For those tennis players it is like a coach trying to change your serve from something that usually gets the ball in but doesn't win many points, to a real weapon that wins you games. As soon as the coach isn't there you slip back into old ways, especially when under pressure. Use the practice drills at the end of the book and stick at it.

    As a Brit, Ms Duke's voice and style are a little irritating at first but get through that and you will start to enjoy the conversational approach and occasional suspect language.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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