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
"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)
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.
Substance, Execution, Non-filler.
Not a story.
Made me no longer hate Annie.
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
I am inspired by the beautiful women, girls, and men who I’ve met over the years that lack the self-esteem to recognize their own beauty.
There are some great ideas here. I have a different view of why some things work at the table.
Like most poker books, this is a book that needs illustrations and so does not work in audio book format. For 20 min I can concentrate and it is interesting but after a while it is just a narrator naming off cards. "Let say you hold ace queen suited and the flop comes 7 of hearts 3 of diamonds and king of hearts". . . blah blah blah for many many hours. Really can everyone else focus that well that they can see all this in their head in hour two of this book? I just fall asleep.
Really your kidding right?
Buy the paper version.
I can't really compare them. This is a strategy book whereas my others are for pure enjoyment of the story.
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.
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.
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...
No, get Sklansky, and think on your own
ANYONE, Elmo from Sesame Street would have been better. Miley Cyrus with her alcoholic voice, anyone.
The first 3 chapters written by Captain Obvious.
No, I am tired already
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.
The only other book that I have found is key for a very beginning player is Dan Harrington's series.
The advice on pre-flop raising and not playing suited connectors gave me the most immediate improvement.
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.
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.
Annie Duke explains her thinking and what she thinks her opponents might be thinking about in a wide range of situations.
Harrington's books, for the thoughts behind the play
What I loved best about this audiobook is Annie's reading of it. I could get the same information (all fantastic) from reading the print version, but Annie does an excellent job of narrating, and she's funny too.
What I really like about this book is that Annie Duke makes it clear that, while there are definitely guidelines that give you an advantage over your opponents, there is no "always do this" advice; From the first few lines, she makes it clear that poker is extremely context-dependent, so that you will likely play the same two cards differently depending on position, pot size, and your opponents. Her philosophy is rooted strongly in game theory, and perhaps because I know a bit of game theory from an animal behavior perspective, her ideas made complete sense to me. I am still a very novice poker player, but I feel that not only was this book easy to comprehend, it was also easy for me to try to put into practice much of her advice. And in case you are wondering, here are the first few lines of the first chapter, with the section titled: "The First Rule is There are No Rules." "Study the following chart of starting hands very carefully. Did you notice that there's no chart? Good." Rather than focusing on what exactly to do in specific situations, Annie tries to prepare you to know how to make good decisions, regardless of the situation, and she does it with humor and intelligence.
The most laugh-out-loud moment in the book... The scenario: you have AQo, multiway pot, in position, you bet pre-flop from the button, get four callers, and a bet on the flop gets you to three players when the turn card comes out, and player A bets on the turn... "With a hand like AQ on an A-9-3-x board, you're basically hoping that player A has lost his mind and bet into two players on the turn with AJ or worse and that B has somehow managed to call with AJ or worse. That seems unlikely at best. Obviously, the looser (or drunker) the players, the greater likelihood that this mass insanity has taken place."Annie's reading of this is hilarious and perfect. Another favorite part, that ends with a line that rings in my head when facing low suited connectors (in her example, the hand is 8(spades) 7(spades)... "The first thing I have to ask you is why are you playing this hand? If you're in early position and your answer is anything other than, "Because it's suited," you're kind of lying, because you know that if you held 8(spades) 7(hearts), you'd fold it like an origami swan, so that's that. Okay, maybe everyone folded to you in the cutoff and you raised. I'm down with that, totally. You could have also been forced into the hand in the blinds. I get that too. But anything other than those, especially from early position, and you're playing the hand because it's suited! Stop that! Now!"
Be prepared to listen to this book several times, and to rewind and listen to parts over again. It is certainly a lot of information to digest in audio format, with a constant barrage of hand and action descriptions. I have also found that listening, trying to implement advice, and then listening again (and again), allows me to have a greater understanding and appreciation for what Annie is saying in any given situation. Overall, a very enjoyably listen!
So much to absorb, so much to comprehend. If you like advanced concepts broken down in to bite size meals then this is the book for you. just be prepared to have to read it multiple times to take it all in.
"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.
"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.
"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.
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