Friday, November 6, 2009

Pre- and post- game process - Part II

I'm finding that more and more, in order to continue being a successful poker player, one needs to maintain discipline at all times. Discipline includes more than just playing your "A" game at the table, but putting in time after the game is over to review your hand histories, as well as education and researching. The following is part two of a series of four posts that I will be posting dealing with my pre- and post- game process.


Another part of my process is reading books. I will be honest - reading poker books is about as dry as life can get. The only thing worse than technical poker reading is reading science books like calculus or biology. As an engineer, I also think that ready interface definition documents (IDDs) or technical documentation on protocols is equally boring. However, it is a critical element to your game, and just like taking medicine, you need to read and educate yourself. There are a few books that I've read over the past years that are re-readable and worthwhile... Professional No-Limit Hold 'em: Volume I, Doyle Brunson's Super System: A Course in Power Poker, Doyle Brunson's Super System 2: A Course in Power Poker, and Small Stakes No-Limit Hold'em to name a few..., but by-and-large, I think you are missing a big portion of your overall strategy if you are not reading poker books.

I think there is a lot to be gained by reading books. There is plenty of strategic advice to be gleaned from books, where online content may fall short. In addition, there are plenty of free online books such as Ryan Fee's 6 Max NL Strategy Guide (his website is down, so this link is the closest I could find to the original version of the book). The only caution I take with book reading is, for the most part, books provide good overall strategy, but they can become dated with time - poker is a game that is continually changing its look at the table. Nowadays, people will 3 bet lighter, whereas in certain books, it is suggested that a 3 bet means only AA, KK or AK. Only recent editions of books will accommodate modern times. Finally, books can help supplement the lack of face-to-face playing time. A perfect example of such a book is the timeless Caro's Book of Poker Tells. At any rate, offline book reading accounts for perhaps 10% of my non-playing time.

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