Books on GIF #15 — 'The Theory of Poker' by David Sklansky


Books on GIF is a weekly review and discussion of random books told with the help of GIFs. We'll cover fiction, nonfiction and the occasional graphic novel.

This Sunday's book is 'The Theory of Poker' by David Sklansky.


Once upon a time not too long ago, I briefly entertained the idea that I could, as a side gig to journalism, become a really good poker player. You know, take some money off some friends, work a room or two in Atlantic City. A little bit of this:

And a little bit of this:

So I picked up David Sklansky's bible of poker, which came highly recommended.* The first thing you learn about poker is that to be successful you have to be half Talented Mr Ripley:

And half Good Will Hunting:**

Poker has so. Much. MATH. The poker face-mind games are fun, but the equations and odds and probabilities — forget it. That basically killed my dream. And it almost made me put the book down for good.*** Still, I plowed through to find the book fascinating, tedious and helpful. You learn really great insights into the game, such as the profound Fundamental Theorem of Poker, how to bluff, 'slowplay,' and bet correctly, and terms the pros use like 'flop the nuts' and 'gut shot straight draw.'

If you can get through the math and the stiff and technical writing, you can really improve your game and totally Jason Bourne your next poker night.

The Theory of Poker: A Professional Poker Player Teaches You How to Think Like One,' by David Sklansky, originally published in 1987 by Two Plus Two Publishing LLC. 301 pages including appendices and index.

My Rating:

What's next? Books on GIF is going to take a short summer break to relax and, of course, to read. Look for the next edition on Sunday, Sept. 11.

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* I actually picked up two poker books at this time, so bet on me reviewing 'Every Hand Revealed' by Gus Hansen at some point, maybe in 2017.
** How do you like this Matt Damon straight flush I got going here?
*** It took me nearly a year to get through this book.