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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.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
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?
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
14 of 16 people found this review helpful
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.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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.