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The Theory of Poker

Sklansky, David - Finished May 16, 2016

Run-on Sentence Summary

The ultimate classic text explaining the ins and outs of good poker strategy.


I love games, and I have always had a passing interest in poker. I am an avid chess player, and love it due to the fact that it is fundamentally simple with no chance involved: it is your intellect vs your opponent’s. In many ways, poker is the opposite side of the same coin. It is a game of chance, but in the long run the best player will win. Both involve deep strategy, but in poker, instead of positions and calculation, you use probability and deception. Both are easy to learn and impossible to master, and both are infinitely replayable.

I am not ‘versed in the literature’, so I couldn’t say how this stacks up to other books on the subject, but it was a completely absorbing and fascinating read that totally transformed the way I think about the game. I’m even toying with the idea of making a little app that makes learning this content more approachable.

Final Thoughts

As a lover of math and logic, this book was a great primer in how to think about the game concretely, and was entertaining even though I don’t have immediate plans of becoming a serious player.

Favorite Quote

“Your edge comes not from holding better cards, but from play in situations where your opponents would play incorrectly if they had your hand and you had theirs. The total amount of money they cost themselves in incorrect play, assuming you play perfectly, minus the rake, is the amount of money you will win.”