Thursday, September 6, 2007

Book Review: "Why You Lose at Poker" by Fox & Harker

Finally, the book review I've been promising. I say "finally" but I actually finished this in under a month. That is really fast for me. I usually have trouble paying attention to a book for more than a few pages in a sitting. Might be a form of A.D.D. But this book (206 pages) captured my attention so well that I was averaging 10 pages per sitting.

The authors of the book, Russell Fox and Scott T. Harker, got its premise after seeing a book called "Why You Lose at Bridge". A line from the foreword says it all: "Every (poker) book wants to talk about winning; it's time for a book to talk about losing". They lay out the book in chapters addressing each specific problem or leak that they deem important. Sure, they mention the standard issues like bankroll management and playing too many hands. But they also have eye-opening chapters like "Losing Because You're Not Properly Educated" and "Losing Because You're Playing in Tournaments" (arguable, but still containing some very valid points). They have made up characters who illustrate these problems for different types of players. The maniac, the tight, scared player, the careless player, the chaser, the newbie, and more are represented here so that virtually every reader/player can see themselves in the characters and they can see what happens when each mistake is committed. Both limit and no-limit hold'em situations are represented, but these situations are strictly for cash games (except for the one chapter mentioned above). At the end of the book, there are sample hands in which the characters participate. The descriptions and analysis of each are short, very direct, and easily understood. Not like some of the samples in books by Sklansky and Harrington.

I must say that the book is also another "easy read" in that the chapters are not too long and the font & line spacing are pleasant enough. This is important for readers like me who can easily tire of reading textbook- or dictionary-style pages. Also, this book has had such an impact on my game that I can see myself referring back to it for many years to come. With the help of this book, I was able to identify a few problems in my game and begin to fix them rather quickly. Out of the 10 or so poker books I've read, this one will definitely be the one I revisit the most. I can solidly recommend it to anyone who thinks their game is less than perfect, which would be almost everyone. It would be especially useful for losing players who haven't a clue what their leak or problem is, but are eager to find it.. This book WILL help them find it. This book is available in the PokerStars FPP store for a very reasonable price, so ditch the cap or stress ball notions if you want to get your game together.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review Stick, very helpful.