01/05/2005

If you find any here, let me know and I'll make sure it doesn't happen again. One of the downsides of the huge growth of poker is the endless, often free advice now readily available for aspiring poker players. As if it isn't bad enough that there are thousands of self appointed experts in the field of poker, now they all want to tell you how to play. Only an expert would have a chance of deciding which advice was worth listening to and which was hot air.

Experience is the best teacher, and learning something as a result always has more impact than reading about someone elses discovery. However, alot of theory in poker is counterintuitive, and not easy to grasp without some help.The problem is, as a novice, or as someone who wants to learn more, where do you go? You may feel that the more renowned and successful players are the ones to follow, and look for books by people in this category.Unfortunately, the ability to play poker and win, doesn't allways include the ability to write about it, or explain it clearly for others.In some cases even the players themselves do not fully understand what they are doing.However, long term success will usually be enough of an endorsement to guarantee the author has some information of value.Most winning poker players are reluctant to explain their success in detail as this seems a self defeating excercise which only informs the competition. But fortunately for the novice, there are always some, whose egos can only be fed by letting everyone in the world (or the 85 people who buy their book) know just how smart they are.

Some of these authors claim their purpose is to help the spread of the game by explaining the finer points. This was mostly pre internet, as that ridiculous excuse no longer holds water. The spread of the game? If few play it and fewer understand it, who the hell is going to buy the book they have just written to propagate poker? Mostly they were propagating their own "knowledge" and insight in case you were unaware of their superior intellect.

Doyle Brunson whose Super System is a classic in the field of Poker Manuals, said he bitterly regretted writing the book as he made it more difficult to win after having explained his system to everyone else. Allowing for the fact that it is one of the greatest books on modern day poker, it is easy to see that the original motivation of the author was not financial gain, but a wider recognition. I believe he has written a sequel, or an update to the book, so he obviously forgot his initial regret and allowed his ego to get the better of him again.Still, he probably doesnt care what I think as he has already got the lot. Admittedly things have changed. The argument for a financial motive is now almost valid due to the expansion of the target audience. Hundreds of thousands playing poker worldwide on line. Live poker feeding on this huge growth, with endless tournaments in Europe and the US. And with the growth of poker on TV, the potential audience for books is expanding geometrically.

There is a valid argument which says you should read everything written by others about poker.The truth is that in most texts you will find something of value which will more than justify the cost of the book.You may have to put up with alot of bullshit along the way, but it should prove worthwhile for you. You just need to exercise plenty of discrimination and cynicism, because eventually you are the one who needs to decide what advice to ignore and what advice to follow. You will find contradictory advice if you read enough,hopefully informing you that there is no definitive way of playing. You need to incorporate any important concepts and strategies you discover into a style of your own that you are comfortable with. Improving your game is hard work which requires your application, and understanding of the finer points involved.If you can get a little help or be pointed in the right direction by reading someone elses advice, it must be worth while, just don't expect them to provide the answers you are seeking.If they provide the right questions for you to ask, that is enough to help you improve your game.