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Ask HN: A book about poker for hackers?
3 points by kylebgorman on Dec 11, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments
Startup folks, and hacker folks, often speak the praises of learning to play poker competitively, for fun and profit and social engineering. What should I read to get started?

Brunson will cost you a lot of money now. Sklanskys theory of poker is WAY too tight and conservative (Note you havent seen him on any tv shows playing or in any tournaments for ages). Ed miller for limit is good but you will get so bored playing it. Tournament is fun but you need a gigantic bankroll to play games with people who can play ... The theory of poker evolved a lot since those books and is now about hand ranges based on prior action and stats you have collected (Well it hasn;t but the way it is expressed has and the language to talk about it has developed massively). Brunson, miller and sklansky never get into how you use software to systematically destroy people (because they were live players). The best advice is to visit two plus two forums and start reading there. Its better than any book - and i know i have bought and read a lot. Brunson, sklansky et all (ie 10 years old+) hurt my game. Assuming you intent to be someone who makes money and not gamble. Especially if you are playing at micro stakes (0.1-0.25 and under). the TAG style is good to learn but after 20k hands at 4 tables you will be bored - especially full tabling. Also tournaments vs cash game are entirley different games. In tournaments you have to play sometimes beacuse of the blinds, in cash games the value of deception and lying in wait is much higher. In a tournament due to blinds vs stack size you often have no choice at all - well you do but only 1 correct play. In cash you can be a lot more patient. Also be aware that you need 20k+ hands before you can draw any conclusions about your play (assuming you didn't just go broke - but even then doesn;t mean you played bad)

First step would be to join two plus two forums and start asking questions. There are so many books about poker but two stand out in my mind right now - Skalnsky's Theory of Poker and Ed Miller's series on Limit and No-Limit poker. There are many variations of poker and some of the latest flavors are pretty interesting, but No-Limit Hold'em is the most popular.

Poker can be very lucrative but it is a tough game mentally. I played full time for a year and packed it up. Too much stress, as crazy as that sounds coming from a software programmer. I tracked it all and my database proves I'm a winner but at that time the game was dwindling and it just seemed like a tough future. Online in the US now is pretty brutal. Live is still a cake walk if you know your game.

If you're asking social engineering questions, you're already pretty well equipped for poker.

My picks in this realm were Hold'Em Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth (which seems to be out of fashion now as it dictates a pretty tight game) and also Mike Caro's Poker Tells book is quite good about the most common types of tell behavior you will see at tables and tourneys. It's up to you to determine if they're real or if someone is putting on a show.

I wish I could learn all over again :)

I hardly think "Hold'Em Poker for Advanced Players" is a good book suggestion for someone who says they are just starting out. Mason's books, while excellent for what they are, are far from appropriate for someone wanting to learn the game from the ground up.

Super System by Doyle Brunson is great for both beginners and intermediate players. Really the best way to learn, like most things, is to get out and play.

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