All These Poker Books

Decide to Play Great Poker – Excerpt

Decide to Play Great Poker
by Annie Duke and John Vorhaus

Your Primary Goal

Your Primary Goal is to Reduce Uncertainty

Reducing uncertainty makes all our decisions easier by completing the information picture. Of course, there are two other ways to make your decisions easier. One, you can opt out of the decision-making process entirely by folding. If you fold, you have no more decisions to make during the hand. Two, you can also opt out of the decision-making process by putting all your chips in the pot. Once you’re all-in, you have no more decisions to make. We’ll discuss the all-in play later and when and how to apply that tool. For now, just recognize that of all the tools at your disposal, the all-in tool is something of a blunt instrument. You’ll want to use it sparingly.

So our main goal is to try to reduce our uncertainty and make our decisions easier. At the same time, we also have a secondary goal: to make our opponents’ decisions in relation to us harder. If poker is a decision-making problem and if you can make better decisions than your opponents, you’ll end up with all the money.

How do you make better decisions than your opponents? Not just by being smarter than they are (though presumably you are), but also by making your decisions easy and their decisions tough. How important is this? Is crucial important enough? Because if you think about one given hand of hold ’em, in Vegas let’s say, where four raises per betting round are allowed, that makes five possible decision points on each betting round and four rounds of betting per hand. That sounds like 20 chances for you to make a slightly better decision than your opponents. Trust me, even if you’re only a slightly better decision-maker than your opponents, you’ll end up winning all the money in the world if you have 20 chances per hand to leverage that small decision-making edge. And if you become a much better decision maker than your opponents? The mind boggles.

Viewed through a certain filter, poker is a bidding war. I set a price and you set a price back to me, then I set a price back to you, and every time we have this little pricing war where we each put bids out there, we give ourselves an opportunity to make a good decision or a poor one. Every time we can force our opponents into a bad decision, we win. I want to repeat that, because it’s fundamental to what this book is about.


Notice that nowhere in this discussion have I said that making money is the goal. Why isn’t it? Simple. Making money is not the goal. Money, in this game, is just the fallout from good goal-setting and decision-making. You end up with all the money through your good decisions. Money is merely our score keeper. You could just as well be playing for matchsticks or marbles or dandelion fluff.

It might seem to be a trivial distinction, but it’s not and here’s why: If you set your goal as making money, you tend to play poorly when you’re losing, because you’re focusing mainly on outcomes. However, if you set your goal as being a good decision-maker, it won’t matter whether you’re winning or losing, because all that matters—all that matters—is the quality of your decisions, not the outcomes of those decisions.

Look, you’ll sometimes lose when you get all your money in with pocket aces against your opponent’s pocket fives. You’ll get drawn out on about 18% of the time. But here’s the thing: You won’t care. Why not? Because you made a good decision to get your money in with the best hand and your opponent made a bad decision to call. You won the decision war. So what if the outcome didn’t fall your way? In the long run, it will. And the long run is the only thing that any serious poker player cares about.

Bad beats? Who cares about bad beats? Let me tell you, if I never took a bad beat, I’d be playing in some really terrible games. I want bad beats. I adore bad beats. Every time someone puts a bad beat on me, it means they got their money into the pot with the worst of it. Folks, that’s a bad decision—just the sort of decisions you want your opponents to be making. Bad beats make me happy. Bad beats mean I’m in a good game, that I’ve chosen well. Hooray for bad beats!

So before you go any further in this book, I want you to ask yourself a serious question: Are you prepared to make great decisions and ignore bad outcomes? If you are, you’re ready to take your game to the next level. You’re ready to focus on information and decisions and let the rest of the noise just float away. If you think you’re ready for that, then here we go, because here comes the dealer to toss us some cards …


Killer Poker: Excerpt

Killer Poker: Strategy and Tactics for Winning Poker Play
by John Vorhaus


killer poker 2

I’m a bully. I’m a bastard. I push people around. I frighten them and manipulate them, lie to them, menace them, pressure them, threaten them, mislead them, outthink them, outfox them, run rings around them in every conceivable way. And then when I’m done… (more…)

Killer Poker Online: Excerpt

Killer Poker Online: Crushing the Internet Game
by John Vorhaus

Chapter One: True Facts of Online Poker

killer poker

First fact: Online poker is not the same as online gambling. If you put your money into play at or or any other online gambling site I might make up, one thing is for sure: You will not win. Not in the long run. (more…)

The Killer Poker Hold’em Handbook: Excerpt

The Killer Poker Hold’em Handbook: A Workbook for Winners
by John Vorhaus


killer poker holdem handbook

LPOP stands for “little pairs out of position.” Let’s take a look at them and see how the play of them can be a seductive loser, a leak in our games that we can stand to plug. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll define little pairs as anything below pocket eights, and out of position as anywhere from under the gun to middle position.

When you play LPOP, you’re hoping for an outcome parlay; that is, you need a number of related outcomes to occur. Here’s everything you’re hoping for:

  1. You get sufficient callers.
  2. You face no raises.
  3. You flop a set.
  4. Your hand holds up.

Let’s examine each of these parlay parts in turn. (more…)

Killer Poker Online/2: Excerpt

Killer Poker Online/2: Advanced Strategies for
Crushing the Internet Game
by John Vorhaus

Chapter 16: The Day of Living Derangerously

killer poker online2

DATE: AUGUST 6, 2005

TIME: 3:26 AM




This may be the stupidest idea ever.

Twenty-four hours of internet poker, chronicled all the way in diary form.

Yep, stupidest idea ever.

But it’s one I’ve had in mind since I first started writing this book, and with my deadline just weeks away now I can put off no longer the so-called “day of living derangerously.” So what’s the plan? Just me, Microsoft Word, music, DSL, my choice of online cash games and tournaments, and lots and lots and lots of coffee. When I cooked up this scheme, I thought it would be enlightening, or at least a lark. Now that it is upon me, I think it must be insane. (more…)

Killer Poker No Limit: Excerpt

Killer Poker No Limit! A Winning Strategy for Cash Games and Tournaments
by John Vorhaus

Introduction: Most Fun Wins

killer poker no limit

I’m just sitting here this morning musing on the nature of addiction. I certainly have my share of addictions spread out around me. At my left hand is a mug filled with hot coffee, to which I am addicted. It’s not just any mug, either, but my Comic Toolbox promotional mug, from which I’ve been addicted to drinking ever since I wrote the book of the same name. I know it’s just subjective reality, but I swear the coffee tastes better in that mug. At my right hand is the sudoku from this morning’s paper. Sudoku has lately replaced crosswords as my number one puzzle addiction. And puzzles are a sick addiction for me. I swear I could do life behind bars if I had enough acrostics and scanagrams. My mind hates to be idle. Believe me when I tell you that I can’t even stand to stand in a supermarket checkout line without something to read, even if it’s only a National Enquirer headline. (“Angry Trucker Fires Five Shots Into UFO!”) Among other things, I am addicted to the written word. (more…)

Killer Poker Shorthanded: Excerpt

Killer Poker Shorthanded
by John Vorhaus and Tony Guerrera

Chapter 1: Shorthanded Thinking

killer poker shorthanded

No limit Texas hold’em has been called, “a game of people played with cards.” While we like that appellation, we also find it true that, in fullhanded ring games at least, NLHE is still pretty much a game of cards played with cards. That is, your decisions are based more on assumptions about what hands your foes hold than on assumptions about how they’ll play those hands. To take one well-known number, the odds are about 4:1 against being dealt a hold’em hand containing an ace or a pair. In a full ring game, then, if you don’t have a hand like that, you can figure yourself beaten in two places going in – and figure that your best course of action in most cases is to muck the Hammer (7-2) or the Numpty (6-2) or whatever other egregious piece of cheese you’ve been dealt. (more…)

Poker Night: Excerpt

Poker Night: Winning at Home, at the Casino, and Beyond
by John Vorhaus

Chapter Two: The Gulp Limit

Poker Night

No one has to play home poker, you know. If you live in California, New Jersey, or some twenty other states in the union (or Canada, Australia, Estonia and many other civilized countries), you’re probably within shouting distance of a perfectly safe, perfectly legal public cardroom. Thanks to the internet, you can play online poker against real opponents for real money, in the nude if you like, any time you like. And planes fly to Las Vegas every day. So then there’s the question, “Why?” Why play home poker at all? I can think of a few reasons. (more…)

The Strip Poker Kit: Excerpt

The Strip Poker Kit
by John Vorhaus


strip poker kitThings can get hot and heavy in the middle of a strip poker game — at least they will if you’re doing it right. As the clothes start flying and oft-obscured body parts start seeing light of day, it’s important to remember that, hey, nobody’s perfect. F’rinstance…

— That tattoo of Michael Jackson must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

— Emergency appendectomies will leave a scar.

— Most six-pack abs eventually turn into a keg. (more…)