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Old 03-31-2012, 12:44 PM   #1
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Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

Hi guys. I've been away from the game and 2p2 for about 5 years. Maine just passed law allowing table games, including poker. I've scaped together a few grand and I am going to start playing some low limit nl in these new games. Problem is I've gotten married in the interim. My wife is very smart, but comes from a very conservative backgroung and can not understand how the game is anything but luck. I've tried explaining, but see her eyes roll back when I get into the details. Are there any books or articles out there that are written for the non-player that explains how and why you can have an edge?
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:43 PM   #2
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

treat your poker like a business by dusty schmidt has a short section (1-3 pages) that explains why poker is a game of skill and what separates the winners from the losers.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:11 AM   #3
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

Theres an article called "Poker is Good For You" by David Sklansky and Alan Schoonmaker that has been in the 2+2 magazine in the past. It goes over how certain skills you learn in poker translate into life.

http://www.twoplustwo.com/magazine/i...od-for-you.php
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:10 PM   #4
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

Check out this paper by Steven Levitt (author of Freakonomics). He uses results from the 2010 WSOP to show poker is a game of skill, where the skilled players winrates are comparable to those of baseball pros.

THE ROLE OF SKILL VERSUS LUCK IN POKER:
EVIDENCE FROM THE WORLD SERIES OF POKER

http://www.nber.org/papers/w17023.pdf
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:16 PM   #5
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

I was in a similar situation a while back, trying to explain to my gf that im not blowing away my money. I rem showing her some articles of University of Alberta's poker bot and how they built it.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:35 AM   #6
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

I've found that the easiest way to explain it is to give the simplest example possible. Once you get into "details", any non-poker player will get lost; hell, plenty of poker players will.

I give the example of a coin flip game. We flip a coin - if I win, she gives me $1. If she wins, I give her $2. It's not a trick coin or a con - every flip is fair. As an extra bonus, after every flip, she gets to choose if we flip again or not, and we'll play until she wants to stop.

Would she play the game? If she says yes, then you know she's got the idea - just tell her poker is the same as that, just more complicated.

If she says no, then you're probably out of luck, as she probably has a moral objection to gambling and no amount of rationalization will change things.

What I did (and it may be too late for you) is that before I got married, I told my girlfriend I play poker, and told her I had some money set aside just for that. I told her that I would never take money out of our finances, and if the poker money "ran out" I'd quit. In return, any money I made playing poker got to be used for poker. I might take money out of that bankroll for other stuff, but it was my decision to do so.

The best decision might be to say "Look, I'm going to take X dollars, and use it to play poker. If I lose it, I'm done. If I win, I'm keeping it to play poker with."

IMO the very easiest way to handle the situation is just set up the boundary that poker money, and everything else, are separate. It keeps her hands out of your roll, and it gives her the peace of mind that you aren't going to go on a cold steak and lose the house.
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:38 AM   #7
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

well shes not very smart then
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:30 AM   #8
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

Getting started in hold'em by Miller has a chapter "Poker is gambling".
Read that chapter and the chapter "Gambling concepts" from Small Stakes Hold'em Winning Big with expert play by Miller and Sklansky.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:55 AM   #9
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerstyle View Post
Check out this paper by Steven Levitt (author of Freakonomics). He uses results from the 2010 WSOP to show poker is a game of skill, where the skilled players winrates are comparable to those of baseball pros.

THE ROLE OF SKILL VERSUS LUCK IN POKER:
EVIDENCE FROM THE WORLD SERIES OF POKER
http://pricetheory.uchicago.edu/levi...s/WSOP2011.pdf
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:53 AM   #10
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

I've just had this with my parents...
Explaining the basics of the HUD, showing the graph and encouraging them to sit at a session with me (hoping of course it will be a successful one). This sitting on a session is pretty good for sweat purposes too I've found - took me back to basics and actually helped i a couple of situations where I was missing out parts of the thought process.

To add to the other posts - there are several chapters in Schmidt's 'Business' book that would help. Sklansky 'Poker is good for you' pulls on the ethical strings well too.

GL
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:22 PM   #11
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

I think the poster that mentioned the Ed Miller stuff, especially Poker is gambling is on the right track, but i have to be a little negative here.
The truth is that Poker IS Gambling and although there is skill involved you really have to be extrordinary to make long term money.
Now some would thinkjI mean you have to be extrordinary in the more technical and "Black Arts" of poker..lol... but really you need to have an extrordinary mindset that few of us possess. Good luck with your poker career
I have to say that being married makes it a very sketchy proposition as well. You have to put in the hours, especially in live games. marriages dont last in poker relationships. be smart and think long and hard. once a month or once a week maybe, but anymore and youll have trouble.

Last edited by statictheory; 04-03-2012 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:28 AM   #12
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

Sklansky gave this definition once: If it's possible to lose on purpose, it is a game of skill.

That does not necessarily mean you can beat the game (just like perfect play in blackjack won't win on it's own, unless you also count cards), but you might be able to. I like that definition a lot, since game selection comes up naturally. Seek out players who for some reason (mostly ignorance) have chosen to use losing strategies, then come up with profitable counter-strategies. If their mistakes are big enough, you will beat both them and the rake.

It's easy to come up with poker strategies that lose significantly faster than a randomly chosen strategy:

- Always fold your hand at first opportunity. Playing heads-up you would then fold 100% on the button, and always fold in the big blind when your opponent raises. This is about the worst strategy you can use, and your opponent can win by raising 100% of his hands.

- Call all bets and raises and always take your hand to showdown no matter what. Now your opponent can't bluff, but he can easily extract value with hands that do well against your random hand.

No poker player would do these things, but most players make mistakes that are less extreme variations of these two example strategies. Seek out players whose mistakes are big enough, come up with a profitable counter-strategy, and play against them. Now you can win.

A simple analogy: Rock-paper-scissors against a player who for some reason plays rock every time. Easy to beat, and it's easy to explain why. It's important to understand that we have the luxury of choosing our opponents in poker. We can wait until we find opponents who let us win.

Last edited by olavfo; 04-05-2012 at 04:34 AM.
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:04 AM   #13
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

Quote:
Originally Posted by statictheory View Post
I think the poster that mentioned the Ed Miller stuff, especially Poker is gambling is on the right track, but i have to be a little negative here.
The truth is that Poker IS Gambling and although there is skill involved you really have to be extrordinary to make long term money.
Now some would thinkjI mean you have to be extrordinary in the more technical and "Black Arts" of poker..lol... but really you need to have an extrordinary mindset that few of us possess. Good luck with your poker career
I have to say that being married makes it a very sketchy proposition as well. You have to put in the hours, especially in live games. marriages dont last in poker relationships. be smart and think long and hard. once a month or once a week maybe, but anymore and youll have trouble.
Extraordinary? Well, you have to do the right things over and over again without getting too flustered. I am talking online - live, I agree, would be tough. I'm not sure I could handle how long it takes for variance to work its way through.
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:27 AM   #14
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

Just show them Nanonoko graph on PTR over like 5millions hands consistently moves upwards. its all the proof they need to see is a good players win rate over a large sample size.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:36 AM   #15
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Re: Good book or article to help explain poker as a skill game to an uninitiated family member?

Poker is a skill game. But instead of a good book or article explaining that, try to find a good book or article to convince yourself that poker is a really bad idea as a career choice for 99% of aspiring pros. Your family should not have any issues with you investing a few dollars to play recreationally. They have reason to worry if you want to pursue poker as your career. Give it some thought.

Start here: 90% of players are losers. and 90% of the winners win very little. ROI continues to plummet. Poker sites are harassed, fined and shut down. Governments wanting to generate taxes and extra rake may make the game completely unbeatable in the future.

Rare is the poker pro who has not gone busto multiple times.
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