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Old 02-02-2009, 11:26 PM   #26
Kentucky Buddha
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

To be concerned so much with "how" is to miss the point of becoming a better player, even on a lower level, in a way I think. Adjusting and adapting is the key part of the task. There is no optimal strategy for poker. There isn't even an optimal strategy for a given table. It depends on what has happened and how the people are at the moment emotionally. To accept that part whole-heartedly is to take a small step toward being as good a player as one can be. Seeing people like Death Donkey and Krantz who have taken these concepts and recognizing that it offered something to them should tell one something I think.
Basic strat is fundamental and must be studied with utmost seriousness. Period. Full Stop. To take even the first steps beyond ABC poker and to better manage your life as well as your game this book is very helpful indeed. As with anything else, you will only absorb as much of that sort of thing as you are willing to though. I think distinguishing what part of the game and meta-game is more important is like discussing which leg of a table is most important.

All the best.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:30 AM   #27
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

Mason doesn't think that the advice will help a beginning or intermediate player achieve better results because boosting someone's confidence without supplying solid strategic advice, or at least advising where it can be obtained, is a recipe for failure.

I completely disagree. Tommy's book is a different kind of book, one that treats a different aspect of playing poker than the typical "how to" book. It's not a beginner's guide to playing better poker. It's a better player's guide to being a better person, which will make you a better player as well. Mason doesn't get this, never has. Mason is a poor writer, and, IMHO, a poor reader. So it's not surprising that he didn't care for the book.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:48 AM   #28
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

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Originally Posted by Cursed Diamonds View Post
I think a lot of the book is the reader finding out what the "hows" are. Tommy shows a lot of different angles on how to look at and think about things. He provides a bit of a framework for you to figure out your own answers.
I completely agree with this. Much of this book is reading between the lines. It immediately helped my game, and it continues to refresh itself when I go back to it. I can understand how this approach might not work for some people. However, I also believe that those who rant about not being able to apply a lot of Tommy's advice without specific examples have an inherent laziness that will also prevent their poker game from progressing.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:01 AM   #29
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

'your worst poker enemy' is one of the few poker books ive bought and couldnt even read. i couldnt put EoP down. easily a top 5 desert island poker book for me (and i definitely have more than five 2+2 books).
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:12 AM   #30
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

in my opinion, few of the ideas in elements of poker were new.
most have been written in earlier books by other authors.
the book badly needs an editor.
the ideas are presented over and over - redundant would be a mild word.
i don't think mason cares if it is a 2+2 book or not.
i think he honestly didn't like the book or think it contributed much to poker literature. i agree with him.
however, based on the posts some readers feel they got a lot from the book. that is terrific for them.
their enjoyment has nothing to do with mason's review being incorrect or correct. he is entitled to his opinion. that is all it is - one man's opinion. i can understand disagreeing, i don't understand the anger.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:53 AM   #31
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

You can have the poker knowledge of Sklansky and Mason combined (fwiw), and lose massively if you can't play with emotional control, patience, discipline, focus, and fearlessness.

If Mason doesn't even understand the concept that people can lose it emotionally, lose patience, be undisciplined, become unfocused, play fearfully (for example, maybe he's a robot), then he would likely have no value for this book.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:24 AM   #32
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

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Originally Posted by jackaaron View Post
You can have the poker knowledge of Sklansky and Mason combined
In a NL game I´d rather abstain. Mason and No Limit poker are like a cat and boiling water. Dave would be ante´d into oblivion musing over the value of limp reraising a squeezer after a shortstacker has called all-in, his mind ocasionally wondering off to a convo he tried to strike up with a firmly boobed 19 y/o waitress.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:31 AM   #33
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

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If Mason doesn't even understand the concept that people can lose it emotionally, lose patience, be undisciplined, become unfocused, play fearfully (for example, maybe he's a robot), then he would likely have no value for this book.
He never wrote any of the above.

Additionally, he has published 2 books that I am aware of that deal with the emotions surrounding poker, and emotional discipline necessary at the table. Other books he has been involved with also mention the subjects you listed. Mason does need me to defend him. However, I don't understand how people can so misunderstand what he wrote.

He didn't like the book, based on his publishing and writing history I am certain he thinks the issues you brought up are important.
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:33 PM   #34
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

for whatever reason, tommy gave me advice on how not to tilt that somehow stuck. other psych books have not done that for me.

everyone tilts. it's just a matter of how often and to what degree. most people are not honest with themselves about how often or to what degree.

tommy's book has had a bigger impact on my results that any poker book i've read in a long time. and it's entertaining. but your milage may vary. obv mason did not get much from it, which is fair enough.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:45 PM   #35
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

Since all of us have agreed that if you get even one concept out of a book, it was worth the price. Anyone say there is nothing in EOP that made you thirty bucks?

I don't like olives. Hate 'em. I hate the way they taste. Does that mean my taste should be everyone's? Yes, and that's what most other people think, too.

Mason's books have made me a poker player, but none of them have helped make me a better person.

I am, however, unabashedly biased.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:41 PM   #36
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

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Originally Posted by Cactus Jack View Post
Since all of us have agreed that if you get even one concept out of a book, it was worth the price. Anyone say there is nothing in EOP that made you thirty bucks?
If a book has enough inaccurate information in it, even if it has a couple of things of value, it should cost you all your money if you follow it. The idea that a book is worth the money if you can get one thing out of it can only apply to an already expert type player since he will also be able to filter out all the inaccurate advice.

MM
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:29 PM   #37
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

-Mason doesn't think that the advice will help a beginning or intermediate player achieve better results because boosting someone's confidence without supplying solid strategic advice, or at least advising where it can be obtained, is a recipe for failure. -

im not sure who is saying this here, Mason or Andy, but the idea of boosting somenes confidence without a concurrent boost in strategy causing failure... i think is extremely wrong. the whole idea of having confidence in the first place, of believing in myself that if i am not winning now then i will in the future - is what allows people to spend their time studying poker hands and not whining about bad beats.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:35 PM   #38
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

For what it's worth, I thought Tommys book sucked. I think a lot of the great reviews were because of the "Wow, Tommy Angelo has written a book!" factor, not the actual content which I thought was a pile of crap. It's like people want to like this book because Tommy wrote it.

In this case, I think Mason has been totally spot on with his review, in fact, mine would have been even more scathing.

For anyone actually interested in the mental side of poker, the only book worth reading IMO is the Hilger/ Taylor one. I think it was called "The Poker Mindset."

In case anyone thinks I'm trying to ride Masons coat tails on this one, you can easily look back through my posts where I've said all along that I think Tommys book sucked. I would never recommend it to anyone whose poker game I was trying to help with. It's basically a waste of time and the effort required to read it could be better utilized on more valuable poker educational material.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:33 AM   #39
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

lets do the timewarp, yeah! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6qPb7v9wxA
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:33 AM   #40
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

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Originally Posted by Cactus Jack View Post
Since all of us have agreed that if you get even one concept out of a book, it was worth the price. .
This may seem trivial but it was big for me.

I am way more aware of my breathing at the tables now. As it turns out I was holding my breathe a lot and that was causing me to make bad decisions (not to mention the tell) so that alone was well worth the cost of the book.

We all do stupid things when we play and sometimes it just takes a seasoned pro that's "been there done that" to point them out to us.

Can't even guess at the dollar value of something like this but my game has improved and I feel much better at the end of a session (not beat up).
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:16 PM   #41
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

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Originally Posted by Kentucky Buddha View Post
much of the stuff that seems like crunchy hippie crap is actually true. It doesn't just make you a better player, it makes you a happier person as well.
LOL, I might have to check it out.

Anybody that hates it want to sell me their copy cheap? Or maybe trade for a minty copy of 'The Poker Mindset'?

Last edited by dave88; 02-04-2009 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:19 PM   #42
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

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If a book has enough inaccurate information in it...
What parts of Elements of Poker would you define as inaccurate (wrong?!)?
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:11 PM   #43
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

Really liked this book when i read it. Mostly cause it doesnt have the usual blah blah blah in it and i read most pokerbooks out there. There are some things in there where i thought they have long term value for me. I agree with MM tho that some parts are really not worth reading or maybe are not explained deeply enough to have any value. Overall i think its a pretty good book if you have a downswing and want to regain some confidence and resettle your mind and decitionmaking.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:21 PM   #44
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

dave88,

I recommend hunkering down and just paying for it. Two main reasons.

1) I find that when you read a book for the first time, especially something like a poker book (or any other 'self help' book) you get more out of it when it is brand new. Something psychological where when you rip open the box and peel the brand new stiff pages, you appreciate the content more. You realize you are endeavoring in a place unknown with high expectations and this alone deserves the respect. Your mind will be more receptive to things you anticipate and get excited about. Making the effort to get this book will cause excitement and keep the content fresh. Not to mention, presentation plays a major role in our expectations. Think about ordering a nice steakin a restaurant. It's on nice china and garnished perfectly. All amenities are at your disposal. Now get that same steak on a paper plate with no garnish and no amenities. It probably isn't quite the same, is it...

2) This is a book you will want to reopen time and time again. Sometimes for the schooling and lessons taught and other times just for the anecdotal medley he offers in his writing style. Tommy has a unique way of making sense of ideas and concepts (not fundamentals but rather the 'external variables') that are often overlooked or under estimated.

Poker is not something that can be completely taught through a book to you. Sure their is plenty of literature that offers solid analysis of fundamentals and technical aspects of poker. Those books can only take you so far. Then there are plenty of psychology books that give insight into players motives, goals, tells, and so on. Again, can only take you so far. Tommy often touches on the variables that are so small in the grand scheme of things that they are often never even spoken about. He brings attention to detail. He speaks of the aspects not often thought of in connection with being a good player yet when you read these thoughts you instantly can see how they relate to the game and improvement.

This book will not spoon feed anyone however (nor can poker be). It makes you work hard on your game by leaving you thinking about everything he writes. He has a knack for not putting closure on any concepts or ideas he talks about so as to keep you thinking about them and trying to expound on them within your own game/life. He will be the first to tell you that not only does he not have all the answers but he also doesn't even have all the questions. What he does have is a very long and successful career playing poker all over the country with numerous stories and experiences. This can not be refuted nor denied and shouldn't be under appreciated.
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:41 PM   #45
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

jlocdog,

Excellent post. Given the discussion prompted by Mason's review I decided it was time for my second reading of EoP. Your last paragraph is an excellent summarization of why I like the book.

I think his style and way of describing things are different and unique. Some of them really clicked for me. For example in the section on position (a fundamental that I believe I already understand well) I thought his analogy of folding in early position being the equivalent of a baseball or football team being able to make the decision to not play some of their away games was very good. Done well a different way of putting a frequently discussed topic like this is going to help reinforce the concept for someone who already gets it and help drive it home for those who don't.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:21 PM   #46
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlocdog View Post
dave88,

I recommend hunkering down and just paying for it. Two main reasons.

1) I find that when you read a book for the first time, especially something like a poker book (or any other 'self help' book) you get more out of it when it is brand new. Something psychological where when you rip open the box and peel the brand new stiff pages, you appreciate the content more. You realize you are endeavoring in a place unknown with high expectations and this alone deserves the respect. Your mind will be more receptive to things you anticipate and get excited about. Making the effort to get this book will cause excitement and keep the content fresh. Not to mention, presentation plays a major role in our expectations. Think about ordering a nice steakin a restaurant. It's on nice china and garnished perfectly. All amenities are at your disposal. Now get that same steak on a paper plate with no garnish and no amenities. It probably isn't quite the same, is it...

2) This is a book you will want to reopen time and time again. Sometimes for the schooling and lessons taught and other times just for the anecdotal medley he offers in his writing style. Tommy has a unique way of making sense of ideas and concepts (not fundamentals but rather the 'external variables') that are often overlooked or under estimated.

Poker is not something that can be completely taught through a book to you. Sure their is plenty of literature that offers solid analysis of fundamentals and technical aspects of poker. Those books can only take you so far. Then there are plenty of psychology books that give insight into players motives, goals, tells, and so on. Again, can only take you so far. Tommy often touches on the variables that are so small in the grand scheme of things that they are often never even spoken about. He brings attention to detail. He speaks of the aspects not often thought of in connection with being a good player yet when you read these thoughts you instantly can see how they relate to the game and improvement.

This book will not spoon feed anyone however (nor can poker be). It makes you work hard on your game by leaving you thinking about everything he writes. He has a knack for not putting closure on any concepts or ideas he talks about so as to keep you thinking about them and trying to expound on them within your own game/life. He will be the first to tell you that not only does he not have all the answers but he also doesn't even have all the questions. What he does have is a very long and successful career playing poker all over the country with numerous stories and experiences. This can not be refuted nor denied and shouldn't be under appreciated.
If the content is good I think I will appreciate it just as much from a used copy as I would from a new one.

The reviews are so mixed that I don't really want to shell out 30 bucks only to be disappointed, though I probably will at some point if nobody wants to trade or sell me a used copy.

Having accumulated 50+ poker books over the years, a fresh perspective / new angle on things will be nice. So many of you guys seem to have gotten something valuable from it, I'm sure I will acquire it sooner or later.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:57 PM   #47
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

Mason is accurate that The Elements of Poker contains relatively little information about such concerns as how and when to use the stop-and-go play in NLHE or when to raise and reraise a draw for value on the turn in limit hold'em. But he is certainly wrong in saying

Quote:
“Will any of this help a beginning or intermediate player achieve better results at the poker table?” It is my opinion that the answer is no.
It seems to me that Mason is forgetting or overlooking the Law of Least Tilt. For many players, their bottom lines can be best improved not by seeking out and finding little places in their game to eke out extra EV or plug slight leaks in their game, but instead by being better able at avoiding tilt and recovering their balance to play their A-game once they find themselves tilting. The former can increase their earn by many big bets in the course of their playing lifetimes; but the latter can, for at least some people, save dozens or hundreds of big bets in the course of a week or month.

The Elements of Poker will help many players avoid tilt and regain their balance once they are tilting. It will therefore have a major impact on those players' bottom line.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:22 PM   #48
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

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The Elements of Poker will help many players avoid tilt and regain their balance once they are tilting. It will therefore have a major impact on those players' bottom line.
It seems to me that the overall premise of EoP is that in order to increase your performance relative to your opponents you need to find areas where you can do better than them. Angelo concentrates on those items that are not strategy decisions (which are covered extensively elsewhere) but instead on other areas, tilt control being a major area.

Although I'm a fan of the book I think Mason's statement is right in a way. The "low hanging fruit" for a beginning player is probably perfecting their technical and strategic game first. I'm not sure where I fit within Mason's classification of beginner, intermediate, and so on but IMO I'm not a beginner and seriously doubt I'm beyond intermediate. It might be accurate to say a beginner should be concentrating their efforts elsewhere. In regards to the intermiediate player and beyond I'm not so sure.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:59 PM   #49
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

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Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
If a book has enough inaccurate information in it, even if it has a couple of things of value, it should cost you all your money if you follow it. The idea that a book is worth the money if you can get one thing out of it can only apply to an already expert type player since he will also be able to filter out all the inaccurate advice.

MM
See what I mean about making me a better person, Mason? I'm not going to argue with you.

I have worked with Tommy for almost a year and it hasn't helped me a damn bit! I still tilt like crazy. I make stupid plays. I lose 1 out of every three times I play. I play way too tight from the blinds. And I'm even starting to make up words. Man, I'm not even close to being cute.

Why, oh why did I ever read this book?

Mason, this was not a book written for beginners and you should have known that. Intermediates are the ones who are in danger of blowing it all because of tilt. The high stakes players can really spew. You may not tilt, but the rest of us do. You may never have had an accident, but the rest of us need to buy insurance.

Sorry. I guess I do disagree. You say there is inaccurate information, but have not shown where. Please to enlighten us?

Wayne
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:20 AM   #50
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Re: The Elements of Poker - Mason's Review

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See what I mean about making me a better person, Mason? I'm not going to argue with you.

I have worked with Tommy for almost a year and it hasn't helped me a damn bit! I still tilt like crazy. I make stupid plays. I lose 1 out of every three times I play. I play way too tight from the blinds. And I'm even starting to make up words. Man, I'm not even close to being cute.

Why, oh why did I ever read this book?

Mason, this was not a book written for beginners and you should have known that. Intermediates are the ones who are in danger of blowing it all because of tilt. The high stakes players can really spew. You may not tilt, but the rest of us do. You may never have had an accident, but the rest of us need to buy insurance.

Sorry. I guess I do disagree. You say there is inaccurate information, but have not shown where. Please to enlighten us?

Wayne
Hi Wayne:

I'm sorry to hear that you have this tilt problem. By the way, where and when do you play?

Best wishes,
mason
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