Review of Sklansky on Poker

David Sklansky is one of the most well respected poker authors in the world. In my opinion, Sklansky on Poker has been unfairly one of his less popular books, as it contains some of his best writing. This book is well worth study by the aspiring poker student and deserves a wider audience than it has received.

The book is divided into four sections. The first is called “General Concepts”. This is a collection of various essays, most of which were previously published elsewhere. None of these are bad, although one or two are mediocre, but some of them are quite good. For example, the essay entitled “Have a Plan” is the first essay I know of that deals with the question of not betting into a player who will always fold unless they have one beat. Another good essay is “All Errors Are Not Created Equal”, which improved my play considerably all by itself.

The second section is called “Points of Play”. This section deals with specific hands, while the first section covers more universal concepts. “The Protected Pot” and “Saving the Last Bet” are two essays I found especially useful from this section. Of course not all of them are this good, but the quality is generally quite high.

The third section is on tournament play. There is a lot more decent Slot Gacor information on tournament play in print today when there was at the time the book as published. Still, the information in this book coupled with those essays found in Mason Malmuth’s Gambling Theory and Other Topics is better than all but a few books. The essay titled “Should You Wait” is the only place I know of where someone has tacked the often asked question about what quality hand one should take a stand with when very short stacked.

The fourth section covers just over half the book, and it’s a mini-book in itself, entitled “Sklansky on Razz”. This is simply the definitive work on Razz, which is seven card stud played for low. With HORSE (one round each of Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Stud, and stud Eight or better dealt in succession) becoming more popular, one can often make some money in these games off those who do not know how to play some of the less common rounds, and I have encountered very few low and mid-limit players who know how to play Razz competently.

Even if one doesn’t anticipate playing Razz, and it still shows up from time to time, it’s very useful to read this work because Razz provides an excellent setting for many important poker lessons that are obvious in this game, but less obvious in others. Razz is an ideal context in which to learn some principles that apply to all poker, and reading this section can only improve one’s game. Plus, after reading “Sklansky on Razz”, and thinking about the lessons, this game will be a formidable weapon to call at home style dealer’s choice games.

Like most of Sklansky’s books, there may not be a lot of words between these covers, but there are a lot of ideas. One cannot skim through the book and expect to immediately dominate one’s game of choice. The information here requires some study, rereading, and consideration away from the tables. The industrious student will be amply rewarded by this fine work.

Capsule:
In my opinion, this is one of the better poker books available and deserves a wider audience. The book is divided into a section of essays, many of which are extremely good, and a section that does a superb job of describing the game of Razz. This book is well worth studying by all poker players.