I’ve been a poker player for the better part of a decade, and during my up-and-down journey I’ve read my fair share of poker strategy books. We all have. Virtually every player serious about winning has taken a peak in Doyle Brunson’s Super System books, leafed through a chapter of Caro’s Book of Poker Tells, perused Harrington on Hold’em, and dipped into David Sklansky’s The Theory of Poker. If you’re looking for a list of the 10 best books available, click here for a wonderful editorial from my fellow FTR writer, Artur Filimoncik. This article focuses on books that, unless you were looking for a late-night chuckle, you would never want to read.
Bankroll Management – Isildur1
At one point, waaaay back before the turn of the decade, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom was considered one of the most deadly and daring players in all of poker, beating out all the best players in the world for millions. He’s still considered by many to be in the top 1% of all No-Limit Hold’em games, but none of that really matters when you can’t walk away with any of your winnings.
Here’s a life history of Mr. Blom:
Age 15: Blom builds up a $275,000 bankroll playing Sit N Gos. He then takes a shot at higher buy-in cash games and loses it all.
Age 16: Blom builds his bankroll to $50,000 before taking a shot at $315 SNGs. He loses it all.
Age 17: Blom deposits $5,000 on PartyPoker and runs it up to $200,000 in two days. In only two weeks, Blom wins $1.7 million on iPoker before eventually losing it.
Age 18 Beginning with a bankroll of only $2,000 in Aug. 2008, Isildur1 builds it up to $1.4 million and switches over to Full Tilt Poker. He wins $500,000 from pro Haseem Qureshi in only 24 hours. A month later, he loses $1 million playing three separate pros.
Age 19: Blom reaches a career peak in Nov. 2009 with winnings of $6 million. A month later, he was down $2 million total, including a $4.2 million loss in only 5 hours to Brian Hastings.
See a trend here?
How to Handle Televised Poker– Daniel Colman
No one says you have to be a bubbly television personality, but when you win $15 million playing a card game the least you can do is act excited. More importantly, you should give a post-match interview. If you want to be a champion, act like one. Shameful.
Integrity on the Poker Table – Russ Hamilton
The man responsible for the biggest cheating scandal in the history of poker is none other than 1994 WSOP Main Event champion Russ Hamilton. Serving as a consultant for Ultimate Bet, Hamilton used a super user account that allowed him to see opponents’ cards, cheating players out of over $22 million.
This 2013 recording of Hamilton sums things up nicely:
“I did take this money and I’m not trying to make it right, so we’ve got to get that out of the way real quick.”
There’s a dark, deep, and well-deserved pit in Hell waiting for this guy.
How To Run A Successful Online Poker Business – Howard Lederer
Just typing out the history of this scumbag makes me angry. If you’ve been sleeping under a rock and aren’t aware of the Full Tilt Scandal, check out a brief history of Lederer’s involvement here. Howard “The Coward,” indeed.
Beating The House Legitimately – Phil Ivey
In 2014, Phil Ivey, the “Tiger Woods of Poker,” made more headlines for his play on the baccarat tables than the poker tables. In October, he lost a £7.8 million ($12.4 million) court decision against UK-based Crockfords Casino when a London judge ruled that his “edge sorting” technique in Baccarat was considered cheating. During his play at the casino, which took place in 2012, Ivey was accompanied by a Chinese woman, identified as Cheng Yin Sun, who has been involved with at least three other “edge sorting” lawsuits, including a lawsuit filed by Atlantic City-based Borgata Casino against Ivey for $9.6 million.
Handling Your Addiction – Gus Hansen with foreword from Stu Ungar
What do the world’s biggest loser in the history of online poker and a three-time WSOP Main Event champion have in common? They both are (or in the case of the late Stu Unger, were) addicts. You don’t blow through $30 million in poker winnings only to die penniless because you can handle your demons (sorry, Stu), and you don’t wind up losing over $20 million in online poker because you have self-control (looking at you, Gussy boy).
Grinding Out A Long Career – Jamie Gold
Jamie Gold luckboxed his way to the 2006 WSOP Main Event championship, taking home a record $12,000,000. Since then, Gold has only appeared in the headlines after his alleged WSOP sponsor sued Gold for 50% of the winnings (Gold settled out of court), and for bouncing checks in Atlantic City. Oh yeah, and for donking away pots in High Stakes Poker.
Making Friends On the Poker Table – Dan Cates & Tom Dwan
Two of online poker’s biggest success stories do not like each other. Like at all. Maybe it’s because Tom “durrrr” Dwan is refusing to honor his “durrrr Challenge” bet worth $1.5 million, or maybe it’s because “Jungleman” is an asshole. It’s probably both.