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How to Be a Poker Player: The Philosophy of Poker (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Haseeb Qureshi

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What does it take to be a great poker player?

It's no secret that masters of poker think differently than ordinary people. In this truly groundbreaking book, Haseeb Qureshi, retired world-class high stakes poker pro and instructor, takes you on a journey of rediscovering the game of poker from the inside out. He explores the depths of strategy, psychology, and philosophy within poker, and teaches you his uniquely scientific perspective on approaching the game.

Whether you've read all the books and want to take your game to the next level, or whether you're an amateur wanting to learn what it's all about, this game-changing book is a must-read. In the words of WPT World Champion David Williams, "Haseeb has written an amazing and ground-breaking book. There's truly nothing else like it. An absolute requirement for anyone serious about poker."

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Haseeb Qureshi started playing poker professionally when he was 16 years old. He soon became a world-class high-stakes professional online poker player, sponsored by Full Tilt Poker, known around the world as "DogIsHead." At age 21, he became entangled in the Girah Scandal, in which his protégé, Jose "Girah" Macedo, was caught cheating. Soon afterward, Haseeb retired from poker. After extensive traveling, contemplating and writing about his past, Haseeb returned home to be with family and complete his education. He spent the next two years volunteering, meditating, and writing about poker and philosophy as he completed his B.A. at the University of Texas at Austin. In December 2013, Haseeb decided to give away his poker earnings and start over from scratch. He donated $75,000 to charity and gave the remainder of his assets to his family. At the same time, he published his first book, How to Be a Poker Player: The Philosophy of Poker. Haseeb resides in Austin, Texas, where he writes and continues to work with poker players as a mind coach. His coaching focuses on how to control emotions, manage one's mindset, and eliminate tilt to increase one's earnings. You can contact Haseeb and follow him at his website and blog,


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5.0 von 5 Sternen A deeply insightful book from a less-than insightful author 13. Januar 2014
Von Aaron C. Brown - Veröffentlicht auf
The first good book on how to be a poker player, that is, how to acquire the skills and attitudes typical of top poker players was The Education of a Poker Player. This book belongs in the same league and, on the deepest level, carries the same message. However, on every other level, it describes a different poker world. The first clue is when the author drops casual references to playing "hundreds of thousands of hands," "millions of hands" or suggests "7,000 hands a week" as a sensibly moderate schedule. Old school players might have played a couple of hundred thousand hands in a lifetime, and only a small fraction of that at serious stakes with other top players.

There is even more concentration than this. Although there are a few references to pot limit Omaha, the major focus of the book is on no limit Texas Hold'em. This is close to the simplest poker game, with no memory demands and no complex combinations. There are only 1,326 possible starting hands (and only a few dozen that are meaningfully different) for your first bet, and when you make your second bet there are only 1,081 possible combinations of remaining cards (and usually only a few that are meaningfully different). This means essentially the same hands are played thousands of times. Before the Internet poker boom, pros had to master many different games, with variants, and different betting structures and house rules. Moreover they had to learn to handle cards, shuffle track, remember folded cards, arrange or get invited to games, collect from losers, avoid cheating and arrest and a dozen other skills irrelevant to on-line play and substantially muted in casino play.

As this book makes clear, the concentrated intensity makes excellence harder, not easier. It describes how natural selection eliminates most of the exploitable edge from all but the worst players. Top players today are drawn from a potential pool of maybe a billion people, two orders of magnitude more than the candidate pool fifty years ago (there are interesting discussions about what characteristics drive people to achieve poker mastery). Moreover, in the past, a seven card stud player in a slump could work on memory and combinations to regain a lost edge and build confidence; other games had other subsidiary skills; a modern player has no options but to confront core betting strategy directly. Variance and downswings are not a major issue when you play 10,000 hands per year. Of those, maybe 100 involve key high-stakes decisions and as a top pro you expect to win 60%. You expect to face a losing streak of 25 or big decisions with net losses, which is short enough to remember each hand and form useful conclusions rather than surrendering to despair. A million hands per year, with 10,000 51% key high-stakes decision has the same ratio of edge to standard deviation, but you expect to make 3,000 decisions in a row that net lose money, and you could run many more.

Another difference is the advice for learning the game. This book recommends reading and exercises. In the old days, there was no theory, poker books were written by bridge players, amateur mathematicians and a sleight-of-hand magician; none of whom were serious players. Conventional wisdom, which I still accept, is that the only way to get really good was to start in your early teens and play obsessively at foolish stakes with extreme sleep deprivation. "Exercises" consisted of dealing hands and playing mentally.

For all the differences, poker is poker. Mastery requires fanatic obsession with money, to the point that after 72 hours of play with only a few power naps and millions of dollars flowing into and out of your stack, you really, really care about the difference between a 51% and a 49% $100 bet. But it also requires the total indifference to money to be able to shove more than your entire net worth into the pot while holding worthless cards, not only without the slightest flicker to be noticed by the world's best practicing psychologists, but also without losing touch with your faintest inner voices that guide your play. And ultimately, as this book explains, it's not about the money at all, but about the human networks forged in the intensity of the play.

Maybe the most remarkable difference between then and now is that Yardley wrote his classic after playing poker for 55 years and establishing and running the first US government cryptographic agency, working in counterespionage all over the world, founding businesses, having love affairs, writing books, and dozens of other activities involving people in all walks of life. Qureshi played for only five years, maybe two at the top level, and seems to have met few non-poker people or done much else so far in his life. His book gave me some useful perspective on a question that has perplexed many players of my generation: how can these Internet kids be so staggeringly good, better than the best of us, at core poker betting; and so idiotic and immature about everything else?

You will find lots to laugh at in this book. A 21 year old using quotes without irony about how it takes a lifetime to learn the skills he presumes to teach you. A sophomoric final chapter that quotes Pindar and Nietzsche but claims Bruce Lee said it best, and that "I try to live by" the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson; all in rapid succession interspersed with pop neuroscience, without the slightest insight into any of the people or ideas. Treacly sweet life lessons that would make Jonathan Livingston Seagull gag.

But if you suspend your laughter, you will learn a lot about what it means to be a poker player. Beyond poker, it will give you deep insight into a generation that has taken advantage of computers and the Internet to hone specialized skills to previously unimaginable peaks of perfection, while evading the life lessons required for maturity. Three totally different books that can help you humanize the picture are Ship It Holla Ballas, Broke and King of a Small World.

The immaturity extends to the cheating scandal that ended the author's poker career (by his choice). He clearly has not learned the important difference between sins you can recompense: money you can repay, hurt feelings you can soothe, trust you can rebuild, honor you can reclaim; and the much deeper issue of harm that cannot be undone. Children give away their possessions and run away from home, but adults know your problems are inside you, you take them with you. It's easy to quit something, the hard part is figuring out what to do next. Romantically dramatic sulks are still sulks.

In the most brilliantly disturbing portions of this book, the author uncannily channels Stu Unger in his quieter moments. Although Qureshi's calm, humble and abstentious persona is the polar opposite of Unger's, the two overlap considerably in worldview, poker insight and phrasing. Without Unger's organized crime tie-in or dissipated lifestyle, Qureshi does not seem likely to end up dying alone in a cheap hotel room at 45, but it is easy to imagine him at that age spinning lots of complicated stories in a federal courtroom to a jury disinclined to credit any of them. On the other hand, his success as a teacher and writer gives me hope that he will apply a small fraction of his awesome poker betting skills to the world away from the table, or maybe back at the table. If he grows up, he could lead a truly remarkable life.
12 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Impressive 4. Januar 2014
Von leon hindle - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
One of the most interesting books on poker I have read (and I've read many). Most of the internet poker generation focus entirely on the math aspects of poker to the extent that ranges, balance, game theory optimal etc etc have become a new dogma. I think this book acknowledges the importance of math but gives prominence to the fact that poker is played by humans rather than machines. What he writes about momentum for instance is very insightful, and not something I have seen covered elsewhere. This book will not be that useful to guys just picking up the game but to people who play regularly it will be interesting and may help clarify the thought process in certain areas. The book is also well written, and for a guy who has such a terrible reputation (as a person, not as a player) in the poker community, and who is also barely in his twenties, I was impressed by the maturity of thought and the way he could introduce philosophical discussion without it sounding too much like the regurgitation of cliff notes from a first year undergrad class.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Pure inspiration 17. Februar 2014
Von Thomas Bauer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
Very deep insights of probably one of the most brilliant minds in poker. The author tried to get to the bottom of those questions which bothers and which are often overlooked by most players. Using a very well investigation, he finds high valuable conclusions.
Especially his style of writing, in some way play- and colourful, distinguishes him from every other poker author. Usually these kind of books are grey and boring. There is no real connection between reader and writer. This one is different.
For my part, I felt that Haseeb put in a ton of passion. Therefore he achieved to touch me as a the poker player and human being, who I am.
His thought inspired me like nothing before!
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The best poker book I've ever read (listened to...) 2. Mai 2014
Von Alan Carty - Veröffentlicht auf
I am a 50 year old business owner who plays poker because it is my passionate hobby. I have read dozens of books on poker and nothing compares to the value I received from Haseeb's first book (hopefully the first of many).

If you're like me and are tired of books that stress formulas, calculations or theories on pre-flop and post-flop play under every possible combination of cards, you will love this book. I found those types of books mind-numbing and pointless at all stages of my poker development. Haseeb even explains why it doesn't help your game much to read those math/theory books.

In addition to reading poker books, I have also read several books on psychology and brain function, and I feel Haseeb really did his homework before writing this book.

The author also possesses a sincere honesty that I've never heard from ANY other poker book authors. You'll have to read the book to know exactly what I mean, but you'll agree with me once you've read this book.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Awesome book!! 9. Juni 2014
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This book was recommended to me by a fellow player. I have read the majority of NLHE books since I started playing about 10 years ago. I loved this book. It is a totally fresh perspective that really looks at the game in a much more holistic and philosophical way. This is not primarily a strategy book. But as most are beginning to appreciate, to maximize your potential as a poker player you need to excel in more ways than just learning poker math and strategy. There are plenty of nuggets here which will increase your win rate but the book goes beyond this to talk about learning theory, cognitive biases, poker theory, and many different topics which will help you in your game no matter where you are on the learning curve. This is a totally different book than anything on the market and is a pleasure to read as well. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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