Review of Poker, Gaming and Life
- Fighting Fuzzy Thinking in Poker, Gaming and Life
- David Sklansky
- Two Plus Two Publishing
Reviewed by Nick Christenson, firstname.lastname@example.org
August 7, 1997
This book is a collection of noted gambling authority David Sklansky's recent articles that have appeared in leading gambling periodicals and appear here for the first time. Sklansky's insights on poker especially are as keen as anyone in the field, and this book is no exception.
Poker, Gaming and Life is divided into two parts. The first, Poker and Gaming, is a collection of essays that we would expect from Sklansky. They're similar in format and scope to those that we see in his book Sklansky on Poker or in his often-times colleague Mason Malmuth's Poker Essays. These are brief works that explain, usually briefly, clearly and correctly, as is Sklansky's style, some aspect of gambling, usually poker, that the author considers important. His judgment on these matters is quite good.
The quality of the essays does vary from the excellent An Essential Hold'em Concept and Questions and Answers to the relatively unimpressive Highest on the Flop. However, the overall quality is very high.
The second part, appropriately enough called Life, will seem a radical departure for Sklansky if you hadn't read any of his more recent articles from the, now defunct, Poker World magazine. He really branches out here, dealing with issues of politics, ethics, everyday logic, and others. Even though this section is much weaker than the rest of the book (fortunately, it's also much shorter), he still does have enough interesting ideas to keep me from thinking that I've wasted my time reading it. It's my opinion, however, that he is not nearly as expert on these topics as he is on poker and gaming, although that he could be so would be truly astounding. In this section, I think he occasionally succumbs to logical fallacies or inconsistencies that cast a shadow over some of his conclusions. Nonetheless, his thought processes are still far more accurate and disciplined than most other people I've encountered.
Overall, I really liked his essays. I think that David Sklansky is the single most important poker author of all time. This isn't his best work, but it is worthwhile, although I wouldn't blame anyone from skipping over his Life essays altogether. If you want to read a philosophical text, it's my opinion that you'd be better served by Thoreau's Walden, Whitehead's Adventures of Ideas, or Plato's Republic instead, and it's quite possible that Sklansky would agree. Mason Malmuth believes that gambling books which contain 90% correct information and 10% incorrect information are very dangerous and should be avoided. I don't believe this is true for philosophical texts. If I did, I couldn't give this book the strong recommendation that I do.
This is the latest collection of essays by poker expert extraordinaire David Sklansky. It's similar to his well worthwhile work Sklansky on Poker. His insights on games of poker are generally very accurate and insightful and are well worth study by the poker student. His articles on Life, while interesting, are not outstanding. Even if you strongly dislike this section, there is easily sufficient material here to make the purchase of this book a good value.
18 Feb Mason malmuth poker essays pdf
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