The Psychology Of Poker - Alan N. Schoonmaker

This book is the first in Schoonmaker’s series of books on poker psychology and it’s definitely worth reading given that there aren’t a lot of decent or better books on this topic out there.  My expectation prior to reading this book was that it would delve into the actual psychology of poker more, given its title.

Although the author claims that this is a book about poker psychology and not one about strategy, a big part of the book deals with how to play against what he considers the four main player types, which is right out of a beginners’ strategy text and ends up devaluing the material in my opinion.  

I do realize that this book isn’t really written for advanced players and the psychology it deals with isn’t supposed to be that advanced either, but this is a real disappointment for me and by looking to please the masses he ends up not pleasing anyone as much as he could.

Aside from this though there are certainly some good concepts in the book that beginning to intermediate players will benefit from, as is the case with all of Dr. Al’s books.  What distinguishes Shoonmaker from other psychologists is that he is a poker player as well, with significant experience, however his experiences seem to be limited to rather soft mid stakes live games, and this influence really comes through in this book.  

Once again I would have preferred that he deal with the game in a more general way from the perspective of psychology, but if you read all of his books together you will get more than a good feel of this.  Given that this is the first book in the series, it is a good place to start.

Rating: 4 out of 5