Tournament Poker And The Art Of War - David Apostoloco

This book takes a very interesting approach to poker, as it takes the classic Sun Tsu’s The Art of War and interprets it from a poker perspective.  This classic ancient Chinese text is still considered to be one of the most brilliant works on military strategy ever written.  Tournament poker is, at least in a real sense, similar to war, as the goal is to defeat all of your enemies and emerge victorious.

So what the author has done here in this book is to take various principles laid out by Sun Tsu and interpret them to apply to tournament poker.  He actually ends up doing a very good job of this and in spite of real warfare and poker not really matching up all that well at times, Apostoloco actually makes things fit pretty well.

What emerges is some real insights on how we need to always be thinking of things like exploitation, deception, and aggression in our game.  Even more importantly, we need to be applying these tactics in the proper measure and at the proper time.

All of our actions have consequences, and we must think through these consequences before we act.  We must both know ourselves and our enemy well, and look for any and all weaknesses in our enemy.  Whenever we find weaknesses, we must look to take maximum advantage of them.  We must not have our play be too transparent to our enemies, we must seek to confuse them as to what our actions may be.

So these are just some of the principles of Sun Tsu that the Apostoloco incorporates into his interpretation of the Art of War as it applies to tournament poker.  One of the real benefits of this approach is that it looks to instill a more aggressive mindset into players who may not be thinking enough along these lines. 

The book is chock full of quotes from the original classic text and then goes on to show why the principles that are cited apply to poker as well.  While the strategies that emerge aren’t going to give you everything you need in order to be a good tournament poker player, they will at the very least point you in the right direction in many important areas.

Since a lot of poker success is based upon things like aggression and exploitation, this book will be of particular help to those players who tend to think that cards or luck primarily determine poker tournament results.  While these factors do matter, they do not matter anywhere near as much as some players think.

So it’s like the quality of your troops matter, but how you direct them in battle matters a great deal as well, and this book will help you master the strategies involved in how you use your own troops, in this case the cards you are dealt, to better effect the outcomes of your battles.

This is a very good book on tournament poker and poker in general which all poker players will find enjoyable.  It at the very least will cause your thinking to be more oriented towards understanding that poker truly is war, and those who battle best win most often.

Rating: 4 out of 5