If you’re reading this, then you likely did not qualify for
Regardless, one of the most well-respected and regarded poker bloggers–Scott "Double A’s" Gallant–has just dropped a book–Pressure Poker–that is a must addition to your poker library. The book is loaded with thought-provoking advice and strategy that could very well help you get to the WSOP ME next year–or deeper in it this year. Probably can’t help you with the ninja midgets though. You’re on your own for that.
Wicked Chops Poker caught up with Scott to learn more about what’s inside of Pressure Poker.
SG: The book started out as a general guide to poker and was going to be published by O’Reilly as 100 hacks in their hacks series. Bookstores stopped ordering poker books by the truck loads since there were so many on the market already so O’Reilly cancelled the book and I had to decide whether to move forward without them. I finally decided to finish the book and self-publish it to get the material out there. I added some more advanced strategy to it and some fun chapters like chip tricks, how to build a table, a new game to work on betting techniques and origin of the hammer nickname by the man himself ("Grubby").
It actually worked out well because the book will help poker players from beginner to experienced. Even in the sections that seem straight-forward, there are some gems that I’m very proud of. I’m looking forward to getting reactions from the poker community.
It also tells the online player how to use tools to help them improve their game and get to know more information about their opponents and even customize their user interface.
WCP: How long did it take you to write the book?
SG: It took about a year including a three month gap between the time O’Reilly cancelled the deal and the time I started it back up to self-publish it.
WCP: Do you review hand histories from all of your sessions? What was the first big "ah ha" moment you had from these reviews as far as fixing your game?
SG: I don’t review hand histories from every session. Instead, I save interesting hands as I play them into a separate file. About once a week, I’ll return to that file and go over the hands again. Those weekly sessions are a real eye-opener since I have time to go over each hand for 10-15 minutes each. I’ll look for better ways for both my opponent and myself to play the hand and will discover a lot about my game as well as regular opponents.
I’ll also review my PokerTracker database periodically to learn things about my game that can only be seen by looking at the broader picture like statistics over a long haul.
I can’t remember the first "ah ha" moment, but most of my realizations come from hands where I learn about my opponent’s motives in a hand. Associating patterns with motives takes time, but the more hands you study, the more clear it will become why your opponent may be betting. For example, I often have a good idea of the style of my opponent thanks to a PokerTracker database, PokerAce HUD and copious study of the playing style for that opponent and their betting patterns. I can often conclude whether a tough call or fold is correct based on that information. I published this type of study and information gathering in the book and I think it’ll help any online player make better informed decisions.
WCP: Now that you’re a book author… have you bought a yacht yet?
WCP: Who helped you get the book done?
SG: I’m proud that I was able to bring many of the top bloggers together (Otis, Pauly, Henry Wasserman, Iggy, Nick Momrik, Grubby, Dave Won and DuggleBogey for this work and get them published. Hopefully this will help their resumes in the future.
WCP: Finally, can you give us a sample of your book?
SG: Sure, here is a snippet from the Bluffing chapter:
Sell Your Hand
The way you play your hand will either convince your opponent to fold or will create suspicions that you’re bluffing and will get them to call you. The interesting aspect of selling your hand is that you may play your bluffing hand exactly the way you would play a great hand, but it all depends on how your opponent believes that you would play a great hand. If you play your hand differently than they think you would play a good hand, they will be more likely to call you. The best way to sell your hand is to pay close attention to how your opponent plays their monsters. If they always slow play big hands early in the hand, they will be less likely to believe that you have a great hand if you bet strong early in the hand.
Play your hand the way you think your opponent would play a great hand in your position. They will be more apt to believe you and fold to your bluff. Many times, you’ll find yourself in the late stages of a hand when you start to consider a bluff. You may miss your draw or just pick up a sense of weakness from your opponent. Before you impulsively bet a lot of chips, think about how you have played the hand up until now and think about whether your opponent will believe that you have a big hand instead of a drawing hand that missed.