Doyle Brunson’s Super System


Doyle toto hk┬áSuper System was viewed as the “Bible of Poker” when it first burst onto the scene in 1979. A lot of the secrets that poker legends like Brunson, Bobby Baldwin, and Chip Reese were using to dominate the world’s biggest cash games were secrets not yet available to the aspiring players. This book paved the way for the mere mortals to begin playing like the pros.

Some of the popular games of twenty-five years ago are on the decline, and as a result the work of David Sklansky, Mike Caro, and Joey Hawthorne on High/Low Declare, Draw, and Lowball respectively is not as highly regarded. But three of Super System’s chapters are still extremely useful, and any player who knows the basics of poker can shape their game into a more advanced, more aggressive style by taking the advice found in this book.


Chip Reese is considered by some to be the world’s best cash game player. His advice on 7-Stud cash games is indispensible. He teaches the reader to play aggressively, but at the same time to save bets. Reese demonstrates essential skills for the limit player, like how to get free cards, how to practice deception, and how to cut down on playing unprofitable starting hands.


Bobby Baldwin, authoring the limit hold’em section immediately after winning the 1978 WSOP main event, offers excellent advice that will help the aggressive player master the game. He stresses the “big card theory,” making sure that the reader tries to get the best of it before entering big pots, but at the same time urges aggression for the hands one does play. He covers the intricate details of hold’em in great detail, offering the reader a complex understanding of the game.


Once you’ve mastered the technical aspects of hold’em play, enter Doyle himself. Brunson encourages the reader, above all, to be a gambler. His strategy in no limit hold’em is simple: attack. Pick up the small pots left and right. Intimidate the players by never being afraid to bet. When you play like Doyle, you will be making your living not by winning the huge pots, but by picking up all the others. When he’s in a big pot, Texas Dolly admits, he usually has the worst of it.


If you take Brunson’s words verbatim, and follow them to the letter, you are bound to go broke. Doyle is a legend, and his style works for him; however, the best way to digest Super System is to use parts of it to adjust your game, and incorporate them into a new style, all your own. Super System is a great book, and I highly recommend it because it gets you thinking about the game of poker in new ways, but remember: to win at poker, you have to play with a style that feels comfortable to you. Buy this book, read it closely, and then adapt your game how you see fit. This book has something in it for everyone; your job is to find the style that works for you.


The Theory of Poker


This book is about general theories and concepts of poker play, which are operative in nearly every variation of poker, from 5 card draw to Texas Hold-Em. It is not for basic rules, nor step-by-step procedures for playing the games. (Even though some are listed in the index) It teaches you, not what to do in every situation, but what to CONSIDER.

While, this book is generally aimed at limit and no-limit cash games, tournament players will also benefit. Break-even, good, and even very skilled players will benefit greatly from the higher level of thinking that Sklansky teaches.


Sklansky focuses on the ante structure, pot-odds, effective odds, implied and reverse-implied odds, the value of deception, big pots, the free card, the semi-bluff, slow-playing, game theory, position, and bluffing. He points out mistakes many players make. More importantly, he teaches us how to use these mistakes to win us more money.


What Sklansky doesn’t include is any starting hand charts, or recommendations on specific hands to play. What he does add, is a glossary with a plethora of poker terms, and instructions on how to play Stud, Lowball, Draw, and Hold`em poker.


I would recommend this book to anyone that already knows the basics of one or more games and wants to learn what it takes to increase their hourly rate. I would not recommend this book to players just learning poker or players that only play for fun.