What does it take to be a great poker player?
It’s no secret that masters of poker think differently from ordinary people. In this game-changing bestseller, Haseeb Qureshi, retired world-class high stakes poker pro and instructor, takes you on a journey of rediscovering the game of poker from the inside out. He explores the depths of strategy, psychology, and philosophy within poker, and teaches you his uniquely scientific perspective on approaching the game.
Wow. Haseeb has written an amazing and ground-breaking book. There’s truly nothing else like it. An absolute requirement for anyone serious about poker.David Williams, Team PokerStars pro, 2010 WPT World Champion and 2nd Place Winner of 2004 WSOP Main Event
Philosophy of Poker allows you to delve into the mind of one of poker’s greatest thinkers.Sorel Mizzi a.k.a. Imper1um & Zangbezan24, high-stakes poker pro and 2010 BLUFF Player of the Year
This book is in a class of its own. I’d honestly prefer if it wasn’t released.Asad Goodarzy a.k.a. Glitteringprizes, high-stakes poker pro and BlueFirePoker Instructor
This book is a must-read for everyone who is interested in poker and wants to remain on top of their game, especially for gaining a mental edge over their competitors.Johannes Strasseman, high-stakes poker pro and founder of cardcoaches.com
Great poker players are seldom great writers. Amongst the literature, Haseeb’s book is uniquely attentive to the linguistic aspects of poker, to the subtexts of the game, and also to its beauty. No book I have previously encountered takes the same approach, and it is this which makes the writing of interest to poker players of any caliber, and other game players alike.Peter Leggatt, critic and essayist for the Financial Times
Haseeb’s book will help poker players of all levels improve their theoretical understanding of poker and the mental game. Haseeb is brutally honest about the deliberate practice and intelligence it takes to win in today’s game, and yet I still found myself inspired upon finishing it.Jennifer Shahade, author, journalist for PokerStars
There is more and more good content to choose from in today’s poker world, but I highly encourage serious students of the game to take a look at this great book.Fredrik Keitel a.k.a. Observer84, high-stakes poker pro and founder of clans.de
You’re reading this book because you want to improve your poker game.
I know all too well how that goes. When I began poker, I was constantly searching for the tricks the pros were using to win, convinced they had to be hidden away somewhere. I tore through books like this one, expecting to uncover clever ways to play draws, sneaky bluffs that no one knew about, or maybe the secret to handling aggressive players or 3-bet pots. Deep down, I hoped that some hand, theory, or principle would suddenly illuminate everything I couldn’t see.
But that moment of revelation never came. And with time and experience, I learned that this wasn’t for lack of trying. If there is a secret in poker, it is this: the way is as hard, rigorous, and disenchanting as the way has ever been.
I’ve met and taught hundreds of poker players during my time as a professional, and I have never met one whose game was transformed to a high level by merely reading a book. That’s just not the way that poker works. You can seek out books claiming to teach you such things, but I suspect that, after working through them, you will find yourself right where you started.
The aim of this book, then, is not to make you better at poker. Instead, it is to make you a better poker player.
What do I mean?
Someone once told me, “Nobody teaches us how to be poker players.” We are taught strategy, how to read hands, how to size bets, but being a poker player requires more than that. Poker is an isolating and confusing profession. The moment you sit down at a poker table, you are submerged in a profoundly backward and contradictory culture.
I asked myself one fundamental question when I decided to write this book: if I could go back eight years, to when I was just beginning my exploration into poker, what would I tell my 16-year-old self? What have I learned that he needs to know? What are the most valuable ideas that would equip him for the long and maddening journey ahead?
If you want to better understand what it means to be a poker player, this book is for you.
You may not be ready to absorb all of the ideas and perspectives presented here. That’s okay. I wasn’t either the first time I heard them, and I heard them many times from many different people before they were ingrained in me. Chances are it will take someone else, maybe a year or two down the road, perhaps a friend, a mentor, a stranger telling you the same thing before it convinces you. And who knows—some of these ideas may be wrong for you. That’s okay. It’s part of the process. But let this book be a step in your journey, and even if it does not change your beliefs or your perspective on the world or on poker, trust that it will help, whether or not you agree with it. Trust that it has a place in your process.
I want to remind you that your life as a poker player is a journey. Treating it as anything less is a disservice to yourself. Everything that I write, I write because I want you to thrive and grow from this journey. That said, you don’t need to be a professional to understand the contents of this book. It is written to be useful to all ranges of players, from high-stakes professionals to those just curious about the game.
What is poker to you? Is it an interest? A hobby? A passion? Is it your calling? Think carefully about this. This is where it all begins.
Pick it up!
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Hi, I’m Haseeb. I’m a general partner at MetaStable Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund. I’m also a programmer, a writer, a teacher, a public speaker, and an Effective Altruist. I teach a class on cryptocurrencies at the Bradfield School of Computer Science. I was formerly a software engineer at Airbnb. Before that I was Director of Product at App Academy. Before that I was a mental coach and wrote a...