Al Schoonmaker’s Terrific New Book: Your Worst Poker Enemy

by Lou on May 8, 2007

My good friend, Alan Schoonmaker, Ph.D., just authored a new book entitled Your Worst Poker Enemy. Like that old sage of the swamps, Pogo the comic-strip possum used to say, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

We are all our own worst enemies in so many ways. Nothing new under that sun, but Dr. Al’s book brings it all back home where it belongs—to the poker table.

Schoonmaker’s book is organized under the premise that since poker is a game of incomplete information, information management is its critical skill.

The first part of his book asks and then discusses this question: “Which is better, logic or intuition?” One of Schoonmaker’s main themes is that except for a very few gifted people, logic works better than intuition and has the advantages of being correctable, teachable, and something you can build upon too.

The second section of this book is entitled “Evaluating Ourselves and the Opposition.” This is where many players’ overreaching egos cost them money. I’m willing to wager that if you took a lap around any poker table and asked each player if he or she thought themselves above average, below average, or just about average, the majority would rate themselves above average. But they can’t be right. After all, by definition, there must be as many players below average as above it.

This is a section that ought to be closely read by any player who is not achieving the results he thinks he should. If you read it carefully and are willing to leave a typical poker player’s states of denial at the door, it ought to pay dividends for you.

Subsequent sections are entitled, “Understanding Unconscious and Emotional Forces,” “Adjusting to Changes,” and “Handling Stress.” And there you have it; a hard and deep look in 336 pages at the inside workings of our most dangerous and devious adversary at the poker table. Ourselves.

This book will go a long way to help any poker player willing to drop his defenses and denial, to recognize and defeat the psychological factors that can distort his perceptions, and thereby wreck his best efforts and undermine the very core of his poker skill.

The book carries a list price of $15.95, and is published by Lyle Stuart–Kensington. It’s available at bookstores everywhere.

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