The past summer, I decided to spend time thinking about GTO play. The poker book market saw a string of books released on the topic, and I like to learn. I’ve read Mathematic of Poker a couple times, but the book confuses me more than illuminates—makes a frustrating experience for me. So, in July, I grabbed three new books:
1. Janda’s Applications of No Limit Holdem
2. Tipton’s Expert No Limit Holdem
3. Newall’s The Intelligent Poker Player
I read Newall’s first, then started both Tipton’s and Janda’s. I didn’t finish either of those. Then I spent many hours over at Deuces Cracked going through a few video series there by Josh Ploktin. Excellent content and discussion there. While I didn’t learn a large quantity of information, the concepts I did grasp finally brought me to the threshold of the topic. I had fundamental, noob questions about GTO, and I finally found answers. Altogether, I put a few hundred hours into the topic last summer.
Since then, I’ve had Tipton’s book next to my desk and eagerly hoped to finish it. But, all the Beast grinding never allows much time. However, this week I’m on vacation and knew I’d have plenty of time to finish books on my list. I brought Expert Heads Up No Limit Holdem with me. I just finished the book and want to write a bit about the experience while it’s fresh on my mind.
When I started the book, I had a few questions right off the bat. I engaged in discussion Tipton in the 2p2 forum thread about his book. Tipton seems to me a professional in every way, and I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with him. After the thread discussion, he and I connected on Skype, and he offered answers to my questions quite a few times. I like the guy quite a bit from what I know of him.
I initially approached the book with a fine tooth comb, moving along slowly, analyzing every detail. I made it to page 120 that way. That’s when I had to set it aside to grind again. When I picked it back up a few days ago, I decided to go through the book a bit more relaxed and let some details go. I’m glad I did, but I’ll visit the book again, I’m sure.
The book was of particular interest to me because it mostly focuses on river play. Of course, I just finished a river book as well. So, I was anxious to compare and contrast the work with mine. It was fun to watch him explain concepts differently, and overall, come at things from a completely different angle than I did.
I can’t help but give the work 5 out of 5 stars. It’s excellent content and you can tell Tipton truly cares about the quality of the content and helping people grasp the concepts. It’s refreshing to see this type of work in the sea of mediocrity that is poker instruction. I will, however, say this:
While the book isn’t nearly as insensitive to people without a master’s degree in mathematics as Mathematics of Poker is, I still feel a large number of readers will be over their heads in much of the material. GTO is simply an incredibly complex topic. And Tipton seems an educated fellow; and that comes across in the writing. But if you have questions as you read, you’ll find few authors as helpful as Tipton to respond to your inquiries in the thread at 2p2.
So…how did I feel about the compare and contrast with my book? Honestly, while the books are obviously connected, it’s borderline apples and oranges. My focus is exploitive play, his focus is GTO play. You can reach either end by using either method. At this stage in the game, I prefer focusing on exploitive play. I get the feeling Tipton would disagree, though. I do think a larger audience will find my book more accessible. But still, much work will go into either book. I think they both belong in a serious poker student’s library.
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