This is an excerpt from the introduction to Elements of Poker.
(Now available in audiobook)
When I was growing up, there was only one person in the known universe who wrote about card games and his name was Edmond Hoyle. We had some of his books in our house. I still have one of them on a shelf. I haven’t opened it since way back when, and suddenly I’m curious what’s inside.
I just opened it up. It’s a small paperback. The pages are yellow and half-way to crumbling. I am going to leaf through it and look for something meaty or profound that transcends time and rings true today.
::: leafing :::
::: still leafing :::
Pretty dry stuff mostly. I am no longer hoping to find anything in here about the glorious greatness of poker as the ultimate human endeavor or anything like that.
::: leafing :::
Okay, here’s something. At the beginning of a section called “Strategy of Poker,” there is a list of five big-picture ideas which are then expanded on in the text. Here is the list:
Strategy of Poker
To become a good player, one must:
- Learn the poker hands thoroughly.
- Learn the relative values of the hands – what sort of hand may be expected to win the pot.
- Learn how many cards it is best to draw to the various poker combinations.
- Learn the odds against winning with any particular hand, and how to figure the odds offered “by the pot.”
- Observe the other players in the game, to learn their habits and to read their probable strength or weakness from their actions and mannerisms; and at the same time avoid giveaway mannerisms of one’s own.
It was number five that made me smile when I read it and realize that yes, I know how to play poker according to Hoyle.