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Elements of Poker


Beyond statistics, beyond whether to raise, call, or fold, Elements of Poker reveals a new world of profitability for your bankroll and your life. (...more)

A Rubber Band Story and Other Poker Tales collects the best articles, blogs, and stories from Tommy Angelo's last 12 years of writing and showcases them with eighteen new introductions and afterwords.

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What People Are Saying

For full length book reviews, click here.


After reading 25+ poker books and spending 2 years reading these forums [2+2] daily, finding a book that has made me say "that's genius!" every 10 minutes, is an incredible accomplishment. Elements of Poker is an absolute MUST own for ALL poker players. It's in a class all of its own.

Ed Miller

I've been dripping with excitement for this book ever since it was but a gleam in the author's eye. It's an awesome book filled to the brim with practical poker wisdom that has already made me a better poker player. It's a 10.


If one poker book was going to be dropped on the doorstep of all my future opponents, this is the book I'd least like it to be.

Al Schoonmaker

Tommy has written the most original poker book I have ever read. His unique content, organization, and style are hard to describe, but I'll try.

As I psychologist, I loved this sentence: "We begin to see the poker table as an environment rich in the nutrients upon which delusions feed." Tommy's book will help you to avoid deluding yourself.

His most original chapter was "Reciprocality." It is an extraordinarily powerful and original idea.

Forgive me, but I can't help making a pun. His position on position is utterly unique. I won't tell you what it is, but I will say, READ IT.

Better yet, buy and read the whole book. You'll be glad you did. — Al Schoonmaker

Al is the author of these three books:

  • The Psychology of Poker
  • Your Worst Poker Enemy
  • Your Best Poker Friend

Matt Flynn

Of all the poker books I have read, I feel Elements of Poker has the greatest potential to increase a player's happiness.

— Matt Flynn, co-author of Professional No-Limit Hold 'em.

Lee Jones

I have mixed feelings about this book.

The part of me that loves Tommy wants the book to be a huge success.

The part of me that likes winning money at poker wants the book to disappear into discount bins.

The reciprocality stuff is indeed genius. As is his discussion on how to play sixth street (no, that's not a typo).

Like vermeer says, if you think you're serious about poker, you need to go buy this book pretty much immediately. And read it a handful of times.

Disclaimer: I love Tommy Angelo. My wife knows this and is okay with it. As is Tommy's wife, the lovely Kathleen. Tommy is a certifiable nut. He bounces off walls that most of us avoid via peripheral vision, but he's generous enough to share his view from the wall with us, and it enriches our lives tremendously.

I have been lucky enough to make music with Tommy on many occasions, and for those times, I owe him more than I'll ever be able to repay. He's a drummer of metrenomic accuracy and Al Jackson, Jr. taste. His piano playing may be better than his drumming. His sheer delight at making music trumps it all.

Look at it this way: buying Tommy's book will be good for your poker EV, but it will also be good for your karma, as you'll be supporting one of the coolest people on the planet.

Regards, Lee

P.S. Please buy it direct at Tommy's website. That way, he'll get all the money rather than Amazon getting a big chunk.


I just finished reading your book. This is a book I will re-read, and re-re-read, on a monthly basis. It contains everything I need.

Dave Clark

People often wonder why they don't achieve the results that they "should" in poker. It's like they're missing something. Tommy is that something.

While lots of great books have been written on the math side of poker, there's never been a great book written about the human side of poker. Until now.

Tommy will help you master your most difficult opponent......yourself.

Jay Rosenkrantz

Tommy's book is the best poker book I've ever read.

Lars Hermansson

These are excerpts from a review of Elements of Poker written by Lars Hermansson.

How to combine deep poker knowledge, humor, poetry & self irony while being thought provoking? Ask Tommy Angelo, author of Elements of Poker, he knows.

This is a book for the thinking poker player, no doubt about that. It centers around a great deal of new thoughts and ideas, unheard of elsewhere. The material is demanding, but the payoff is huge, if you are ready for the mental challenge. The road there is easygoing and fun, since Tommy writes highly entertaining prose. I smiled most of the time.

The real treat of Elements of poker is the depth and overview perspective.

None of the conventional step-by-step poker books can measure up against Elements of Poker. Here you learn the essence of the game, and you learn how to analyze the game and yourself from a higher perspective.

Elements of Poker is definitely a future classic, not only in the poker literature, but in the gambling literature as a whole.

For us thinking players (and human beings) there is no poker book that can match Tommy Angelo's Elements of Poker. I have Elements of Poker as my #1, and prefer that to 20 other books by poker celebs and non-celebs. You should read it as well.

Arthur Reber

My mantra was: "I don't do book reviews." Time to rephrase that to: "I don't usually do book reviews." There is a place for this one. The book is Tommy Angelo's The Elements of Poker. It is, flat out, the best book ever written about poker. — Arthur Reber,

Sean Gibson

Elements of Poker is the book that all professional and aspiring pros should immediately purchase. — Sean Gibson of Gaming Illustrated

Anna Paradox

How many times can you read a book before it begins to stale? It depends on the book, of course. As Tommy's lead editor, I have been over Elements of Poker more than a dozen times, and I look forward to reading it again. Tommy has crafted a book that is charming, insightful, solid and wise. I'm glad to have Elements of Poker as familiar as my skin.


Simply said, this is the best poker book I've ever read - and I've read a lot of them. Part of me doesn't want you to buy it or read it since if you do, you will become a better poker player and might take my money or money from a fish that I would normally get. The book is a really easy read. You can crack it open anywhere, read a bit, and get insight into the game. I feel like any person serious about poker should have a copy of this book.

Alex Roberts

You did a great job of doing what I told you to.


You know how to recognize real genius? Real genius is when someone tells you something that you have never even imagined before and you think about it for about three seconds, say "Well duh" and spend the next hour and a half thinking of the implications of the now obvious.

Verneer wrote about Tommy Angelo's "Elements of Poker" and I have to say the reciprocality stuff is sheer genius just like Darwin's theory of descent with modification, Einstein's theory of relativity, or Sklansky's fundamental theorem.

I am not remotely kidding.

My Wife

I especially like the parts that are in English.

Craig Johnston

I just wanted to let you know that I have read and reread over 80 books involving poker over the years and none of them affected me quite the way yours did. Not only is it the quickest I have read a poker book from beginning to end, it is the most anxious I have been to reread a book, and soak up all the great bits of info that are either new to me or reinforce already existing ideas in my head. Your focus on so many interesting items that have never really been addressed before in a poker text and how you piece everything together makes me understand how you can charge so much for your course. I can tell that it would be more than worth it. I'll end by saying I've been playing poker for a living for about the past 7 years (now in the LA area) and I've had a good run at it but I don't think I've ever felt so motivated and properly armed to improve my game as I sit here at this moment. Thank you so much.


I don't play poker & don't aspire. On the other hand, during a year of crisis and AFGO's ( another f*cking growth opportunity), I have had the author on tap cause he's my brother and doesn't find me heavy.

It is a delight that he has not just the skills and insights with which to navigate the real world of poker and the metaphoric universe it embodies, but the verbal chops and inclination to share as well.

I still don't like the fundamental relationship set up between any two human beings in the game of poker. That takes nothing away from what Tom has to offer anyone who ever wanted to start identifying their biggest obstacle as something invisible that lives between their ears.

I read the last chapter first cause that's what i do. Tom then advised me to go back and start at page 225 and go from there. That's what anyone could do.


I read your book 5 x's already and am FINALLY starting to understand how important tilting less is helping my game. The concept of Lopping Off C-Game in order to make a more consistent and powerful A-Game is absolutely brilliant, and something NOONE TEACHES! Thank you for emphasizing the mental and emotional side of the game in a way that feels real. You'd be happy to know that whenever my poker soul mates and I lop-off some C's or do some healthy quitting... we cry out... "JUST MADE A TOMMY!" "DID YOU TOMMY? YEAH, I TOMMY'D... FELT SO GOOD!"

Jeff Taylor

Dear Tommy,

I bought your book "Elements of Poker" a couple of weeks ago and have been enjoying reading and digesting it. I rate it as one of the best poker books that I have. Not only is the poker advice top shelf, but the book is well written and humorous to boot. I have no doubt that I am a better poker player for having read it, and I can't wait to get back to the tables to prove it. Unfortunately, you have put me in a bit of a bind because I want to tell my poker friends about the great book I found, but on the other hand, I really don't want them to read it.

Take care!

-Jeff Taylor

John Herman

I recently finished reading your book Elements of Poker. I'm sure I'll read it a few more times. I was concerned that it would be too advanced for me and that I had much more fundamental poker issues to deal with. At the same time I suspected that many of my fundamental issues at this stage are psychological in nature. I think that the book is perfect for me at this point and I assume that it will be insightful in the future for me. The biggest thing was rather than worrying about my A game I am looking at reducing how bad my C game is. Online this has helped tremendously.

. . . Anyway, I just wanted to write you an email stating that I think that your book is an important poker book even for a beginner — John Herman

Ash Levitt

Writing like yours is truly inspirational because it is not only full of understanding, but because it is based on non-traditional ways of thinking. The latter is immensely needed in the poker literature, and I'm thankful you've done it. While I only return to many of my poker books as references once I first read them, I'm sure I will return to your book multiple times for complete, careful rereads. I appreciate it more than you can imagine.

Moritz Czubatinski

i'm a 21 years old german student of philosophy and education from Frankfurt and a passionate poker player. I'm writing for my german blog and i recently read your book "elements of poker" - i gotta admit it's just mind-blowing. i really appreciate your work as it helped me to boost my pokergame and my winrate to unknown limits i would have never reached without your advice. i would even go as far to say it changed my life in a positive way as i try to avoid tilt in whatever appearance and do a lot of things to reach that goal. These things, such as doing sport and eating healthy, going early to bed (most of the time..) etc. really changed my quality of life. So thank you on that one. — Moritz Czubatinski, author of

Jeff McGinty

Hi Mr Angelo,

My name is Jeff, I don't want to sound like a gushing fan, but since I had a sort of direct line to you here, I couldn't resist writing a short note to say thank you for your book, Elements Of Poker.

I just finished reading the book yesterday. Impressive to say the least. You changed the way I look at a lot of things about myself and about the game of poker. I still have a long way to go to reach my ultimate goals, but I feel like even if I might not have an easier time of it now, I will have a better time for sure. You've got a great way of looking at things, and a great way of explaining them. I can definitely see why people pay for you coaching.

From some things you said in the book, I'm guessing you're old enough to remember those old commercials on TV for the book Dianetics...The scientology stuff?...Remember at the end it used to say "It's like an owners manual for the human mind."? I think that's sort of how I'd sum up your book. It's like an owner's manual for the poker mind.

I could probably go over each and every Element in the book and come up with a reason for praise....But I won't. I'll just say I loved it all. You've given me a great new level of confidence.

I truly thank you for the time and effort in writing it.


Gus Apostol

Hello Mr. Angelo, or Tommy, or Tommy Angelo,

I just had to write and tell you how impacting your book was to me. I have read it like reading the Bible, soaking in each nugget of wisdom, and it has completely changed my game. I recommend this book to EVERY SINGLE poker friend I have, and I call it "my Zen of Poker" book.

Having gone through a couple of ruts and a couple of tilts in my game, I was feeling pretty bad about my poker playing. Almost to the point of quitting because I felt like I was just not good enough, nor would I ever be good enough, to continue on in my favorite sport.

I had gone to my local casino and played about two hours too long. In a $2-$5 spread no-limit game I bought in for $300, and played for about two hours having made an additional $200. I was tired and knew I should quit, but could not pry myself up from the chair for some reason. Needless to say that I went on tilt and left with nothing. As I walked out of the casino I felt terrible, and mad at myself because I knew better. I felt like I needed to quit once and for all.

But then …

I found your book, and it completely changed my game in so many ways. Most importantly, mentally. I've read all the books on strategy, and "how to win", and the like, but never have I read anything so revolutionizing as your book.

Thanks for being my "Grand Master" of poker, and helping me turn my game around.

— Gus Apostol