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A lot of poker beginners will seek guidance through books. As we all know, there is a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. What we don't realize, however, is that doing everything by the book isn't always the best idea.
A common mistake that new poker players make is to study and memorize instructions and let this rule their poker games. More naïve players will religiously adhere to the how-to's spelled out in literature thus their methods of play will become mechanical and, often times, predictable.
It's a good idea to gain an understanding of the game as well as to pick up tips from poker books. The key to successful poker playing, however, is to use what you learn to build a solid foundation. Then, develop your own playing style that is more unique. Variation will help lead you to your share of winning hands.
Books are a great place to start because the new players either don't know what they don't know, or what they think they know is wrong (from watching too many final tables on TV).
By following a method rigidly, they get hands-on experience with a minimum of financial exposure. They will quickly learn that the method will not work in every poker room on every table against every opponent on every day and that's when the actual education begins.
The REAL value of a book (or multiple books) learning comes after the new player has been playing for a while and revisits the book(s). That's when the "aha's" come. They realize that they didn't completely understand what the book was telling them in the first place.
Books are also valuable if you hit a losing streak. Just crack the book and thumb through the pages to see if it helps you identify any bad habits you have picked up. If you don't identify anything, it could show you that you are still doing the right things but are perhaps on an unlucky streak. You can stop questioning your play.
Everybody has their favorites but I can't say enough about the Low Limit Holdem book by David Sklansky and the Tournament series by Dan Harrington.
About Me: I've been playing online for about 4 years. I have not made a fortune and have never played on TV. I do make mad money for vacations and it's been a long time since I played with money I deposited.