Book Review: In The Money, Antonio Esfandiari

I just finished Antonio Esfandiari’s book “In The Money”. Overall I loved it and will read it again…it reminds me a bit of the Andy Bellin book ‘Poker Nation’ from a tone perspective. Antonio and company aren’t near the writer that Andy Bellin is, but it shares some of the tone in the stories. After reading it you’ll definitely want to hang out with Ant, Phil Laak, and the rest of his crew.

This book is great for those tight aggressive or even tight passive players. It has a lot to do with being more aggressive, how and when to do so. Also, which is the key of the book, Antonio instructs you to question alot of things you may take for granted at the table. For instance, when deciding whether to call or raise – he (correctly) advises you to think about why. If you raise, what will your opponent call you with? In some cases you’ll ONLY get action if you’re beat, in which case check or call and take a free card instead of risking a reraise.

Firing bullets: perhaps the most important message. He says something like ‘amateurs will fire a single bullet, where pros will keep firing’. What this means is alot of people will miss a flop and throw out a bet. If they miss the turn tho, they’ll usuall check. A better player who smells even the least bit of weakness will fire another bullet…alot of folding happens on the turn.

I think the above is one of the keys i took from this book, and have been able to incorporate into my style of play. Specifically adapted, ive learned that betting the flop is good only if i intend on betting more on the turn and/or river. Also, i analyze every bet more, and try to determine what that bet is buying me…a chance to win, information on my opponent, or building the pot.

Antonio also talks of the importance of position, and how to use it to your advantage. Alot of books talk about this, but there are some cool spins on position, and the discussion of heads up play regarding position is very good.

In sum, read this book twice. Its the kind of book where you have to jump online or hit a poker room and try things out. Ive been surprised at how many pots ive been scooping up just by changing my state of mind and thinking about every bet. This book isnt for the absolute beginner, but more for the average to good player who wants to add a bit to their game. Also its a good look at what all of these hyper-aggressive players are thinking.

Now if i could only figure out how to party with these guys, you all may not hear from me for a few years :)

I raise.

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