Many people have asked me over the past few months about what the best poker books are to read and the legendary Supersystem by Doyle Brunson always gets a mention from people. Do not get me wrong, this is a great book and it may just be one of the greatest poker books ever written. But then again there have been numerous poker books that have been great books that couldn’t really enhance you as a player.
You have to remember that Doyle’s book is now around thirty years old. This means that it is pre-internet by some considerable margin. Doyle basically discusses a deep stacked strategy in that book and the cash games that he played in were very deep stacked indeed. In fact Doyle even goes on to say how his style of play wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective if the stacks were small.
But this style of play is heavily handicapped in online play. The average player doesn’t even have 100 big blinds on the table and with minimum stack strategies now getting more and more common then this aggressive style of play is handicapped even more.
Online poker players don’t play anywhere near as long as what live players do so their stacks don’t build up to what they can do in a live game where players often play for ten, twelve or even fourteen hours straight. Also being aggressive is too well known these days, Doyle’s system was revolutionary back then but it also goes to show you how far ahead of the pack Brunson actually was when it came to his knowledge of not just the game of poker but in how that correlated to his opponents as well.
But there are other problems with Supersystem in the modern game, the limit section is out of date with the modern structure of the game and there are also forms of poker which are rarely played now. However, despite all this I still recommend to anyone that they get this book and read it. Not just as a one off poker book but as one single book out of many in their all round poker education.
Brunson’s philosophy of poker and his outlook to life itself is worth the price of the book alone in my opinion. The follow up book Supersystem 2 is equally good in its own right. At this moment the sequel may seem better simply because it is more modern but that should not be a factor in deciding whether or not a book is great.
Just because people like Todd Brunson and Daniel Negreanu are modern day great players, this should not automatically make them better than people like Bobby Baldwin and Chip Reece who are renowned by many as two of the greatest poker players ever to play the game.
So my recommendation would be to read Doyle’s book but to remember that it has certain weaknesses if you are reading it with the intention of it improving your no-limit hold ‘em game and this is especially the case if you play online. But the history lesson and the trip through time back to the golden days of the World Series really is a pleasure to behold.
When it comes to learning how to play no-limit cash games then there are better poker books out there like the Harrington Series for instance. But that should not detract from the fact that there is still huge amounts of relevant data and golden nuggets in Doyle’s original book and this still makes it essential reading for anyone who wishes to expand their knowledge of no-limit hold ‘em and its pretty difficult to say that of any poker book that is thirty years old.
This article was produced by Carl “The Dean” Sampson