The Theory of Poker



David Sklansky

The theory of poker is now already a pretty old poker book written by David Sklansky. It was published in 1987 by Two Plus Two Publishing LLC in the USA.


Arguably, the book itself and strategies within are a bit outdated due to fast progress of poker in the recent years, but… it’s still a must have for any serious poker player (if for nothing else, at least for the historical relevance of the book), and a recommended read for any beginning player. The concepts in the book still apply and are still relevant in a modern poker game, and the book itself sets the theoretical foundations of the game of poker for any beginner.


Theory of poker starts with explaining all the basic concepts in the game. It basically starts by explaining why some people win at poker and others don’t (mathematical expectation and equity). Then it goes on to all the basics of different blind and antes structures, pot odds, implied odds, reverse implied odds and continues with explanations of different in-play concepts (protection, free card raises, semi bluffing etc.)

All of the concepts explained in the book are backed with calculations, in-depth explanations and examples. What makes it stand out from most modern books of the same kind (apart from it being the first one) is actually the examples.

Unlike in most modern books that focus on Hold’em, The theory of poker features a wide varaity of examples from different variations of poker, anything from Stud to Lowball draw. If you don’t know the rules to these games, don’t worry, you can find the rules to all the games featured in the book in it’s appendix.

The theory of poker by David Sklansky

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