PokerNews Book Review: The Pursuit of Poker Success
It seems every year there is a standout among recently released poker books. This year, it seemed the most highly-anticipated release was Lance Bradley’s The Pursuit of Poker Success, which launched today at the 2018 World Series of Poker. In it, the 12-year poker media veteran (who currently serves as President and Editor-in-Chief of PocketFives.com) explores the different paths to poker success by interviewing “50 of the World’s Best Poker Players.”
Unlike poker strategy books, this one isn’t going to get outdated.
One of the reasons I was excited to snag an advanced review copy of Bradley’s book, other than the content itself of course, was the fact that he gave me my start in the poker world. Back in 2009, while he was Editor-in-Chief of the now-defunct BLUFF Magazine, Bradley hired me as an intern for the WSOP. I’ve respected him as a journalist ever since (he’s an American Poker Award winner after all), so checking out his debut book was a no-brainer.
The first thing that caught my eye was the laundry list of players Bradley interviewed for his book. It’s chock full of most of poker's biggest names. He wisely avoided “Poker Boom” players who've faded from the spotlight, and instead devoted a lot of attention to more recent success, such as Jason Koon, Fedor Holz, and Justin Bonomo.
Back in 2009, Deal Me In by Stephen John and Marvin Karlins showcased 20 players – such as Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, and Johnny Chan – who gave first-hand accounts of turning pro. By now, we all know who they are and what they’re about.
Bradley has done something similar, but he’s given a whole new generation some long overdue love. Not only that, he’s used his status and network to interview some of the most elusive players in the poker world. As a poker reporter myself, I know how hard it can be to land a meeting with players like Ben Lamb, Erik Seidel, Adrian Mateos, Dan Cates and Daniel Colman. Bradley got them all.
I guarantee you’ll pick up enough to make you a better poker player.
For me, there were some real standouts among those interviewed. First was the section with Bonomo as right now it’s the most applicable. No player is experiencing more success in 2018 than him (as I write this he’s in the final four of the WSOP $10K Heads-Up Championship), so obviously I wanted to know his secrets. What he advocates, and what so many struggle to find, is balance.
“You literally cannot afford to show your emotions at the poker table,” Bonomo said. “What I didn’t realize was that it was just weighing down my soul.”
Another section I enjoyed was Dominik Nitsche, who I knew to be one of the most studious players in the game. Despite being so young, he’s just one of 41 players in history to have won at least four WSOP bracelets. He’s an example of 'practice makes perfect.'
“That’s part of the reason why I don’t enjoy playing as much as I enjoy studying because when I’m studying I can go through stuff at my own pace,” he said.
Those are just two examples of the insight you’ll find throughout the book.
The only qualm I have with the book is that I wish it included young players like Jake Schindler, Sam Greenwood, Rainer Kempe, Darren Elias and David Peters. That said, there’s only so much space and some of those players didn’t hit their stride until recently. Plus, who knows if Bradley asked them and they turned him down. After all; not everyone is comfortable sharing their secrets and stories.
readers are encouraged to jump around and read bits and pieces from their favorite players.
To me, The Pursuit of Poker Success is akin to Timothy Ferris’ Tribe of Mentors where the author asks successful people from all walks of life (including Holz and Annie Duke) about life’s most challenging questions. It’s similarly structured, and like it, there’s no need to read all 320 pages front to back. Instead, readers are encouraged to jump around and read bits and pieces from their favorite players.
I highly recommend The Pursuit of Poker Success to poker fans and enthusiasts, especially those struggling to map their own path to poker success. There’s wisdom abound and I guarantee you’ll pick up enough to make you a better poker player. Unlike poker strategy books, this one isn’t going to get outdated. Success is a general enough topic that The Pursuit of Poker Success is sure to stand the test of time.
Get your copy of The Pursuit of Poker Success at DandBpoker.com. If you’re in Las Vegas, you can also get it at the D&B Publishing booth at the WSOP.