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Description

Meet Alex and Bobbie, who both like to play poker. Alex is a professional poker player who plays for a living and is a solid long-term winner. Bobbie is a recreational player who plays a decent enough game but mainly wants to have a good time. If you play poker regularly you will meet thousands of players like Bobbie in your games and very few like Alex.

Of course one would expect that, in the long run, Alex will perform better than Bobbie. But have you ever wondered EXACTLY what it is that Alex understands better and does differently to Bobbie?

This is a rather complex question that does not have a simple answer. In this book, UCLA maths professor Duncan Palamourdas addresses this question via a journey through human psychology, game theory, easy-to-understand mathematics and even philosophy. Topics include:

  • Understanding the instinctive but unprofitable tendencies of inexperienced players.
  • How to identify what a mistake actually is in poker – and how to exploit it.
  • Why poker does not revolve around bluffing.
  • The great impact of variance in poker and how to account for it.
  • How to develop a consistent approach that allows you to play like Alex and not Bobbie.

Duncan Palamourdas specializes in the mathematics of poker and poker education. His poker classes at UCLA always fill up early and have long waiting lists. He is also an author at Upswing Poker, Poker News, Card Player and Winning Network. Despite his impressive academic credentials, Duncan’s popularity is a product of his love for simple language and metaphors. Profitable poker play essentially revolves around correct risk-reward optimization. This is a complex topic and Duncan’s great strength is that he explains it in simple terms without resorting to technical jargon.


Why Alex Beats Bobbie at Poker is a must read for all NL-holdem players of any level. It teaches the game from a very entertaining, yet analytic and mathematical point of view. It has practical applications for how the reader can improve their own game through real life examples. Duncan has transformed the very fundamentals I approach NL-holdem with and has taken my game to another level!

Daniel Shuman, amateur poker player

I was lucky enough to read an early edition of this book. Duncan is an astounding teacher. His detailed writing style is easy to understand and put into action. I have a shelf full of poker books but this one will be my favorite when it comes out.

Sacha Landreneau, amateur poker player