The world's leading poker book publisher

Our own interview with Ashley Adams

11/02/2020 by D&B Poker

  • Why did you decide to write Winning Poker in 30 Minutes a Day? -

I decided to write this book to fill a gap that I perceived in the poker instructional literature. As a poker radio show host, many authors and publishers mail me copies of poker books. There were many on no limit hold’em, and how to improve. They often contained some very useful information. But I found few if any that were geared to the typical beginning, intermediate and losing player that were simple and clear enough for the typical player to understand and absorb. So I decided to write something that met the need of the regular player – who didn’t want to take a graduate course—who just wanted some good straightforward and easy-to-implement direction. Winning Poker in 30 Minutes a Day is that book.

  • You’ve been playing poker for many years, what’s the best bit of advice you were given, and by whom?

It’s still the advice I got from my grandfather, when he tutored me and my brother Joshua. He told us that we should bet our hands when they were good and fold our hands when they weren’t good. I have used that and variations of that advice ever since I first played the game. While there are surely exceptions, in general that’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten.

One other piece of advice bears mention. I had been playing seriously for about 5 years – at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. I had figured out a successful strategy for 7-card stud (this before they even spread no limit hold’em). A friend of mine’s father used to come down and play there once or twice each week. He was semi-retired, still buying cars wholesale at a weekly auction near the casino. We’d have dinner every so often. We played the same game at the time, $1-5 spread limit 7-card stud – the smallest game in the room. I was very big on how many big bets an hour I was able to earn with my deliberately tight and aggressive strategy. So we got to talking and I asked him how he did. He told me that he didn’t keep track. I was shocked. All serious players kept track of how they did, so I thought, – it was the only way to keep score. But not he. He told me that he stopped caring a long time ago. “But what about the long run?” I asked – meaning that I wanted to know how he knew whether he was a winner or loser in the long run. “In the really long run, Ashley, we’ll all be 6 feet down in a box! So don’t forget to have fun when you play!”

  • What are five the most common mistakes poker players make when trying to improve? And related to that - in your opinion, what are the five things beginner poker players should do when trying to improve their game?

I’ve noticed that otherwise smart, patient, and well-intentioned players make a few common errors as they try to get better. I’ve listed them below with a brief explanation where necessary:

  1. They are critical of the mistakes of other players. You should never give advice at the poker table – especially when you are still learning (which should be always).
  2. They are too impatient for good results. Poker is a game of incremental and narrow advantages that may not evidence themselves right away. Also, luck does have a large role to play in the results of any particular session.
  3. They are too short-term results driven. Whether or not you had a winning session, you need to focus on how you played and thought through different hands – not on whether you ended up $311 or down $519.
  4. They do not do a good job of keeping records. Their resolution to write everything down after each session is soon and too easily broken. So they rely on anecdotal evidence on how they did – a recipe for failure.
  5. They just want to play. Very few players can stay very long in a learning and thinking mode about the game. They play poker because they really like to play. While they want to win, and surely prefer it to losing at the game, they really don’t want to spend time analyzing the play of a hand or other information that would help them improve in the long run.

Fortunately, for them, Winning Poker in 30 Minutes A Day recognizes their relatively short attention span – and keeps instruction brief, to the point, and simple! In so doing it allows them to take bite-sized pieces of information, and then digest and absorb that information. This is critical – the ability to first absorb one piece of information before moving on to another subject. Players need to be able to concentrate on one idea at a time – if they really want to get better. They also need to apply what they’ve learned – something they get to do with exercises geared toward quickly using and reinforcing the lessons that are being taught.

  • Which poker player do you admire most in the world and why?

I admire a lot of players – because I’ve gotten to know many of them personally. I owe my career as a player and writer to the time others have taken in tutoring and talking to me. I have long admired Mike Caro, who personally helped me develop as a player and as a mini-celebrity when I was starting out on the charity poker circuit. I and the rest of the poker world surely have enormous amounts of admiration to the extremely generous legend of poker, Doyle Brunson. He reached out a hand to me when I asked – and I have seen him sacrifice his time and energy dozens of times for just plain ol members of the public who wanted to shake his hand or pose for a photograph. I really admire Greg Raymer – a guy who is deeply reflective and thoughtful about his play and his life. I am a huge fan of Tommy Angelo, someone who seems to get the essence of not just being a grinding professional player but a vital human being. I stand in admiration of Tricia Cardner, Jan Fisher, Tony Holden, Mike Sexton, and the late Lou Kreiger– folks who have been personally very supportive of me, even as they set examples of personal integrity at and around the table. And I could add at least a dozen more people to the list of players I admire a great deal.

But there’s one person whom I most admire – who has had the greatest impact on my life as a poker player – and as a writer. I admire her most of all. It’s not a surprise. She is probably at the top of just about everyone’s list. That would be Linda Johnson. For nearly 30 years I have seen her contribute time, energy, and money to those less well off, those who aren’t celebrities, those who don’t give her any immediate or obvious advantage. She’s known as the first lady of poker. Sure, that’s a fine moniker for a very special woman. But it really doesn’t do it for me – not after the countless times she’s stood up on behalf of one person or cause or organization or another. It may not be as flattering to say, but I see her as the Mother Theresa of poker. I can honestly say that the world of poker and my personal world have been enormously enriched by her work and her example.